Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Carmen Ejogo,
The Fantastic Beasts sequel is not as good as the first one (imagine that) and this prequel, which occurs 70 or so years before Harry Potter, is just not as captivating overall. Director David Yates returns to the wizarding world yet again with Rowling on screenwriting. The Crimes of Grindelwald suffers from a variety of sequel issues, much like The Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug was both a sequel and prequel and zero parts fully functioning stand along movie. There are a variety of new characters, and for those of us who only saw the original once, it takes a lot of concentration to remember who did what in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The Crimes of Grindelwald spends every second of it’s time setting up whatever comes next, while there is a curious feeling that Hogwarts fans are losing interest.
Professor Dumbledore (Law) sets his expelled student Newt Scamander (Redmayne) on a dangerous path that will uncover the real reason the powerful wizard won’t aid the defense ministry in trying to stop the dangerous Gellert Grindelwald (Depp). Newt and his New York accomplices Jacob (Fogler) and Tina (Waterston) meet up in Paris where Grindelwald has summoned all his supporters to explain why they must act now to avoid the oncoming wars of “the other race” he calls them. Since vanishing from New York, Credence Barebone (Miller) has joined a circus, but find himself ever being drawn toward Grindelwald, who promises to reveal his true identity if he will join the cause. Newt nervously tries to reinstate his affections toward Tina, while Jacob’s relationship with Queenie (Sudol) takes a dark turn.
The Crimes of Grindelwald doesn’t flow well as a result of choppy editing and splintered focus.
With Grindelwald trying to divide the races, he’s eluded to Hitler with his speeches and predictions, or Magneto if you want a movie comparison. On the flipside, Dumbledore is the Professor X of the story, sending out those he’s trained to stop the madman that he so deeply cares for. A flashback scene of intertwined fingers when the opposing forces were “more than friends”, suggests the next installment will finally address Dumbledore’s sexuality as promised by Rowling. Depp’s performance is neither grandstanding, phoned in or distracting from the rest of the story. It’s Miller (Justice League), again, who is one of the most interesting actors and characters on screen, aided by Kravitz (Kin) short, but effective screen time. All the others characters feel unnecessarily plugged in, desperate to fill some appointed quota of people on screen. Less would serve this film a lot more.
A high production cat fight and sea algae horse are the two CGI scenes that break up the endless scenes of “set up” that require the audience to really focus on their wizarding history. The most compelling draw in the plot is Credence’s identity, yet useful running time that could have been devoted to Miller developing his “Snape” like role is wasted on more frivolous matters. The Crimes of Grindelwald doesn’t flow well as a result of choppy editing and splintered focus. Yates, whose capable hands and talent have delivered impressive Harry Potter films in the past, appears to have gotten as tired of the world and material as fans.
The latest sequel/prequel in the wizarding world is one of the multi-series least impressive entries.