The ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ released on November 15, 2018
This is my first attempt at ‘having my say’ on a movie, something made only easier as the subject concerns the Harry Potter universe.
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them’ (2016), the first of the planned five in the series, was quite a fun. After all, it had been five years since the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) hit the screens. A LOT of potter fans, including me, wanted more on the universe, and when FB got released, it was a celebration of everything that was ‘magical’. It took its name from one of the prescribed subject books at Hogwarts, ‘Fantastic Beasts…’, written by Newt Scamander (who is the main protagonist in the movie).
The introduction of the creatures (harmless or otherwise), coupled with an effective storyline of finding the host of a deadly parasite (Obscurus) and preventing total destruction kept me hooked. Not to forget the surprising climax which revealed Gellert Grindelwald, the most feared dark wizard before the age of Voldemort and who insists on creating a new world order emphasizing on the superiority of wizards.
Two years on, the opening sequence of its sequel set the right tempo. Grindelwald, played again by an convincing Johnny Depp, escapes from the custody of magic law enforcement officials while being shifted. What he does next should have carried the sequel through. But, somewhere in between the movie lags.
The second FB movie concerns a suave Jude law aka Albus Dumbledore (absent in the first movie except for a odd mention) asking Scamander to thwart Grindelwald. Dumbledore can’t do it for reasons later revealed. Scamander though is reluctant and doesn’t want to take sides, at least momentarily. Meanwhile, Credence, who is still infested by the Obscurus, wants to know his origins.
There is excellent visuals, especially the opening escape scene, and nice BGM (one can hear the Hogwarts theme again. Oh yes, please be welcomed back to the school), besides the introduction of several characters which piques the interest of potter fans, including Nagini (the serpent which later remains by the side of Voldemort) and Leta Lestrange (is there any connection to Bellatrix?). Another significant moment is at the very end with the renaming of Credence as Aurelius Dumbledore by Grindelwald. What? How is Credence related to Albus?
However, I think the movie lacks the punch for a non-potter fan. A couple of sub plots was unnecessary like the revenge vow taken by a French-Senegalese wizard to kill Credence. Also, the character of Queenie, Tina’s sister, turns out to be a disappointment. She decides to go over to the other side, but WHY? There is no solid justification for her action, when the man she loves (Kowalski), a muggle, himself is seemingly aware of what is right/bad.
Also, the audience should have been told as to why is Grindelwald who he is? What’s his history with Dumbledore? Hopefully, we will have an answer for these questions in the coming movies.
The series is now moving away from ‘Fantastic Beasts’ to the grim reality of power struggle. I can only hope the struggle is little more pronounced in the next movie.