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The other day, I went out to the movies and saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It is a sequel to the previous film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was released in 2016. This movie series is a spin off and also a prequel based on the famous Harry Potter stories written by J.K. Rowling.
As I was hearing prior to seeing the film, it hadn’t been getting the best of reviews. Being a Harry Potter film and having enjoyed the first film of Fantastic Beasts, I still went to see it. But I left the theatre feeling perplexed and trying to come up with a plotline.
Fantastic Beasts is a beautiful film visually. Films have come a long way in the history of technology. One hundred years ago film crews didn’t have the technology to bring a CGI dragon to life. Instead, they’d invented unique effects of their own to capture unique scenes. No matter what, films always found their magic.
My family and I love going to theatres to watch films, especially over the Thanksgiving holiday. Many other families can agree with that. Film can bring people together to laugh, and afterwards digress on details about the movie. We found ourselves questioning a multitude of details that weren’t fully explained from Crimes of Grindelwald.
There were too many subplots going on. I wasn’t sure whose journey we were following. In contrast to Harry Potter, that series sported hundreds of characters, but made its focus on one, briefly focusing on minor characters.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is an introverted British wizard who was a student at Hogwarts and now is employed with the Ministry of Magic. Redmayne does a good job selling the believability of the world he lives in. He lives inside this suitcase which holds together all his beautiful studies. He loves his animals such as the murtlap, which still steals valuable items, Thunderbirds, and the beautiful Zouwu, a mixture of a cat and a dragon. The creatures of Fantastic Beasts are hardly onscreen, putting more focus on the characters who aren’t developed.
Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Alison Sudal (Queenie Goldstein), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone), and Johnny Depp (Gellert Grindelwald) all return from the first film. Out of the characters, Dan Fogler stuck out the most. He is a muggle who accidentally fell in on the wizarding world and falls in love with Queenie, a witch. Fogler stands out with his witty personality and funny one liners. I guess I can relate to him most, being a muggle.
Audiences are introduced to someone new, but who we have known through all seven installments of Harry Potter. Albus Dumbledore returns. Jude Law portrays Albus Dumbledore when he was a young man and teaching at Hogwarts. He does a splendid job delivering a performance that is hard for someone other the Michael Gambon to deliver.
The most memorable part of The Crimes of Grindelwald is returning to Hogwarts. I instantly felt myself smiling at the sight of the beautiful castle which was everyone’s childhood. Sitting in that movie theatre, I could feel everyone’s heart light up, even children whispering "there it is!" That was the only memorable scene as it attained my focus with Hogwarts students learning about the wizarding world and even chasing one another around the halls. That’s the essence of the Harry Potter series.
Another new character is also introduced, but audiences have seen her in the series. I won’t give away who she is because once you find out her name, it’s a big surprise, indeed.
What Crimes of Grindelwald fails at is a story. The plot didn’t focus enough on each unique character who is in search for something. If the writing were addressed differently I feel like the film would have been easier to follow. Since the film focused too much on the extraordinary special effects, dialogue is is not used enough. Dialogue is the most essential part of a movie. Harry Potter did an exemplary job with both special effects and dialogue. Audience attained a whole story that lasted over a decade in book and film.
Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is still a film to see. It’s worth getting to see Hogwarts once more and even the battles through the power of a magic wand. Hilarious dialogue is thrown around every now and then, mostly from the wonderful Dan Fogler. Fans of the film can come together for a laugh and to discuss different aspects.