Fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald
DIRECTOR: david Yates (tarzan, fantastic beasts and where to find them)
STARRING: eddie redmayne, jude law, katherine waterson, and johnny depp
REVIEWER: lyall carter
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided world.
It seems like an age since we were last in J K Rowling's cinematic Wizarding World. 2016 brought us the first in a series of five semi Potter prequels set in the 1920's with an endearing Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and of course the cute little niffler. In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald we return to that world, but things have changed.
Now this is a spoiler free review so it will be very light on plot details. The story pretty much picks up where we left off with Albus convincing Newt to head to Paris to find Credence who is in hiding after the events in New York. Grindelwald has escaped from Ministry custody and is hell bent on destroying the fragile peace between the wizarding and non wizarding world. He, of course, must be stopped.
Unfortunately theres just too much going on in the story. There is subplot after subplot, detail after detail which ultimately leaves you feeling narratively overwhelmed and distracted from the driving force of the main plot. These little details and subplots are one of the many things that made the Harry Potter novels so great as it helped to build this incredible world. But thats just it: it worked well in the form of a novel but it just doesn't translate well in cinematic story telling.
Don't get me wrong: its still an enjoyable film. There are new places, creatures, and characters to meet and some little surprises along the way too. Of course there are old characters taking slightly different forms with Jude Law making his first appearance as Dumbledore and he is an absolute treat. Johnny Depp is deliciously menacing as Grindelwald too; you end up completely understanding the driving force behind everything he does but you also really hate him. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is visually impressive too with some superb, strap yourself in action sequences. And of course there is the return, as you would have no doubt have seen in the trailers, to Hogwarts. Be still my beating heart.
Missing some of the magic of previous Wizarding World outings, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is still an enjoyable, visually stunning film.