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fantastic beasts: the secrets of dumbledore

starring: eddie redmayne, jude law, mads mikklesen, and dan fogel

 

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, though he's unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. 

I’d kind of forgotten about Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. But as a longtime Potter fan I was delighted to see it pop up after being bogged down by production issues due to the pandemic. While The Secrets of Dumbledore suffers from a glut of too many characters, it’s still a thoroughly entertaining and charming film with heartfelt moments of magic.

Professor Albus Dumbledore knows the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts magizoologist Newt Scamander to lead an intrepid team of wizards and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald's growing legion of followers.

For a Wizarding World film, The Secrets of Dumbledore storyline is fairly simple. And while it's entertaining with some of the best action sequences in the Potterverse, filled with magic, and little nods and winks to the films before, you can’t help but shake the feeling that The Secrets of Dumbledore has too many characters without a clear idea who this franchise is really about. 

In the Potter films Harry, Hermione, and Ron were the central characters that were strongly developed throughout the franchise so that the audiences grew to love them. So far the Fantastic Beasts franchise hasn’t really done that and while the film begins to focus on Jude Law’s younger Dumbledore this abruptly tails off as the focus becomes on Newt and his groups mission for Dumbledore. 

However, The Secrets of Dumbledore is still a thrilling watch that manages to capture a lot of the wonder and magic of the Potterverse. From an escape from a medieval like prison using Newt’s magizoological expertise to certain (no spoilers) wizards battling it out, The Secrets of Dumbledore has some pretty impressive and beautifully rendered sequences. 

Despite little character development in a film that feels like a setup for the final two, Jude Law is magnificent as Dumbledore. With a mischievous twinkle in his eye coupled with the superior magical powers he possesses, Law brings so much life and depth to the character of Dumbledore. 

While The Secrets of Dumbledore suffers from a glut of too many characters, it’s still a thoroughly entertaining and charming film with heartfelt moments of magic.