Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

UPDATED: Monday, November 19, 2018 17:21
VIEWED: 3595
PAGE 1 of 1

Saturday, November 17, 2018 11:50 PM


I have a question: How can a movie, that has everything going for it - successful prequels, superb costume and set design, CGI, music and cinematography - fail so miserably.

I awaited this film with such anticipation, as I, based on a whim, engulfed it's predecessor Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them. I was happily surprised to find it charming despite some minor flaws. But from the opening scenes of this latest from the wonderfully creative mind of J.K. Rowling, I was sadly disappointed. And this coming from a huge fan of fantasy and magical films, wizardry and sorcery made flesh by such creative and magical storytellers.

I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of it's director and screenwriters, which were David Yates and the aforementioned J.K. Rowling.
Okay, stop the presses, what gives! How can the writer/creator fail so miserably at translating her vision from the printed word to a visual marvel upon the movie screen? I'm going to answer my own question, thus: Because it takes an equally and vastly creative mind to harness that wonderful gift and
present it in such a manner as to produce a coherent and plausible story within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


In 1927, the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is being held prisoner by the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). When departing New York for transfer back to London, he is freed by follower and MACUSA employee, Abernathy. Grindelwald kills his guards and escapes.

And this begins the rather convoluted plot of the movie, which served to confuse me to no end. I knew mainly two things: that Grindelwald was the bad guy and that Newt Samander was the good guy charged by Albus Dumbledore to chase after and capture. Somehow and somewhere in the plot manipulation Dumbledore was unable, or unwilling to go after him himself, it's even brought up in the movie. Something possibly to do with a promise of some sort. It was very mysterious and very briefly mentioned, so pay attention things like this happen throughout the film. It wasn't so much the plot twists, plot twists I could handle, it was the way in which they were set up and delivered that had
me yawning and disengaging. It was, in a word, boring. Someone with the imagination of a Rowling should not have trouble expressing it.

I was impressed by Dan Fogler (yet again) and Alison Sudol as Jacob Kowalski and Queenie Goldstein, respectively. Who graced the screen with their portrayal of the young lovers; one a muggle and the other a witch. Katherine Waterston was also impressive as Queenie's sister Tina. I left out Eddie Redmayne because I felt that he mailed it in. I thought that he, of the lead characters, was the least impressive. He literally mumbled nearly all his lines and seemed rather bored with being on the screen with the rest of them.
Depp was okay, but was serviceable as Grindelwald. And that was it, pretty much. Oh, there was Jude Law, who shined brightly as Dumbledore in the few minutes he was on screen.

(more to come)


But that was it. There were not many moments or characters that I could point to that stood out greatly, save one, a beast. There was this great moment when a "Chinese-American" dragon appeared and confronted Newt. Allow me to explain my use of the "Chinese-American" description. It was as you see at the Chinese New Year celebrations in just about any Chinatown scenes on TV and in the movies; a large head and enormous mouth and centipede-like body snaking about, as firecrackers go off all around. It was a brilliant choice by Rowling as the
dragon is an important figure in Chinese culture and throughout the world. And this dragon proved no different as a magical creature in the Wizarding World.

Here's what I could figure of the plot. Grindelwald is a powerful wizard, a pure blood, who leans heavily toward the dark arts and who wants to rule over all, both mortal and immortal beings. He believes that only the pure bloods should rule and goes about securing them to join his cause. So powerful is his gift that the American Ministry of Magic cast a spell to curtail this gift.
So that's the gist of this adventure or exercise in how to tame a "Voldermort-like" character. After the introduction as to the premise, which I could surmise from the trailers, Rowling inserts a bunch of new characters that seemingly move the story along. The key word is seemingly.

I have to say it is in the introduction of these characters that Rowling, as screenwriter lost me. Who were these guys? What did they have to do with the overall story? There was one character that she did inject a background for, and that was Zoe Kravitz's Leta Lestrange, a possible love interest of of our hero Newt Scamander. She rightfully shows a little of her background as a
member of that famous wizarding school - Hogwart's. But we don't get much else in terms of character development, or plot, in terms of story development. What we do get is a lot of chase scenes showing various forms of magical wizard affects (this is where the CGI is superb, although somewhat predictable and boring). It's like watching an hour-long fireworks display without rhythm or rhyme. Just a lot of BOOM! But very little in the way of crimes was shown
to justify all that chasing and booming FX. So, as someone once put it to me, your title and what you had to say, don't match. What were Grindelwald's crimes? What had both sides of the pond so worried?

I mentioned at the top that Grindelwald's Crimes had much going for it, music, CGI, Rowling's imagination and the Harry Potter name. But it lacked story development, dialogue and character development. But this movie, based on it's followers and casual onlookers, will make millions. Question is: Why?



Monday, November 19, 2018 10:06 AM


That's disappointing to hear. The first one was lackluster (for a movie about magic, it was decidedly non-magical). I was hoping there was a learning curse and the second one would be better. Sounds like it's more of the same.


Monday, November 19, 2018 5:21 PM


I actually liked the first one, but this went nowhere. It's like they threw characters in a blender and hit "frappe." There were a few moments I liked, but they were few and far in between.

Surprisingly I learned that the same director that directed the last 3 or 4 Potter movies has directed these two Fantastic Beasts movies. Reportedly there
are 3 more to come. Rowling is a good solid writer, but not so much as a screenwriter - she wrote the last two FB movies. If she's smart, she will stick to writing books and let the pro screenwriters handle that aspect of
film production.

They should also consider a new director. But because Potter fans have flocked to these two installments, I'm afraid that the box office will drive that
horse and buggy to the finish line, unfortunately.



Originally posted by GWEK:
That's disappointing to hear. The first one was lackluster (for a movie about magic, it was decidedly non-magical). I was hoping there was a learning curse and the second one would be better. Sounds like it's more of the same.






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