For those of you who haven’t kept up with the backstory to the Wizarding World stories, which encompasses Harry Potter and indeed Fantastic Beasts, you may not be familiar with Grindelwald, bar for the name. You may have heard the name crop up once or twice, so this film helps to solidify who the wizard is and what sorts of crimes he committed – As well as what sort of relationship he had to some of the more prolific characters of Harry Potter.
|Studio||Warner Bros. Pictures|
As I mentioned in the title, I’m going to keep this spoiler free, so there’ll be no major plot elements discussed, except for what the film is generally about.
The dark wizard Grindelwald is detained by the Magical Congress of the United States of America for the crimes he’s committed. Grindelwald is no easy man to keep detained however, so he works with a member of MCUSA to escape. Thus the antagonist is fully fleshed out; months later, back in England…
… Newt Scamander has had a travel ban, imposed by the Ministry of Magic. Without travelling, Newt is unable to document the fantastic beasts he needs to encounter for his book. Opting to not take a side in the issues between the Ministry of Magic and Grindelwald, Newt looks to try to continue his book, without getting involved in politics that doesn’t concern him. But will he be able to keep it up?
I feel like a lot of reviews will forget this element, but the CGI of the film was absolutely beautiful. The CGI helped us see some new beasts, of which the most prominent new beast is the Zouwu. This massive creature is akin to a Chinese Dragon, or at least those ones used for new year celebrations. It portrays a range of emotions, from angry, hungry, angrier then curious and happy. All in all, the Zouwu is fantastic.
There’s an element of “meh” to some of the creatures, but in all honesty, not all creatures should be so fantastic. We’re introduced to spirit beasts, which are okay – They get the job done for their scene. But most importantly, the Niffler not only makes a return, but it plays a huge part to the story, as does the Bowtruckle, Pickett. Their returns are not only welcome, but their inclusion makes Newts part in this story all the more worthwhile.
Oh yeah and there’s a deer, called Patrick, that can extend its jaw enormously. Love it!
This is a tricky one as in all honesty, the first half of the film is somewhat lacklustre. The opening was amazing, but immediately afterwards there was just so much talking, so many side-stories, so much build up and set up, that you kind of forget what you’re even being built up for. Indeed, it feels like the first half of the film is trying to quickly catch you up to ideas the film is trying to present you with. However, if you’re happy enough to sit through and keep paying attention, there’s a relatively good pay off.
The second half is fantastic. However, let me state that more than the second half, the performance of Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp are more than compelling enough to carry the film. Yes, I understand that Depp was involved in a huge controversy, but from a performance perspective, he did his job excellently. He portrayed a vicious, nasty villain – One of the most vicious I’ve seen in a while. Eddie Redmayne meanwhile portrayed Newt again in his incredibly unique style, a character he feels like he was made for.
All in all, the main characters were all excellent, but there was such a massive cast of side-characters, that it was a little bit of a muddle. However, for an excellent finish, along with a great way to build further into the story, the film served its purpose nicely. I’d recommend The Crimes of Grindelwald, but I will say – You really should watch the first one before this. You need to go into it remembering what’s happened, as there’s a lot to take in. It’s not bad for that, it’s just a lot to remember… And I feel like the next film will be better for us all knowing the events of this one.
Have you seen The Crimes of Grindelwald yet? If so, what did you make of it? Do you agree with what I said – and what did you think of the performances of the main cast? Was there too much plot in this one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.