FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Director: David Yates
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterson, Ezra Miller
Plot: The race is on to stop Grindewald from turning thousand of wizards against the muggles and starting an all out war
Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee
This is the tenth film set in the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. I have eagerly anticipated all 10 films and have seen all of them on opening night or earlier. I am a huge HARRY POTTER fan, and I consider myself to be close to a Harry Potter expert. I've read all of the books several times, seen all of the movies too many times to count, and own an embarrassingly large amount of Harry Potter swag.
This is why I am so shocked that I walked out at the end of this film utterly disappointed.
First, let's discuss the good parts of this movie. 1. Eddie Redmayne is absolutely brilliant as Newt Scamander. He has fully embraced this role, made it his own, and has made us all fall in love with Newt. 2. The set designs are spectacular. Almost every second of the film is visually stunning. 3. Johnny Depp does a masterful job as Grindewald, even though he is given very little to do.
Now for the bad.
This movie is entirely unwatchable haven't seen the first nine films. Nothing is explained. One of the great writing styles is to include a character that doesn't know what is going on so the audience can figure out what is happening as this character learns. This film doesn't have one of these characters so if you aren't already completely immersed in the world and story line you will be thoroughly confused.
The mission is never spelled out in a clear fashion. It took me almost half of the movie to figure out what everyone was trying to do. There were several moments that could have been used to help clarify the mission and who was trying to do what, but all of those moments were squandered. This is the sixth Harry Potter wizarding world film that David Yates has directed. Maybe he is too deep into the world to realize he is no longer explaining things properly. (He is also slated to direct the final three films in the FANTASTIC BEASTS series).
The cinematography is terrible. It's so sad because the sets are so beautiful, but every time there is an action scene everything gets blurry, shaky, and swoopy. In fact, the camera movements are so quick and fluid that I got sick to my stomach a couple of times.
J.K. Rowling breaks her own rules and canon. She wrote the screenplay for this film and there are things that happen throughout the film that didn't happen in the HARRY POTTER series. This is a huge no-no in the written arts community. Once you've created rules and canon for your story you must follow those rules. Now, it is only the second of five films, and things can change, but if the things that happen in this film end up being true then Rowling totally goes against canon.
Finally, the story is really thin. I noticed about halfway through the movie that there was a lot of action. To the point where it was too much action and not enough substance. This is annoying on two fronts. One, we had to watch a lot of bad camera work and two, Yates still made a movie that is 2 hours and 15 minutes long. It could have easily been 90 minutes and still accomplished everything it did.
If you are a fan of this world I'm still going to recommend you see this on the big screen, only because Eddie Redmayne and the sets deserve it. If you aren't a huge fan, just wait for the digital release, but make sure you've seen the other films first.