“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp. Released on November 16, 2018, the film has Newt Scamander fighting to save the wizarding world from Grindelwald’s wrath.
The film is directed by David Yates, who is known for directing some of the Harry Potter films. It is a sequel to the 2016 film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, which is also directed by Yates. “Fantastic Beasts” returned fans to the magical world of wizards and creatures when it was released two years ago. Although it wasn’t as beloved as the Harry Potter film series in terms of critical reception, its box office success proved that the Wizarding World is still as strong as ever. While I thought the first installment in the prequel series was “good enough”, it didn’t destroy my intrigue on where the franchise is going to go, especially since the sequel introduces Jude Law as the young Albus Dumbledore and the expanded role of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. But will they be enough to continue the franchise with ease?
The Harry Potter films are always known for their magical charm and the investing stories that made us grow attached to the characters throughout their years at Hogwarts. "Fantastic Beasts" managed to retain that charm, but its story and characters weren't able to have that same amount of appeal despite its visual effects. "The Crimes of Grindelward" showcases that the filmmakers didn't actually learn from their mistakes. Similar to recent sequels like "Pacific Rim Uprising", the film is designed to lead up to future installments if it makes any money. Now I would be OK with this strategy if it had a good story to tell, but from the looks of it, they still need plenty of work to do if they’re planning on expanding more of the Wizarding World. The film’s plot has plenty of enjoyable moments that’ll suit well for those who liked the first “Fantastic Beasts” film, but it still lacked the emotion and depth that introduced people to the franchise to begin with. Even the editing in a couple of sequences tends to mess up its narrative flow. On the plus side, however, it still has a few things that got me into the franchise in the first place. The main highlights of the cast were Redmayne, Law, and Depp as Newt Scamander, Dumbledore, and Grindelwald, respectively. Say what you want about Johnny Depp, but he knows how to bring his characters to life, and his role as the manipulative wizard is no exception. I also have to admit that Jude Law fits the role of Dumbledore almost perfectly, even though his screen time was a tad short. Another thing that I’m impressed with was its use of visual effects, mostly the creature designs. I saw the film in 3D and, to my surprise, it was a great way to experience the film’s visual work. Unless you’re not a fan of 3D, it’s worth the extra money. It’s too bad that the story wasn’t able to match the film’s eye candy and 3D effects.
Overall, “The Crimes of Grindelwald” is visually gorgeous, but from a storytelling perspective, its strong sense of magic is severely lacking. It has some of the things that I enjoyed, such as the cast and the visuals. However, in terms of the plot, it still has lots to learn in order to regain the elements that truly brought the Wizarding World to life. It should take them at least a couple of years to figure it out. It’s not an immediate must-see for fans of the film series, but it’s worth watching for the 3D effects.