Did you watch Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald? Did you like it?
But before I go into why, let me recap the plot. This second movie (in a series of five!) picks up a year after Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Dumbledore recruits Newt to go to Paris to look for Credence, the extremely powerful human/Obscurus who survived the showdown in the last movie. Meanwhile Grindelwald escapes while being transported from America to London, and is in Paris amassing followers to wreck mayhem and also looking for Credence who is powerful enough to help him defeat Dumbledore.
Let me list down my beefs with the movie, and this new franchise in general:
The tone of the movie: Dark, dull, and completely un-family friendly
The movie not only dealt in dark themes — the rise of racist/classist(?) charming murderer Grindelwald, Queenie turning to the dark side, Leta Lestrange’s unhappy past and hand in the accidental death of her brother etc. — it also looked dull and grey. Everything was in such drab colours that they blended into a forgettable mess of things I didn’t care to notice. (Apologies to the set designers who must have worked really hard with no one noticing their efforts.)
It was also pretty scary at parts, especially when Credence transforms into the Obscurus (yep, I forgot what that was too). Suddenly the sound effects are ramped up 10 times — and I *hate* movies that go from 50 decibels to 100 in 2 seconds, because they give me a shock! — and the onscreen visuals are hideous. I know Warner Bros was billing it as the epic blockbuster of the year-end season, hoping to attract the fans and families who loved Harry Potter, but I personally wouldn’t let any kid 7-years and below watch this movie. If I were a 6-year-old watching it, it’ll be fodder for nightmares and a disquieting stain on my soul, though I wouldn’t have been able to explain why I feel so disturbed. My colleague scoffed at me for thinking that the movie looked frightening, but I think she just has no idea what’s appropriate family entertainment.
Confusing plot *spoilers ahead!*
Even if I happen to have a 7-year-old with guts of steel, I don’t think 8- to 10-year-olds will understand the movie. It is not for the uninitiated — like my parents, who couldn’t make head or tail of the plot, and found the onscreen magical *pew* *pew* wand battles boring. Heck, I grew up with Harry Potter and read the series several times (though not the Fantastic Beasts book or screenplay), and even so, this movie confused me. Subplots and twists and things that I don’t understand abound, and then the movie ends in a curveball declaration by Grindelwald that Credence is Dumbledore’s brother. Huh???
I think Grindelwald is lying to Credence though, because we found out all about Dumbledore’s checkered past and siblings in Deathly Hallows. Since it was the last book then, where Dumbledore was dead with all his secrets laid out to bare by the end of the book, I have no reason to believe that Dumbledore had another sibling besides Aberforth and Ariana. And I’m pretty sure J.K. Rowling had no plans to continue the series until Warner Bros came to her with a lucrative opportunity to turn Fantastic Beasts into a cash cow of three, and then later revised to five movies), so I will take Deathly Hallows as the be-all-end-all authority on Dumbledore’s life and number of siblings.
Also, what’s up with Queenie joining the dark side? How does upset feelings over your “star-crossed” love end up with you abandoning your lover? And why did Leta *have* to be a Lestrange (which as we know from Harry Potter, is a line of wizards who often aligned themselves with the dark side)? Just so they could give her a tragic backstory of having a mother who was bewitched, kidnapped and raped by Corvus Lestrange?
Most confusing of all, there is this sinister-looking man called Grimmson who took Newt’s place when Newt refused to become an auror. He is secretly working for Grindelwald and killed Credence’s house elf nanny before disappearing for the rest of the movie. Who is he, why does Newt hate him, and why did they appoint him to be an auror, seeing how nasty and completely untrustworthy he looked? And where did he go?
The uninteresting adventures of Newt Scamandar and gang
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them didn’t wow me, so that greatly dampened my enthusiasm for more of Newt’s adventures. I have also always preferred the Harry Potter books to the movies — which I felt were a sad imitation of the books, and only watched out of curiousity to see if they brought anything worthy to the table. (Not for me.) So to begin a spin-off in a medium that I always felt couldn’t do the stories and the world justice was probably never going to satisfy me.
Plus, the colours of the first movie were also dull and drab, which depressed my feelings for it accordingly. I didn’t like most, if not all the new characters too, except Jacob, Newt’s muggle, I mean no-maj friend. But that was helped by the fact that he was deliberately set up to be a comic relief character (though kudos to Dan Fogler for pulling it off without seeming annoying!). My feelings about the characters have not changed after this second movie. In fact, the only part I found really cool in the first movie was the reveal that Colin Farrell’s character Percival Graves wasn’t actually him, but Grindelwald in disguise.
The only thing I liked about The Crimes of Grindelwald
Sexy Dumbledore played by Jude Law. I’m not even a Jude Law fan! But somehow with that perfect length of scruff, and his embodying the cunning that Dumbledore had in anticipating how things would work out and therefore had already made contingencies for, I was enamoured with him as Dumbledore.
Johnny Depp is pretty good too, despite my spiraling regard for him which I’ve mentioned several times before. He is charming enough when he was winning over his followers. But why did Grindelwald have such odd coloured eyes? It wasn’t even mentioned in the books! How lazy to take the shortcut of differentiating your good guys and bad guys by giving the villain physical irregularities!
What a gloomy movie with a messy plot whose only saving grace is Jude Law! (And maybe Johnny Depp.)
What did YOU think about the movie? Comment below!