23 May 2022

'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is a slap in the face to the world of Harry Potter'

'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is a slap in the face to the world of Harry Potter'

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is in Waterford cinemas now

I loved Harry Potter. Growing up I had the pleasure of journeying through the magical wizarding world with these characters. I read all the books, saw all the films in the cinema and I have all the DVDs. I even did a Harry Potter last year with a bunch of college friends right before we finished up and parted ways.

So, when it was announced we were getting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series I was cautiously optimistic. I was interested to see how they could expand the world of Harry Potter, further seeing as this movie didn’t really have anything to base itself off unlike the previous films.

I went to see the movie in 2016 and left a bit disappointed. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. I didn’t feel a huge connection to the characters and, excusing the pun, the magic of the old films just wasn’t there.

When they announced that Fantastic Beasts was getting a number of sequels, I figured I’d give it another chance, maybe it just started off to a rocky start and they’ll flesh out the characters more and in the long run it’ll all look better.

Well, after this movie I can safely say this franchise is down the toilet and really should have ended after Deathly Hallows.

I know this review may irk and annoy some huge ‘Potterheads’ and fans out there, and I can respect your opinion entirely, but I am genuinely writing this review as a massive Harry Potter fan who loves this world, so hear me out before lighting the torches and getting the pitchforks. This movie is very bad and almost a bit of a slap in the face to not only the fans but to the history and world of Harry Potter itself (or as it’s trying to market now as ‘Wizarding World’).

It truly is an enigma as to why these movies don’t work as strongly as the predecessors, especially seeing as J.K. Rowling is so heavily involved in the writing and producing. The movies almost feel like a fan-fiction than developing the world, adding unnecessary characters and retcons to have things more interconnected seems poorly written and thought out. And the reason why Dumbledore and Grindelwald can’t even fight is unneeded when they already had a perfectly understandable reason in the book.

The casting is another weak point in the film. I still struggle to connect to any of the main leads in this film (although I am glad we got some backstory to Newt’s character and I did understand him a bit more). They all feel very one dimensional - Newt is quirky, Tina is no nonsense, Jacob is funny and Queenie is….quirky also? I was honestly expecting the movie to flesh them out gradually, but it feels like we’ve almost taken a step back rather than forward. Not to mention the reasoning why certain characters are back nearly makes the first movie redundant altogether.

Depp’s performance as Grindelwald and Jude Law's performance as a young Albus are probably the biggest highlights of the movie, which is not a huge surprise from big name actors. It’s just a shame they don’t share screen time together.

The CGI and visuals are nice and it is always great seeing more on this world, but it really isn’t enough to save the movie. It doesn’t have direction with it’s multiple plotlines and loses focus, making it either a bore or just a headache to try and follow.

Overall, Crimes of Grindelwald is a mess and obvious dent on the franchise. I don’t feel any excitement for the next one or even the feeling of hopeful improvement like I did with the first film. It really reminds me of the Hobbit films, trying to replicate the greatness of the original Lord of the Rings by buffing out a story not needed to be buffed out. And by including familiar characters and places, trying to interconnect every single detail and ultimately making a bit of a cluttered mess.

The Crimes of Grindelwald really has nothing fantastic about it, and makes me think it’s after losing the magic.

My rating: a very low 2/5 stars

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