nerd radio

Tune in live Thursday from 9pm est

MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Fantastic Beasts And Where To find Them: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

November 14th, 2018 by Marc Comments

Fantastic Beasts And Where To find Them: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (12a)
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: J.K. Rowling
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Johnny Depp and Jude Law
Running time: 2hrs 20mins

The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World featuring the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander.

Ok, full disclosure before I write this review – I’m a big Harry Potter fan and I really liked the first Fantastic Beasts movie. I also went to see this with my kids who are both big fans too, so I may find myself excusing some minor details that others may find annoying – I have nothing in mind, I’m just saying it’s possible.

So, picking up six months after the first movie, Fantastic Beasts And Where To find Them: The Crimes Of Grindelwald  wastes no time jumping into the story, with the evil separatist wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) being transferred to face a trial for his crimes in both the real and wizarding worlds.

And here is the first problem with the movie… we meet Newt (Redmayne), Jacob (Fogler), Queen (Alison Sodul) and Tina (Waterstone), the core characters from the first movie and, with a few quick lines, major points from the first movie are undone – this is especially jarring with Jacob and Queenie and in a movie that suffers massively from pacing and needless plot points, it’s pretty much inexcusable.

But, on with the show.

Fans of the last movie and the Potter books and movies will find much to love in here – the world is fully realised, the spectacle is fantastic and the performances, for the most part, are fine, however the movie is just, well, dull. Plenty to see, nothing to watch?

Not much happens in the nearly two and a half hour runtime.

Creedance – a returning Ezra Miller – is searching for his real family… who is he? Meanwhile the ministry of Magic are trying to find the now missing Grindelwald who seems to be found by everyone except them as no-one else seems to have issues meeting with him.

And poor Newt is told by a younger and pre-Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) that only he can solve the Creedance mystery and go against Grindelwald which leaves Newt -and, frankly, the whole audience – wondering why exactly this is.

And, while we’re on the issue of Dumbledore, Law is wonderful in the role but criminally underused, as is Depp as Grindelwald. Both actors deliver in spades but have nothing to do.

And this feels like a problem the whole cast have. Until the last twenty minutes, little of real significance occurs.

Now, that’s not to say the movie isn’t fun, it is. As I said, like George Lucas or Peter Jackson, JK Rowling has created a world that is living and breathing and always has something to enjoy in the background or mentioned or hinted at, but also like the others, she has become self-indulgent.

Which is possibly where the movie’s strength lies… but also its weakness.

Rowling seems so obsessed with tying into the Harry Potter story and getting to the next instalment in this franchise that she doesn’t give this movie the care and attention it deserves.

Remember Dumbledore is gay? Here’s a nod to it.

Remember the name Tolliver? Well, here’s a funny reference.

Ever wonder who or what Voldemort’s snake was? Got it covered.

Want to know the history of Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawks? OK then.

Rowling gets so involved answering all the questions we didn’t really have, she seems to fall off the main storyline.

And, as expected, the movie thinly disguises its nods and political leanings to the world around us: “Do not use violence! We cannot be the thing they say we are!” Shouts one character.

Is Grindelwald right? It’s a nod to the questions in the world we live in and its rather ham-fisted when a character has a crisis of faith over it. And sadly, Grindlewald’s plight isn’t anywhere near as sympathetic as, say, Thanos’ in Avengers.

Again, the movie is fun and fans of this world will like it – we all did, don’t get me wrong – but with such a long running time, it’s almost unbelievable how little how little time is actually spent fleshing out characters or plot but maybe Rowling thinks that since this is the second of five movies she has plenty of time to play around.

So, overall, it is magical and it is fun – these are characters we want to spent time with – but sadly it is also a bit of a meandering mess. Much like Rowling’s books, a tighter editor who wasn’t afraid to say to her that some stuff can go, could make it all tighter and more concise. So, yes, it’s got the magic, it’s just rather… dull.

3 out of 5 Nerds if you’re a big Potter-verse fan

2 out of 5 Nerds if you’re a bit more casual

Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….