Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald Review

 

This week I had the chance to see the latest film in the Harry Potter universe- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and I immediately put up my review on youtube (please subscribe). I was pretty harsh in my initial thoughts but as I have had 2 days to think about it, I don’t think I was harsh enough. I walked out of the theater exhausted and completely baffled. My assumption at the time is this movie must be made for people more aware of the lore than I am, so they will like it. However, I have talked with many hard core fans who are bitterly disappointed, which makes me come to the conclusion that it is just a colossal misfire.

I was not a big fan of the first Fantastic Beasts film but it had some positive traits. I liked Queenie and Jacob’s relationship and story, and some of the setting/new lore was fun and whimsical. My main problems with it was Newt as a protagonist (would have made a better side character), Newt’s mumbling was hard to understand, the tone was all over the place and the final reveal was very underwhelming. That said, this new film makes the first film seem like a masterpiece! (Also I remember being so bored watching Harry Potter Deathly Hallows pt 1. Little did I know how good I had it. I at least understood that one)
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It’s hard for me to tell you all that is wrong with the movie because I was so confused the entire time that my brain hurt. There are so many characters each with their own plots making the story impossible to follow. It kind of reminded me of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, which left me with a similar sense of exhaustion.

The original Harry Potter book and movies were  mysteries in the world of magic. Harry was presented with a problem that they had to follow the clues and find the solution for. As they searched their characters grew and the many side characters made the experience rewarding. Despite them being in a series each entry had a sense of of its own story and identity. Not so here.

To begin with, the good parts of the original film are immediately done away with. All 4 of the main characters are divided up and what they do with Queenie and Jacob doesn’t make sense and is underserved at best. Instead of being charming, Queenie was nonsensical and Jacob was just watching stuff happen. They also immediately leave America so what was the point of setting up all that lore and unique identity for American wizardry?

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Then we get to meet Jude Law as Dumbledore, and he does a good job but it didn’t feel like the Hogwarts we know and love. Why is Dumbledore wearing muggles clothing? What is going on? The advertising would have you believe this Dumbledore is a major part of the movie but they cut away from him so much it is at best an ensemble role.

Zoe Kravitz plays Leta Lestrange and we jump around from seeing her as a child and then an adult and back again. Maybe we will get some reveal in the next movie that will clarify things, but I was completely lost by her character. Then we had Tina, Nagini (which don’t get me started on her weird undercooked storyline), Krall, Nagel, Professor McGonagall shows up for no reason, Nicolas Flamel, Newt’s brother is a major character, Credence is a major character that made no sense. The list goes on and on. I haven’t been this baffled by a fantasy film since Warcraft. It’s true…

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And then we have Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. I was nervous about his performance because him in white face in fantasy films has gotten so boring. In fairness, he is fine with what is given him but what on earth is he talking about all the time? They are obviously trying to set him up as some kind of Hitler type character but they show scenes from the muggles, which they never do in Harry Potter. His speeches were incoherent gibberish and then I was never clear is he using magic to control people or are they acting under their own agency when drawn to him?

The ads keep telling fans to #ProtecttheSecrets. I legitimately have NO IDEA what secrets we are supposed to be keeping. There is a reveal at the end that I guess is a big deal but it made no sense and the more I thought about it the more it irritated me. I guess it is a secret but it’s a nonsensical secret so no loss there?

In recent years JK Rowling has begun to George Lucas herself. She finished her saga on just the right note and then she started Pottermore and it was all downhill from there. Instead of leaving her world for her readers to imagine and play with she made an alteration here or there. She caved to fans and answered questions that didn’t need to be answered. With each reveal some of the mystery was taken away and the magic lost.

Then the first film came out and she didn’t have a screenwriter to edit her down and it was a bit of a mess. Then she gave her permission to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be included as canon and it was very messy. Finally we get this and the universe is seriously damaged. My Potterhead friend was very upset about it, and I feel for her. It’s something we Star Wars fans have dealt with twice now and it is very disappointing.

I know it is technically the creators right to add to their creation as much as they want, but I so wish they wouldn’t. I don’t know if it is greed or a perfectionism that pushes them to make changes but it really hurts the wonder and appeal of the world they have so carefully created. They might think they are helping their fans by providing new content but they are truly breaking their hearts. I know they won’t stop but they should. Sigh…

Some may like spending 2 hours and 13 minutes in this mass of confusion and plotlines and that’s fine. For me, I’m struggling to find a reason to not include Crimes of Grindelwald in my worst of the year list. I still find Newt hard to understand so I don’t even have that to pluck it up like I do with other franchises (Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom or The Meg for example).

It’s just terrible and I’m sad. The end.

Also this is not a movie for children. Take the PG-13 seriously.

frown

 

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9 thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald Review

  1. I actually liked it but preferred the first one, had some issues with this one, and get why people hated it. I know that’s a pretty nuanced opinion for the internet but my brain keeps working that way more and more I actually like Newt as a lead character just because as someone with my own social awkwardness I can kinda see myself in him and this one actually cemented my love of him, especially the charmingly dorky love confession between him and Tina. I like Jacob and Queenie’s plot at the beginning because I found their first scene charming and I found that there was something to the whole ‘longing to love and marry who you want’ plotline that a discussion between them in the beginning actually had me almost in tears (I’m in a weird headspace right now so that might be partially to blame for any weird emotional reactions I have to movies. lol) But I felt like they stumbled with their subplot in the middle and I was a bit let down with how it ended (or didn’t?) I mean, I get the intention of that move in a way but it rubbed me the wrong way a little. Also, as someone who’s thought that some of the Potter movies went on for too long, I almost think this needed a little more to it for some characters, like the idea with Nagini was… weird… but then they did borderline nothing with her character which I honestly can’t tell how that will add to or counteract the initial controversary around that creative decision. I love the 3D and score like I did with the first movie and I’m interested to see if the sequels might fill some things out better and if re-watches might help it a bit, but there were some awkward choices that will probably still bug me even with me liking it. I will say that the ‘Standing around in a mausoleum for 20 minutes revealing things about who this or that character is or isn’t borderline drove me crazy and the ending made me ‘wait? what?’ Not always the biggest Jude Law fan but I really liked him as Dumbledore and Johnny Depp didn’t totally hurt the movie like I thought he would, he wasn’t in it that much I thought actually and he was fine-ish even if I would’ve preferred keeping Colin Farrell (it would’ve made his stuff with Credence at the end feel more natural in my opinion.) I also want a real Niffler and/or real Baby Nifflers but I don’t know if that’s any bearing on the quality of the movie, but it’s an important fact about what I got out of the movie anyway! lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I actually kinda liked it. However, Ilove Harry Potter and it comes no where near the magic of that franchise for me. I do agree that it was very undercooked, JK Rowling rambling on some random ideas thrown into a pot and meant to impress because “HEY LOOK A HARRY POTTER CHARACTER NAME. YOU IMPRESSED??”
    I honestly feel like JK Rowling is just name dropping for the sake of nostalgia and labelling them plot twists urging us to #ProtectTheSecrets.
    I loved the Leta storyline and I actually really liked the Grindleward scenes and I felt like I understood it mostly, unlike your comments. I never felt confused like many.
    However, despite moments I really liked instantly depleted with moments of irritation, I will conclude with the overall feeling of disappointment (especially that iterating ending!) when I was actually quite excited by the trailers :).
    Thanks again Rachel for an enjoyable read!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think screenwriting and writing are two VERY different things and I don’t think Jk Rowling is a natural screenwriting – the execution is just terrible, half cooked and unnecessary :(. Really would have liked to love it!
        Would also be interested in how a novel version of the series would have turned out instead

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally, I’m on the “unpopular” opinion with majority about this movie as I quite enjoyed it. Yes, it wasn’t as good as the first Fantastic Beasts movie and The Crimes of Grindelwald needed to be more structured and more focused, but I was pleasantly happy with the final results, especially since the movie establishes the main conflict of the series.

    Like

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