Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie
Written By: J. K. Rowling
Directed By: David Yates
Studio: Warner Bros
Buy On Amazon.com
The second movie in the new Harry Potter spin-off is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan but I just haven’t been able to get into franchise. The Crimes of Grindelwald is too complex, slow, and not that interesting.
Fantastic Beasts 2 opens with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escaping imprisonment and gathering up followers. He wants to make pure blood wizards rule over non-magical people. Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) old professor and friend, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists him to go after Grindelwald because he can’t for reasons you’ll find out at the end of the movie. Meanwhile, Credence (Ezra Miller) is around trying to discover who he really is and hanging with human-form Nagni (Claudia Kim). Then stuff and things happen, and yadda yadda yadda. It’s all complex and confusing.
I saw The Crimes of Grindelwald in theaters and while I liked some aspects of the movie and franchise, I still felt something was seriously off about it. I actually almost fell asleep watching it. With the first movie, I didn’t care for Mr. Mumbler Eddie Redmayne. I think he’s a little bit better in this, but he’s also not the main focus anymore. That has been my biggest complaint for the Fantastic Beasts movies. His character just isn’t interesting enough to lead. It’s like if the Harry Potter movies were just about Finnegan. Who? Exactly! Newt just seems like a minor character, who is awkward, uncharismatic and not that interesting . It’s kind of bad when Dan Fogler has more screen time than Eddie Redmayne. For a movie about Fantastic Beasts, they certainly didn’t have a lot this time around either.
Even Johnny Depp just felt like he was phoning it in. But speaking of Grindelwald, they say it’s the Crimes of…but honestly besides killing a few people and sadly, a baby, what other crimes? That sounds morbid I know but it seems like he’s done all these crimes. The Harry Potter franchises just love targeting children for some reason. When watching the second movie, what I realized is that the magic of Hogwarts is missing. Once the movie goes there an hour in, you hear that familiar music and realize, oh yeah this is why I like this world and oh yeah, this is why these movies aren’t as good. What we get with these is an uninteresting, bland character who likes creatures more than humans. Why couldn’t they just make these movies about Dumbledore?
I thought at the start of the prequels, we would get to see the American magical school, and have that be more of the focus. Instead, it’s now about Grindelwald and Dumbledore…and I guess Newt Scamander and the other secondary characters. This whole Credence stuff I hated in the first movie, and this one I just didn’t care for it either. I liked how they have Nagini as a person, so that was a nice nod to the Harry Potter books and movies. Who would have thought the snake would be so attractive? A lot of the subplots like with Zoe Kravitz were just lost on me. Another nod to the books is that Nicolas Flamel shows up, but for some reason it just felt forced in there. The story was just all over the place and with no focus. Plus the ending was so disappointing. Like, oh we’re just gonna end and you’ll have to see the next movie to see if you actually like these movies or not since this felt so incomplete.
The extras include an extended cut of the movie (digital only), and J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed, wizards on screen, fans in real life featurette, Distinctly Dumbledore, Unlocking Scene Secrets, and deleted scenes. The extended cut of the movie is frustratingly only available on digital HD and there’s like 7-10 minutes added to the cut. I’m assuming it’s mostly the deleted scenes, and some scenes were extended. I just wish the extended cut was on the actual Blu-Ray and I wish I knew that until hour into the movie. The wizards on screen, fans in real life featurette is actors Ezra Miller and Evanna Lynch. Pretty much just split screen of them watching various scenes in the movie and enthusiastically talking about it. The deleted scenes were okay but didn’t really offer up anything new that might have changed my mind about the movie.
Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald could have been great but instead it’s just another lackluster movie with too many complex plot points and not enough magical elements that made Harry Potter so great. They should have just made these prequels about Dumbledore, who has more charisma and charm in the 3 minutes he’s in this movie than Newt Scamander.
J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed”
“Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life”
“Unlocking Scene Secrets”
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Bottom Line: These movies could be so much more and they have been disappointing both times
Running Time: 134 mins