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Film Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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The wonderful and magical Wizarding world of Harry Potter is one of the most beloved and successful cinematic universes in history. J.K. Rowling created a world of escapism with no equal. In 2016 Rowling expanded that fantasy further with the prequel adventures of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a welcome addition bringing a new fan-base with an attractive New York Prohibition-era setting.

The sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, picks up quickly after the first with a young Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlisting the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to take down Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), a dark wizard who has escaped incarceration and is hell-bent on raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all. The opening scene is flawless, a magical action packed escape scene that excitedly introduces us to the series villain and the threat he poses to the wizarding world. The film’s opening is the best, and frankly, only good part of the tale. The most magical part of this film is how the filmmakers and Rowling managed to make a spin-off of Harry Potter so perplexing boring.

Rowling has written a tale so ridiculously and needlessly complicated that it becomes a boggling bore. The audience simply doesn’t care about characters or what happens to them when they are given too much pointless backstory. Supporting characters are given more supporting characters with no one elevating to the point of being even barely interesting. Eddie Redmayne’s bubbling socially awkward Newt was cute the first time round, but this time he comes across as an annoying buffoon. He need to pull his wand out, as Redmayne is far more talented than this performance suggests. The much controversial character of Nagini is pathetically nothing and doesn’t merit the story. Same goes for character of Jacob Kowalski (Dan Foglar), who last time was a fun humorous foil to Newt. Jude Law’s performance consists of putting his hands in his pockets and not much else. The less said about Ezra Miller’s dopey and bland Credence the better. Depp’s turn however, as the films villain is the only notable, if nearly inaudible performance. He plays a grounded and masculine villain that is intriguing without resorting to the camp behaviours his characters so often display.

The direction and score feel like that are running behind in pace and therefore we are constantly waiting for it to catch up. The third act lacks any stakes and/or heart, which poses more questions than it answers and never reaches any satisfying conclusions to any of its MANY character threads. For a film with an awful lot going on, nothing really happens.  While the film is indeed visually stunning, it’s a wonder anybody wants to stay awake through the proceedings.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is not a Fantastic beast; it’s a tepid and tedious lacklustre affair. Unless the filmmakers and Rowling can fix their mistakes, Grindelwald’s biggest crime may have been the killing of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. This film and Justice League are the biggest disappointments of 2018.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
1.5 Our Score
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Pros
The opening scene is exciting and Johnny Depp is surprising good.
Cons
The script, the cast, the music, the direction, the pacing and the beasts themselves are not fantastic.
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As the website founder, innovator and owner of www.screenscoop.com, Kosta Sakellariou is the primary event correspondent for all Sydney based red carpet events. His infatuation and 6th sense instinct for identifying the latest film news have lead to the creation of ScreenScoop, which strives to report, inform and entertain fans who share this same passion around the globe. Get in the loop with #ScreenScoop

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