*CAUTION SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW*
Run Time: 133 minutes Rating: PG-13
On Saturday, November 24, my family and I took a break from the Thanksgiving hysteria and commuted to Portage Celebration Cinema to catch a movie (53.75 for five tickets, very pricey food/candy, proceed with caution). The movie in question was David Yates’, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (released November 16, 2018), a sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
It is worth noting that I have been a Harry Potter fan since birth. As the first Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) was released in 2001, the year of my birth, I have been a member of the Potterhead community since before literacy.
As soon as I could read, JK Rowling’s series was my first selection, and the rest is history.
Since the release of the first Fantastic Beasts was announced, I was concerned by the possibility that the movie would entirely rewrite what Potter fans know to be canon. While this did end up happening in some instances, it was not as traumatizing as I’d expected.
The movie was extremely well-filmed and included the tasteful urban scenes of Paris and London as well as the original Hogwarts location (Wiltshire, England). However, despite having access to these locations, the production still relied heavily on CGI, a continuation of their filming methods from the first movie. The CGI, which produced a 1927 version of both Paris and London, was incredibly well done.
I was less impressed, by the films literal “Beasts” that were portrayed in an unrealistic manner that made the CGI editing extremely evident.
My opinion on the film’s plot: sub-par. To those with a keen ear for names, you might notice several characters the film introduced had relevance in the original Harry Potter series (Nicolas Flamel, the Lestrange family, the Rosier family).
While this was a nod from J.K. Rowling (who assisted in the film’s production) to her previous project, a new plot element was introduced that greatly undermined Potterheads’ understanding of Harry Potter canon (If you were wondering when the spoiler would appear, this is it). Albus Dumbledore has been given a previously unmentioned sibling, Credence Barebone (portrayed by Ezra Miller), the obscurus from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. Previously it had been canon that Dumbledore’s sister was an obscurus, but the addition of another such character seems, to me, like a stretch made in order to fill plot holes.
The new addition was virtually dropped on the audience right before the credits and will require an incredible amount of explaining in sequels to come.
The film’s cast is stacked with highly regarded actors, such as Jude Law, Ezra Miller, and Johnny Depp, yet they were unable to make any memorable impressions on me due to the mediocre script and plot. The plot as a whole seemed incredibly strained throughout the entire movie; it was as if a few key moments were placed within different scenes and everything else was just filler. My guess (and hope) is that ”Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” was made for the sole purpose of introducing the next movie.
Thinking back, sitting in that theater feels like a waste of time; I could have attained essentially the same experience by reading a short movie synopsis.