The film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) has arrived at a cinema somewhere near you! Lynn and I saw the movie Wednesday afternoon with a decent fellow audience for what is the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts series movies by J.K. Rowling, with a review of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016) available here. To warn you ahead of time, this review includes spoilers from the movie. Our recommendation is to see and enjoy the movie, yet read on before or after at your own risk.
(Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald.)
At the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie, we see that Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp) had been captured in New York City after posing as the auror Graves to acquire an Obscurus that had been terrorizing that city in the 1920s. Grindelwald, who figures in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, escapes to Paris.
(Jude Law as AlbusDumbledore.)
Albus Dumbledore, introduced to the Fantastic Beasts movies in Crimes of Grindelwald, is played by Jude Law. Dumbledore enlists his former student, Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), to intervene against the villain Grindelwald and his plans. It is only later in the film that some of the context for why Dumbledore cannot combat the threat posed by Grindelwald directly.
(Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski and Eddie Radmayne as Newt Scamander.)
In roughly 1927, the sequence of the second Fantastic Beasts movie takes on the largely European setting suggested by Grindelwald fleeing to Paris. Albus Dumbledore does not leave London or Hogwarts in the movie, though obviously Paris is a featured setting. It is in Paris that Grindelwald sets about actions intended to raise pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings. Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange and Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone are enlisted in that campaign.
(Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone and Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange.)
The storyline with Crimes of Grindelwald calls into question where the lines of love and loyalty exist among characters and family members within the story. Themes explored in the divided wizarding world of the Harry Potter movies are taking their contextual voices within the prequel movies of Fantastic Beasts to a fuller level than seen in the Where to Find Them movie.
Without getting further into the plot of Crimes of Grindelwald, there is much to appreciate about the tension and building story of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. The two stories in this franchise to date are complementing the Harry Potter world that we know without taking things away from it.
(Carmen Egojo as Seraphina Picquery.)
We get to see legitimate questions about where the story of Newt Scamander and his brother (Theseus Scamander as played by Callum Turner) are going. We get to see society place pressure on the relationship of Queenie Goldstein (played by Alison Sudol) and Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler), and the wedge it places between these two as well as Queenie and her sister Tina Goldstein (played by Katherine Waterston). What is the full nature of the relationship between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, and how did they get the place where it is now and into the future. Will we see more of the Tom Riddle story in the Fantastic Beasts storyline?
Many questions are raised, for sure. Interesting intrigue is also raised for the Crimes of Grindelwald movie of its own accord to suggest that you see it. On a scale of 1-star to 5-stars, I rate this movie highly at 4.5-stars.
Matt – Saturday, November 24, 2018