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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review – A Dull Launchpad

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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Directed By: David Yates

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Callum turner, Johnny Depp, Jude Law

Language: English

Crimes of Grindelwald is the second installment of the five part Fantastic Beasts story line and serves as a launchpad for the rest of the series. The movie contains a lot of introductions to new characters, shocking revelations and Harry Potter bring-backs which keep the wizarding world alive.

Crimes of Grindelwald starts immediately after the events of the previous movie. Grindelwald, held in a prison by MACUSA escapes with the help of Abernathy, an auror in the ministry and his follower. The escape scene is brilliant and immediately Ollivander’s quote came to mind : “we can expect great things from you Mr Grindelwald, terrible but great”. Newt then meets with Dumbledore, who gives gives him a task to chase Grindelwald to Paris. At first he refuses but then accepts when he comes to know that Tina is also in Paris chasing Credence (who survived the London subway fallout). What follows is a series of unnecessary subplots and shocking loose ends which leaves a lot to be desired from the movie.

Scripted by JK Rowling, Crimes of Grindelwald follows the same structure as Harry Potter. Credence is Harry, an orphan raised by abusive foster parents. A dark wizard trying to rule the wizarding world chases each. It is like a chess match (wizard chess actually, and equally barbaric) between Dumbledore and Grindelwald and everyone is a pawn. JK Rowling’s style of writing is clearly visible, she gives a glimpse of a thing at the start only for it to return back as a major plot point. The car in Chamber of Secrets, the portkey in Goblet of Fire, and the blood vial in Crimes of Grindelwald.

The cast are spot on and their acting really good. Both Dumbledore and Grindlewald have their way of getting people to do their bidding. Jude Law as Dumbledore is suave while Johnny Depp is seductive as Grindlewald. Eddie Redmayne as Newt is subtle and lovable- he has a way with monsters that none do.

I never expected to say this but the cast has been let down by the script. The Tina-Newt and Queenie-Jacob love story takes too much time and slows the movie down. These type of sub plots are good only for the books where these details are preferred and satisfying. The confusion involving Leta Lestrange’s estranged brother serves no major purpose. The end was set up brilliantly for the alchemist Nicolas Flamel to use his potion and save the day. But, all he does is shout finite and rob my excitement.

The movie is titled Fantastic Beasts but the beasts are just a side show. Without the beasts, the movie and the plot would have remained same except for the niffler. Crimes of Grindelwald is much better when its just the fantastic beasts. Newt’s scenes with the animals are absolute joy, there is a a certain romance in those scenes. Watch out for the scene where Newt tames a creature called Zouwu.

Crimes of Grindelwald has introduced a lot of new and (by the looks of it) important characters like Nagini (Claudia Kim), Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner), Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) and Vinda Rosier (Poppy Corby-Tuech). That is another issue- there are too many of them at one go which becomes overwhelming.

JK Rowling is obsessed with fascism and has paralleled Grindelwald’s rise with Hitler’s. We have gone through all that with Voldemort and the rise of the wizard order. But with Grindelwald she has taken it to the next level- with a raven symbol lifted out of the Nazi eagle and the fascist speeches. She needs to spend less time on twitter and more time on the scripts.

The plot has many gaping holes and open ends. And too many Harry Potter references… This series is a prequel- she can give us new characters and new families and new motives for villainy- we will lap it all up. I feel there is no need to constantly keep en-cashing the Potter books.

There are still three movies to go, even though Crimes of Grindelwald is a dampener, there so much scope. Being a fan of Harry Potter myself I believe she has an ace up her sleeve. Lets wait and watch.

Enjoy the Trailer:

Fantastic Beasts and the crimes of Grindelwald – Trailer Breakdown

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