Title: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald [LINK]
Director: David Yates
Series? The second installment out of five (2/5)
Triggers: Abuse, PTSD, Death
Publication Date: 15th November, 2018
*Disclaimer: I have only seen the film once (though, I plan on seeing it at least one more time) & I am a fan of the first FBAWTFT film. All opinions are my own.
THE STORY ISSUE
Doesn’t feel like a whole movie – it’s just plot plot plot plot without an actual story arc. It sort of just felt like scene after scene with a bunch of laughs thrown in between. Maybe the script should have gone through another few rounds of editing because this movie felt a bit choppy and like it was just a massive info dump without much story or actual character development. I would argue that only really 2 or 3 characters had any kind of development.
This felt like half of a story. By the end of the film, I felt a bit disappointed because the film mostly just felt like filler while the next film will structurally make more sense in a narrative way. This film was pretty easy to follow, regardless of the ridiculous amount of locations and characters, but nevertheless, the total 180 of a particular character and the change in others, as well as the drifting and slow plot made the story a bit of a slog to watch.
Just look at the size of the main cast!
This is going to sound so bad, but I really do think you could just skip this installment in the series and come back in 2020 and be caught up on this film within the first act. This film is 2 hours and 14 minutes long which is quite frankly, nuts. Infinity War was only 15 minutes longer if that gives you any indication of how long the film was going on for.
Honestly, JKR needs to get an editor or Yates needs to reel her in because this movie was a bit of a mess. It was a Potterlore dump, there were too many characters, locations and plotlines. On that note though, if you go back and watch the trailers after watching the film you’ll notice that A LOT of scenes have obviously been taken out of the film, which I think only adds to why the movie ended up so choppy in the end.
IS THE WIZARDING WORLD LOSING IT’S MAGIC?
The wizarding world is so so cool and definitely the best thing about these films, but, and this feels so horrible to type, I really feel like this world, in and out of the story, is losing its magic. JK Rowling now writes the scripts for the FB films so there’s a lot of taking from other cultures without reference (if that makes sense???), referencing HP lore that only a Potternut would understand & the movies are definitely far too long. A lot of other reviews have said this but JKR really needs to get a better editor, or an editor in general, and cut these films down – because so far they just look like commentaries on random social events and movements & a random dump of HP facts that not everyone is going to understand.
For me, the fantastic beasts and the relationships between Newt, Jacob, and Tina are still the best thing about this series, which is a major reason as to why I was so disappointed by this film. There were definitely fewer beasts (or at least they were less at the center stage) and the original cast got a lot less screen time, considering they were the main characters in the first film.
The controversy is real with this guy! [LINK] I’m going to be honest here, I tend to avoid Depp films because I can never understand anything he says, and I was against him being cast in this film purely because I thought Colin Farrell was so much better in the role!
That being said, Johnny Depp is actually really great as Gellert Grindelwald – he’s terrifying and charismatic, and possibly scarier than Voldemort. He is also painted in a very Hitler-esque light, so much so that I have actually taken to calling him Magic Hitler in my head. There was a lot of Hitler imagery throughout the film and Grindelwald was characteristically very similar to Hitler. Johnny Depp is great in the role and surprisingly not very Johnny Deppish. He sounds different and doesn’t use his usual Depp character mannerisms, which was really just a relief.
THE DIVERSITY ISSUES
- POC characters are generally sidelined, useless and plotless & have minimal lines and screen time.
- The two Asian characters are both bad – one being an infamously future evil character.
- Grindelwald x Dumbledore what a joke. I have no faith in Rowling in terms of this storyline.
The cast is really great. I question the casting of Zoë Kravitz purely because I don’t know if she came across on screen the way she intended to. However, I think the original cast (especially Alison Sudol, who plays Queenie) were fantastic. In terms of new additions, I really enjoyed Jude Law as Dumbledore (and I’ve never really been a Dumbledore fan, so 👏👏), and Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander) in particular, were great on screen. I actually really enjoyed Callum Turner’s character and I’m really excited to see him in the third film.
Some more upsides (because I think this review really needs a touch of happiness right now) from this film, were how wonderful the film looks! Visually it’s wonderful, the beasts actually look fantastic and the magic looks so so cool! The big perk of this series is really that the majority or characters already know all the spells so you can completely avoid the big learning curve from the original HP series!
As always, I loved Newt and Jacob. Though, this movie in particular, really got me to appreciate their friendship and how each character has developed since the first film!
Also, in a total twist, Johnny Depp was actually good as Grindelwald. Whether that will continue through the rest of the films, I don’t know – but so far he is playing Magic Hitler really really well!
The Zouwo is by far, a new favourite beast of mine!
I feel like if you don’t know much about the original Harry Potter story or you haven’t seen the first FB film, you will probably feel left behind. I haven’t read the books or watched any of the films in a couple of months, but I’ve been reading these books since early childhood, and I was still quite confused about a bunch of the unexplained references within the film. I feel like JK Rowling was unsubtly nodding to her fans but, leaving out a big group in her audience.
I know this review was slightly long and that I only talked about my basic notes without actually going into what happened in the film. I’m kind of interested in talking about my other thoughts and feelings on the actual content in the film, so let me know if you guys would like a spoiler review of Crimes of Grindelwald!
[YOU CAN FIND WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN WATCHING ON LETTERBOXD]