Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Film/Movie Review) – Trash of the Highest Order

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a fantasy film directed by David Yates with J. K. Rowling returning to write the screenplay for this sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It is the second instalment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the tenth in the Wizarding World franchise that began with the Harry Potter movie series.

The Crimes of Grindelwald features a large ensemble cast that includes Kevin Guthrie, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Callum Turner, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne.

The story of this movie focuses on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). He is instructed by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to help take down the escaped dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

My Expectation For Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The mixed reviews for The Crimes of Grindelwald were a real disappointment to see. I wanted to go into this film full of confidence that it was going to be good but I could not muster any optimism. My pessimism was also influenced by the fact that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did not hold up on a repeat viewing.

I still think the first Fantastic Beasts film is a decent movie but it was not as good as I remembered it to be when I first watched it in 2016. Consequently, my expectations for The Crimes of Grindelwald were pretty low. Still, surely the film could not be as bad as some of the reviews made it out to be.

My Thoughts On Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is absolute trash. A bad and boring first and second act are topped by a gigantic turd of a third act that had me crying with laughter at its absurdity. The whole cinema was silent and I could not contain myself; I was streaming tears with how ridiculous the last half-hour of the film was.

In its defence, there are things in The Crimes of Grindelwald that I thought were positives. No one gives a bad performance and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore is the standout. He is very good as Dumbledore and everything in the first and second act that had to do with him and Hogwarts was enjoyable to watch.

Indeed, the best scene of the film is when Dumbledore solemnly looks into the Mirror of Erised. This was a great link to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the Dumbledore/Grindelwald relationship. It was a great piece of visual storytelling.

The Negatives Of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

However, there is more bad than good in this film so let us move on to everything else in The Crimes of Grindelwald that ranges from bad to atrocious. For one, the film is woefully paced. I mentioned earlier that the first and second acts are boring and this was all down to how sluggish this film feels. For a lot of the time, it was a real struggle to be engaged with what was happening in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

I also thought that a decision made by Queenie (Alison Sudol) came out of absolutely nowhere. The reasons for this decision being made were not established well and it was one of many examples of the overall poor storytelling in this film. Still, the biggest crimes that The Crimes of Grindelwald commits is how, firstly, the universe is made smaller by ridiculous twists and connections between characters that contradicts established canon.

Indeed, it was a certain exposition scene which explained a mysterious part of the plot that started off my uncontrollable laughter but I was already laughing at parts of the film prior to this. The other huge crime is that this movie is not fun and for a Wizarding World film to not be fun is an utter disgrace in my opinion.

I also thought the lighting was awful. I was straining to see what was going on at various times during the movie. All of these overwhelming negative aspects absolutely establish Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as the worst film I have seen in 2018.

Fantastic Beasts 2 The Crimes of Grindelwald Film Movie Review

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Film Review) – Wonderful and Vibrant

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fantasy film directed by David Yates and stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Colin Farrell and Eddie Redmayne who plays the lead as Newt Scamander. The story follows Newt, a magizoologist who journeys to New York City with a briefcase full of magical creatures, some of which have been accidentally set free which causes havoc across a city which is no stranger to magical disturbances. This film is a spin-off prequel of the Harry Potter films. It is the first instalment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the ninth instalment in J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

My Love of Harry Potter and Expectation of Fantastic Beasts

I have to say, Fantastic Beasts had a lot to live up to. This is due to my belief that the Harry Potter film series is, in my opinion, the greatest saga ever. All eight films in that series are, at the very least, very good and this consistency of greatness is quite a remarkable feat considering how other franchises struggle in this regard.

Dan Fogler, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston in Fantastic Beasts

For instance, Star Wars has the Prequel Trilogy (and the Special Editions but that’s another discussion), the Middle-Earth film series has the Hobbit Trilogy and Indiana Jones has Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to diminish the quality of their respective franchises. Harry Potter had no films which were bad. They were all quality films and, going into Fantastic Beasts, I hoped that this streak would continue.

My Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts

I am absolutely thrilled to say that I had a fantastic time with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is a wonderful film that has great characters. Certainly, Eddie Redmayne is brilliant as Newt Scamander who fitted into the world seamlessly and his little quirks in the film made his character really likeable. Still, while Redmayne is great, the character of Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler, was my favourite part of this film. He is really funny in Fantastic Beasts and gives the film a lot of genuine heart.

Additionally, the strength of the script, which was written by J. K. Rowling herself, is also a standout in Fantastic Beasts. Rowling successfully expands on the lore of the Wizarding World she created and crafted a story which is able to stand on its own two feet while, at the same time, able to set the foundation for future instalments. I also liked how the different stories within Fantastic Beasts all linked well with each other once the film had ended.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Moreover, I thought that David Yates did a great job directing this film. He is no stranger to this franchise. Indeed, he directed the last four Harry Potter films and was able to continue his great work by creating a vibrant film in Fantastic Beasts. Certainly, the visual effects were really good and none of the CGI took me out of the film. I was captivated throughout.

Fantastic Beasts had a tough task on its hand to follow the brilliance of the Harry Potter film series and be a film which sets up a franchise while still being able to stand on its own two feet. For me, it succeeds on all levels. An entertaining story supplemented by great characters and great visual effects makes Fantastic Beasts a film which continues the greatness of the Harry Potter film series and makes me really excited for future instalments which can really build upon what was established in this film.