Ah, yes. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I’ve been a huge fan these magical books for years, and I enjoyed seeing them come to life on screen. I fell in love with the characters, setting, and plot at an early age, and they’ve been with me ever since. So you can imagine when I saw the announcement of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in 2016……I was bouncing off the walls with excitement! My friend (whom I had introduced to Harry Potter a few years earlier) was equally excited, and we eagerly anticipated the film’s release. After seeing it together, we decided it was an “ok” addition to the franchise. It contained some darker, almost scarier, magic than in the Harry Potter books, along with some violent and pretty creepy scenes. Overall, the movie had a good ending – the plot was wrapped up nicely, and all of our questions were answered. Plus, it had lots of fantastic beasts. We both agreed that it was a great ending to the franchise.
Or so we thought.
Earlier this year, I saw that yet another movie was coming out: “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” After doing some research, I discovered that this was only the second installment in a 5-part “Fantastic Beasts” series.
Naturally, I was pretty excited! I pulled out my Newt Scamander t-shirt and headed to the theater with my Dad, who generously agreed to take me, even though he had absolutely no knowledge of the wizarding world. (Shout out to my Dad – thanks again for taking me!) I walked into the theater eager for the film, and emerged terribly disappointed. This movie was extremely underwhelming, and I was not impressed.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” builds upon the previous Fantastic Beasts movie. (If you haven’t seen it yet, please note that this post contains spoilers for the first “Fantastic Beasts” film.) At the end of the first movie, the notorious dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, is caught and put in “wizard prison” (for lack of a better term – the name of the prison wasn’t mentioned). Within the first 10 minutes of the second film, Grindelwald escapes prison, determined to fulfill his evil scheme of world domination and condemning all Muggles to lives of slavery.
Newt Scamander, a quirky Magizoologist, has been banned from international travel by the Ministry of Magic (for reasons that are explained in the first film). In an attempt to get his traveling license back, the Ministry proposes a compromise: they’ll grant Newt his license if he searches for Credence Barebone. Now, if you haven’t seen the first film, (which I highly suggest before seeing this one) you won’t know who this Credence guy is. Basically, he’s an Obscurial – a young wizard who has developed a dark force within him as a result of his magic being suppressed. Great, right?
Um, no. Obscurials are extremely dangerous, and can cause a lot of harm. In the first movie, it appeared as though he had been destroyed, and he and his powers no longer existed. BUT NO! We find out early on in the film that Credence survived, and is back in business. (Wow, what a shocker.) He happens to be in Paris searching for his true identity – who his parents were, where he was born, etc. But because of his life-threatening abilities, everyone is looking for him. The Ministry wants to kill him (for real this time), Grindelwald wants to use him to accomplish his wicked deeds, and even a young Albus Dumbledore is interested in him and Grindelwald. Unable to chase Grindelwald for himself, Dumbledore asks Newt for assistance. Newt turns him down, just as he refused the Ministry. However, when Newt discovers his beloved Tina is in Paris, he and his trusty sidekick, Jacob, pack their bags and set out for France (even though it’s illegal for him to do so).
And so, the hunt for Grindelwald and Credence begins.
THINGS I LIKED
The Setting: The film takes place mainly in Paris, which I prefer over the American setting of the first movie. I definitely like the European version of the wizarding world much better. The Muggles aren’t called No-Majs, and it’s the Ministry of Magic instead of MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America). Plus, the debate between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny doesn’t exist – its Hogwarts all the way! Speaking of Hogwarts, we get to see it in the movie!! There are a few scenes inside and outside of the wizarding school, with Hedwig’s Theme playing in the background, of course!
Um, that’s about it. Moving on to:
THINGS I DISLIKED
Brace yourself. I have a lot to say about this one.
The Title: “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Pretty cool title, right? The only problem is, it didn’t fit with the movie. For one thing, they never actually said what “The Crimes of Grindelwald” were……I thought that was kinda strange considering it’s the title of the movie. Also, there were maybe 2 “Fantastic Beasts” in the film. Well, we get a brief glimpse into Newt’s creature-filled basement, but the only other beasts in the movie have very short scenes and aren’t a big deal. The last film focused a lot more on the creatures and how fantastic they were, which I really enjoyed.
The Plot: In my opinion, the overall story was not great. I found myself confused and befuddled through the film, especially the ending. It wasn’t always clear what the main plot was, either. There were lots of unnecessary sub-plots that only added to the confusion of the story, and there was too. much. romance. Now, I don’t usually have a problem with a little romance, but in this case, there was too much of it and it did not belong. However, Newt and Tina are the only exception. Their relationship adds a cute and humorous element to a dark and intense story. Everyone else and their relationships were altogether confusing, and didn’t do anything to enhance the film.
Plot Holes: This movie contained several mistakes that didn’t make sense. For example: in the beginning of the film, Grindelwald escapes from prison. He is being transported to Europe, to “answer for crimes he has committed.” What were those crimes? And couldn’t MACUSA just handle him themselves? Also, transporting him gave him a chance to escape, which he did. #mistake. Grindelwald is described as being one of the most powerful wizards in the world, so how come they didn’t have heavier security on the guy? This was just one of the many problems I noticed throughout the film.
Newt’s Character: Everyone loves Newt, including me. He’s a funny, quirky guy with a passion for magical creatures. However, I had a slight problem with his character in this film. As I mentioned earlier, he turns down the Ministry of Magic and Albus Dumbledore’s requests for help. He refuses the Ministry because he doesn’t believe its right to kill Credence, and Dumbledore because he would have to travel illegally. At one point in the film, Dumbledore comments that Newt doesn’t ever do anything out of pride or for selfish reasons. “You simply ask, Is a thing right? no matter the cost.” says Dumbledore. This is a great quality of Newts, and one of the reasons why people admire him. However, as soon as Newt learns that Tina is in Paris, he sets out to find her almost immediately. Ummm, ok? He wouldn’t go to Paris to save the world from evil, but he’ll go to find his girlfriend? Ok then….
THE ENDING: The end of the movie left us with a cliffhanger. Which I did not appreciate. I also feel that they stretched the story too much, especially with one detail in the end, that made it seem, well, unbelievable. When they revealed this piece of information, I remember thinking “Really? They’ve taken it too far this time.”
Because of all the reasons I just mentioned, I’m giving “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” a 1 out of 5 stars.
You can probably tell that I was not a big fan of this movie. I know some people were, and that’s great! Different people like different things! But personally, I prefer the original Harry Potter books and their movies. I feel like this new series is, ironically, taking the magic out of the story. However, these are simply my opinions on the film. You’ll have to watch it and judge for yourself to truly decide.
Have you seen “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”? If you have, let me know what you thought! I’d love to hear from you!
– Meredith :)