Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review

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Undoubtedly among those who are on the lookout for new film releases there were a lot of people who expected the release of the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and who were ecstatic over the result. The movie couldn’t but contain a string of references to the fabulous original story, including a rendering of an episode from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but a new drama is quickly developing, featuring Newt Scamander, charmingly portrayed by Eddie Redmayne. Whatever the general opinion of the result, it nevertheless makes for an exciting two hours for the whole family evening (if the kids are over 12).

Image credit: Warner Bros.

Needless to say, Johnny Depp, sorry, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, has escaped from MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) and presses on with his muggle-directed hatred. The escape scene is a bit relentless in flashing and rushing and can put off the most nervous of the viewers, though.

Somehow it turns out that Scamander alone can manhandle the white-haired demon. The plot proceeds from there, sagging a bit at times, playing down the beasts (which we could do with more, surely) and throwing in Parisian scenery (which is a down on the Manhattan scenery from you-know-where). If truth is to be told, we might have been better off with a stronger plot that wouldn’t hang too heavily on Credence’s dark broodings. Emotional element easily wins over the ramifications of the conspiracy intrigue, which is just right for some.

The relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald adds spice and volume, considering the visual difference between the two, though the façades cause some eyebrow-twisting. Dumbledore could have been made less smug and manager-ish. Although Grindelwald is supposed to be wildly charismatic and deadly convincing, he doesn’t always sound so – as if he is not trying but relying on his earlier successes. Being muggles we had little chance of feeling afraid for our collective destinies should the evil forces finally take over. Far more emotions are flared up by Nagini with her tragic magic burden. The unexpected appearance of Nicolas Flamel, accompanied by quickened heartbeats of old fans, was a fine adornment to the story and created the right impression.

It seems that every film in the David Yates’ series accrues yet heavier sepulchral and dreary atmosphere. It does cut counter the classic Rowling palette, but this is for purists. Love doesn’t do much to attenuate the murk, the hesitations swept aside, it rather drags on with the story.

The movie leaves a strong impression that the most staggering events are yet to come, partially due to the inclination of the plot, in part because there was no pungent thrusting movement to round off the development. Some long-due revelations may pass off for fine wrap-up for loyal followers, but for those taking the picture at its face value, the effect will be blown over beyond the somber cityscapes. And while Rowling aficionados may fence for finer points of the Universe, the general public will be ready to lap up some more of the same in the coming years.