The Stream: Major anticlimactic events and not enough fantastic beasts
The Big Screen: Big Screen magic comes to life
The Final Bill: Another solid entry in the Fantastic Beasts series that will leave fans a bit empty– S2S: Movie Review
Director: David Yates
Writers: J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Rating: PG-13 (violence and violence to animals)
Runtime: 2 hours 12 minutes
Production Companies: Heyday Films, Warner Bros.
Released: April 15, 2022
Notable Trailers: Lightyear, Downton Abbey: A New Era, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Jurassic Park: Dominion, League of Superpets, Elvis
Welcome back, Streamers! This weekend one of those films, where Harry Potter fans just kind of have to hit the theater, premiered, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. The third, but possibly final or maybe not, entry in the Fantastic Beasts prequel series finds Albus Dumbledore assigning our friendly magical zoologist, Newt and his allies to a mission to save the magical world and the Muggle world from the rising power of Grindelwald. I know what you’re thinking: Do I have to see the other films to check this out? The answer is no BUT you’d be more intrigued by seeing the first two films. So, let’s see how we felt about our boys Newt Scamander and Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore in this flick. AND NO I’m not going to explain the hissy fit. That would be what we call a spoiler and we don’t do those here. What I will explain is if you should run to or from the theater for this movie.
Um…, I have a question why did they change Grindelwald from Johnny Depp to Mads Mikkelsen? I kind of preferred the creepy maniacal version of Grindelwald that Depp played in the second movie. After seeing this film, I can see how Mads works better on screen as an affinity figure for Jude Law and the public at large. The reasons I’ve heard aren’t necessarily clear, but it definitely had to do with the change of CEO at Warner Bros. The reality is that the change was off-putting at first and never even explained why he might look different. I think viewers would’ve appreciated that courtesy even though it doesn’t ruin the movie.
What ruins the movie is that it all feels anticlimactic at many points. There are so many set-ups and misdirections throughout the movie, and yet by the end I just felt underwhelmed. Not disappointed but just left wanting more. Realistically, there are a lot of big payoff scenes for the first 85% of the movie but by the end the viewer will feel like… this is it?! The fact that the first two movies ended with such dynamic and big sequences makes you feel like this just fizzled. There is so much set-up that the viewer gets bogged down in the minutia that isn’t important or is just obvious enough for anyone making reasonable assumptions. I always caution people from doing making assumptions while watching a movie, but I couldn’t help but do it in this movie. It’s literally what the movie begs you to do from about the 10-minute mark of the movie until the end. Directors and writers probably should’ve allowed the viewers to get a bit more engrossed in the fantasy displayed. Speaking of fantasy, for a movie to be titled after fantastic beasts, they really were limited or not as imaginative as the first two movies. The movie starts out with one dope creature, but quickly after that the beasts are more ancillary. Nevertheless, the movie looks amazing. The costumes, the magic, and the scenery are all quite terrific.
Long story short, which is what I wish they did here, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third best of the series. It gives us the same beauty as the other films, but the anticlimactic nature of the film sucks the life from it. Harry Potter fans will enjoy the thrills of the story but also will be let down a bit. For the general public, this is just a solid movie that you might have you saying, “Do I have to watch the other 2 movies to understand what’s going on?” Either way, the best way to see this movie is at a nice matinee price and enjoy the on-screen magic.
P.S. You also can probably expect this movie to be on HBO Max in about 45 days and would probably be worth the price of admission there as well.