Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is another of those movies I knew I was absolutely going to go to as soon as I’d viewed the trailer. Apparently I still have a soft spot for the Harry Potter Universe and I loved the first film. I couldn’t help myself. What would Newt Scamander get up to this time? Probably something pretty good. Though the movie title? What a mouthful! I’d really just been thinking of it as Fantastic Beasts 2 and had to look up the real title for the purposes of this review.
The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World featuring the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander.
So the thing that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald gets right was just how beautiful it was. I mean it was breathtaking. The sets were amazing, the critters were amazing and all the special effects looked so good. I just love the visual language of the wizarding world, everything was clearly done with the big screen in mind. Well, almost everything. Why no fan service? Callum Turner is so handsome and Eddie Redmayne is no slouch either. They even mocked the idea – “Why don’t you take your shirt off, Mr. Scamander?” whereupon he absolutely did not. Bastards.
It bears repeating, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was wonderful to behold. It was so nice that I almost didn’t notice how messy the plot was. What were the character goals? I mean we kinda knew what everyone wanted generally (to capture Grindelwald, an unstoppable wizard) but how did we get from there to the idea that Newt had to do it? There might have an explanation, but like most of the audience, I’d had a lot of sugar at the beginning of the film and might have needed things spelled out for me. Instead we got people do things for reasons they didn’t feel they needed to explain in order to accomplish things that might be explained later. What a mess.
But while there wasn’t much in the way of plot and scene structure, the characters themselves were absolutely relatable. Fantastic Beasts 2 was at its best when Newt was interacting with fantastic beasts. There were moments when you clearly understood a character’s emotional reasoning and I had this pang of empathy. It didn’t happen just once, it happened throughout the film, here and there. So I can’t say it was bad writing, it just didn’t feel the need to follow a cohesive line of action. And I think they tried too hard to tie it to the existing mythology. Did we really need to spend any time at Hogwarts? There’s already EIGHT films, there must be more to the Wizarding World than that.
So is Fantastic Beasts: BlahBlahBlah worth watching? Yes, definitely. It was a joy to watch. I’m going to see it again, possibly in the theatres, it was that pretty. You’ll have to take my word on that one, there were no pictures available for the really good stuff. Maybe I’ll see it again and understand what the hell was going on, that would be nice. Funny thing how there haven’t been many book sequels to the Harry Potter books but the movies are still going strong. I’m a fan, can’t wait for the next one.
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