I’m not sure which part of the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Death Hallows: Part II was worse: Voldemort’s laugh, or the fact that there was more laughing in the theatre during the “protagonists-are-dying” scenes than proper sobbing. While the first half of the film delivers a well-rendered account of the novel’s later scenes, the Hogwarts battle was terribly executed. Perhaps Judd Apatow was secretly given the reins. That’s the only plausible explanation I can find for the decision to make the darkest wizard of all time give Draco an awkward bro hug in the middle of the most legendary intra-wizard combat in magical history.
Perhaps this is actually the root of the problem: Voldemort’s character was diluted to the point that he could be laughed at and easily confronted. The cool, controlled, transcendentally evil character succumbed to what looked like severe menstrual cramps every time a Horcrux was destroyed and then burst into calcified confetti in an anticlimactic finale.
This preference for asinine entertainment over meaning was far too common. The Platform 93/4 scene was acceptable aesthetically, but the dialogue was banal and too affectedly enigmatic to be of any significance. Voldemort’s death was preceded by predictably cliché lines instead of a call for remorse. Dumbledore’s background story was nixed. Disappointing, but thank god they nailed the looking-off-into-the-misty-distance shot…. twice.
The one kernel of salvation was Alan Rickman’s emotional and sensitive performance as Severus Snape, a welcome act considering his rather dispassionate role throughout the series. Yet it too was quickly mocked by the movie’s vision of a weird and creepy young Snape, a perverted homage to this most complex and courageous of Rowlings’ characters.