Director: David Yates
Writers: J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Ezra Miller
Synopsis: Albus Dumbledore assigns Newt and his allies with a mission related to the rising power of Grindelwald.
As we have witnessed in the past, prequel series for blockbuster franchises tend to carry a negative connotation. I have seen countless prequel series in my day, and the majority of them attempt to re-create what came before it and, generally, fail miserably. Warner Bros arguably has some of the best movie franchises under their belt. They were able to show such love and care to the original Harry Potter series. And if you ask me, there isn’t a bad film in the entire collection. Warner Bros has the means and the determination to adapt J.K. Rowling’s novels to the silver screen, and it paid off tremendously. But somewhere along the way, the studio took a woeful turn with the Fantastic Beast films. And much like the first two entries in this prequel series, the Magic of the wizarding world has vanished.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is the better film out of this new prequel series, but that doesn’t hold a lot of weight as this latest entry is a dud. This film clocks in around 2 hours and 20 minutes, and the pacing is horrendously slow. The first two acts of this film feel like a pure exposition of the plot, and I quickly lost interest as the story progressed. It wasn’t until the third act that things finally started to get somewhat interesting with the foreshadowed build-up of the conflict between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). The chemistry they had was passable; however I found it very difficult to view Grindelwald as a proper threat. I understood his objective of rising to power and changing the world for the “better” by seizing control of the wizarding world. His rise to power was done in a different way than Voldemort from the original series. I adored what director David Yates was trying to convey, but it’s a major part of the film that did not work for me.
Outside of Dumbledore Grindelwald, . the rest of the characters’ story arcs were forgettable. At the start of this franchise, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) was the major hazard of the series. I think his journey was properly set up in the first two films, but it seems as though he gets cast aside from the spotlight, and all of the attention shifts to Grindelwald. I understand the direction they are trying to build up to. But I wanted them to go further into the relationship of Credence’s origin being a Dumbledore. We do get some answers along the way but it’s glossed over in the third act. Dan Folger (Jacob Kowalski) serves as the comedic role (yet again), and it works for a bit, but then it starts to get stale. And yet, I enjoyed his story arc the most out of the whole cast. Another issue I had was the lack of Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson), who is easily the best character in this franchise and only had a few minutes of screen time. But when she does come into the fold, she steals the stage.
I think that it is fair to say that no one, not even a Potter Head such as myself cares about the Fantastic Beasts prequel films. They are a hollow attempt of giving Harry Potter fans a reason to see a new story told in the wizarding world. There are so many stories and avenues that Warner Bros. could have given us such as a new trilogy about Voldemort’s origin and rise to power during the time the original Order Of The Phoenix was established. This series first started off in the right direction by trying something new. We were given new characters in the wizarding world to connect with on a deeper level, but it has evolved into something that is different and unrecognizable. The magic of the wizarding world is fading quickly and Warner Bros. should pull the plug on this sad attempt of a prequel series while they still can.