Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald– Cinema Magic?


Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne play Albus Dumbledore and Newt Scamander in this sequel to the first Fantastic Beasts movie.

The newest addition to the “Fantastic Beasts” movie franchise may have a handsome young Dumbledore, but other aspects of the film may be a punch-in-the-face to long-time Harry Potter fans.

The whole “Fantastic Beasts” world takes place in the same universe as Harry Potter, even in the same area (think England, near Hogwarts), but nearly a century beforehand. Some very old characters stay the same, such as Dumbledore and Nagini, but most are new. This excited many Harry Potter fans, because it gave them something else to obsess over and binge-read, and gave them new characters to fall in love with. This newest movie, though, is a bit of a disappointment in some facets.

The title of the movie makes clear what viewers should expect from it: fantastic beasts! The first in the film series was brimming with them. Newt’s whole character revolves around the idea that he is especially good with magical animals, and that they are naturally attracted to him despite his social ineptness. This is the whole basis of the film, so no wonder that some might be asking where the magical creatures were.

They do indeed show up in the movie a couple of times, whether at the very beginning when Newt tries to wrangle some up that have gotten out of their cages, or when he is trying to move one to a more comfortable environment, but they are not a big enough part. At the very end of the movie one of the beasts has an important role, but it feels like it was just thrown in as a way to wrap up the story, and really came out of nowhere. There was little to no mention of the beast earlier in the film, which made its role at the end not work well. More incorporation of beasts would have kept fans of the series satisfied.

Looking on the brighter side, the film did a good job at steering clear of letting computer generated imagery and special effects get in the way of and cloud the storyline, which is a common mistake movies make, especially fantasy ones. Those creating the film become so immersed in trying to make it look visually stunning and realistic that they forget about the actual story. Some examples of this are “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (2016) and “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018). In these movies there was no definite story idea or underlying theme, which detracted from their overall strength.

However, in this sequel to the first “Fantastic Beasts”, the visuals were impressive, yet did not overpower the film. The movie had a clear arc and easy-to-follow storyline, which added to it’s enjoyability.

Another positive component of the movie was its sometimes superb acting and casting. What I’m most impressed with is the casting of the younger versions of Newt Scamander and Leta Lestrange, who not only almost fully resembled the characters, but were also perfect renditions of Newt’s awkward yet caring being, and Leta’s strong-willed and affectionate self.

Of course, I must pay ode to the casting of Jude Law as Dumbledore, which was a surprising yet pleasing addition. His acting (and admitted attractiveness to many viewers) help to keep the movie afloat.

When considering if you should go to see the movie or not, keep in mind that without knowing about the characters and their backgrounds the story could become blurred. Not everyone has the time to read all of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts books or see the movies, so the little details you can pick up from the movie only by having all of that prior knowledge can be lost for you if you have not done so. The film can still be enjoyed by those who don’t have preexisting familiarity, what with the constant action scenes and always-present drama and humor. It just comes down to whether you are okay with not being completely in-the-know and catching every single inside joke, or if that would just be too frustrating.

In the end, the movie leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat, and does take some unexpected turns, despite it’s sometimes untied ends. It is a must-see for die-hard fans, but questionable for others.