Last weekend, about half of our class went to go and see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Overall, I would give the movie a 7/10. I questioned the story line, especially since I had to keep thinking about how certain things could make sense and trying to relate it back to the Harry Potter series. I think all of the actors and actresses played their roles well (Johnny Depp was a very convincing Grindelwald) and the film was made very well. There were also some plot lines that seemed random (i.e. Nicholas Flamel at the end) and some parts, especially the end where they fought Grindelwald’s blue dragon, that seemed cliche. In this post, I will discuss some of the things that I thought/noticed about the movie.
One huge issue that I noticed was the McGonagall timeline error. Minerva McGonagall was born in 1935, but the movie takes place in 1927. I get that they wanted familiarity, but it’s a huge timeline error and they could have put anyone else in her place. I’m not sure if JK Rowling (or as the actors affectionately call her, Jo) missed this, since the world is so large, but clearly the fact checkers either missed it or thought it was okay.
For all of the hype about Nagini’s casting, she was barely present in the movie. There was next to no characterization of her in the movie other than the fact that she was Credence’s friend from the circus. When the final climax was happening, I completely forgot she was in the movie until they showed her crouched down watching the fight happen. I hope she does more in the remaining movies to justify her existence as a main or supporting character.
The revelation that Credence was a Dumbledore was a very interesting reveal. That was the mental gymnastics I mentioned earlier, trying to figure out where he would fit into the Dumbledore timeline. Granted, I did immediately wondering where Grindelwald got this information from. It didn’t really occur to me until we had a conversation in class Tuesday that Grindelwald probably made that up and could be using Credence to get to and fight Dumbledore and to use in his war.
One thing that struck me at the end of the movie was the very end image where Credence stands up after having blasted a hole in the wall with his wand. The very red toned room, with the bookshelves and the phoenix (I believe) in the background, and the way he was standing made me think of Dumbledore’s office. I thought that was an interesting parallel to show after the revelation.
But for all of the flaws in this movie, if we have learned anything about J.K. Rowling from reading the Harry Potter series, she likes to plant little clues throughout the series, that careful readers were rewarded for if they paid attention. She already has all five movies planned out. Knowing how much detail and attention she gave to the Harry Potter series, I think it is good to expect the same here. (I thought the flashback to Newt and Leta’s time at Hogwarts was really beautiful). The medium may be different, but I think we can expect the same quality in terms of character development, story line, and symbolism. I’m sure things we ignored or barely noticed in this movie will become relevant in the 4th or 5th one. So, hopefully, assuming they release a movie every 2 years, by 2024 or 2025, we will have a better idea of the entire story and can better evaluate it then.
However, It’s also very odd not know what will happen because there are no books to read! We are all learning as we go. I will certainly try and watch the movie again, even though I am not a huge movie theatre person, but I have plenty of time until the next one comes out.