With “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”, it’s finally time to return to the wizardry world of Fantastic Beasts. Sadly, the movie had to deal with many delays, cast changes, and some negative press coverage. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” has a lot to overcome. Can director David Yates (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”) turn the tide and give the movie the magic it needs?
“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” picks up where its prequel left off (with just one significant difference, though). Mads Mikkelsen is playing Gellert Grindelwald after the Danish actor took over the role from Johnny Depp. Yes, different actor but an even more sinister villain.
Grindelwald is out for world domination, and he takes on everyone who stands in his way. One of them is Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). They have different views about the wizardly and human worlds, and that’s the beginning of the battle between them.
While Grindelwald and Dumbledore can’t take on each other one-on-one due to a pact made in the past, they each team up with the best wizards. Dumbledore’s team includes Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Newt’s brother Theseus (Callum Turner), Newt’s assistant Eulalie ‘Lally’ Hicks (Jessica Williams), muggle baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), Bunty (Victoria Yeates) and the half-brother of Leta Lestrange, Yusuf (William Nadylam).
Grindelwald goes for the wizards who share his dark thoughts and wicked views on the world. He enlists the help of, among others, Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Credence (Ezra Miller). As the battle continues, we see that team Dumbledore hatches an incredibly inventive plan, but at the same time, Grindelwald gains even more followers and power. Which side will win?
“That bad vs good” storyline is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it’s always great to see a battle like that, especially in a magical world, but during the 2h 22m runtime, you want a bit more than that. The movie starts very well because you get to know more about the dark relationships between Dumbledore, Grindelwald and Credence, you meet the new fantastic beasts, and you get an inside into the plans of each team.
However, once you get through all of that, nothing new is being introduced that keeps the storyline going. There’s a lack of surprise and a wealth of predictable moments, and sadly, connecting with the characters is incredibly tough. It feels like spark and magic are gone. While the final act makes up for that, a more ‘oomph’ wouldn’t have hurt the storyline.
What also make up partly for the familiar-sounding storyline are the stunning acting performance. Redmayne (“The Trial Of The Chicago 7”) brings quirkiness, emotions, innocence and light to “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”. It’s just not the most charismatic performance you will see in this movie.
While Mikkelsen (“Druk (Another Round)”) is the latest addition to the Fantastic Beast franchise, he knows how to make an entrance. His body language is as intriguing, impeccable and charismatic as his dialogues. Given the circumstances, his introduction was a real stroke of genius. It’s just a shame he wasn’t part of the Fantastic Beast world from the beginning.
Law (“Contagion”) returns to the screen as the young Dumbledore, and again he portrays the character with a lot of flair, charisma, personality and style. Sadly, the ‘supporting’ actors don’t have the chance to shine, apart from Fogler (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”). He brings a lot of comedy, honesty and individuality to this movie as Kowalski, who’s still clearly heartbroken about his lost love Quinnie.
The fantastic beasts make sure this movie is worth the watch after all! Pickett shows us again how he uses his physicality hilariously and cleverly. There are also the many slow-motion scenes in which it becomes clear that Niffler still adores everything that shines. There are also some brand new and stunning beasts, such as the highly adorable Qilin, providing a lot of cuteness to the movie, and the creepy crab/scorpion-like animals, who provide the funniest scene of the film.
When the credits roll, you have the feeling that you wanted a bit more from this movie. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” feels similar to its predecessors, and the lack of an innovative storyline doesn’t do the franchise any good. Yet, you might want to give this movie a chance if you’re looking for stunning performances and extremely adorable fantastic beasts.
8th April 2022
THE QUICK SELL
The third installment of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which follows the continuing adventures of Newt Scamander.
CAST & CREW
Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Dan Fogler, David Yates, Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, J.K. Rowling, Jessica Williams, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Mads Mikkelsen, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Steve Kloves