Published: Friday, 16 November 2018 08:58 | Written by SciFi Vision
Today marks the official opening of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series. The film, set in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world and directed by David Yates, stars Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander, who is tasked by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to stop Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who has escaped MACUSA custody and is hell-bent on bringing the wizarding world out of the shadows to rule over non-magical beings. With the help of Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and no-maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) he must also try to save Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), a young wizard who has become a dangerous obscurial.
As with the previous film, the imagery and effects are gorgeous. From the locations that bring the world to life, to the magnificent array of fantastical creatures that inhabit that world, you really feel something quite special that only Rowling’s creations can give you.
Not only do Nifflers return, and this time as cute little babies, as well as the Bowtruckle, Pickett, but there are of course many other new creatures that we get to meet, including a water horse from Scottish mythology called a Kelpie, a beast of Chinese origin called a Zouwu, flying lizards called Firedrakes, and the cat-like Matagot from French folklore that are used by the Ministry of Magic, just to name a few.
The characters are well fleshed out and grounded, and the story is complex yet whimsical, making me wish that the franchise included full novels by Rowling to delve even deeper.
Redmayne was once again brilliant in his role as the often shy wizard who has such an affinity for his creatures. I especially enjoyed his scenes with Fogler, who again wonderfully brings in most of the comedic moments, and Waterston, as they tiptoe around their mutual attraction.
Law was also fascinating as a younger Dumbledore, and Depp brought a charismatic Grindelwald.
Miller shined as well as he came out of his shell from where we saw Credence from the last film.
I also have to mention the return of Tina’s sister, Queenie. Although Alison Sudol was once again exceptional, I didn’t quite buy her motivations for some of her actions in the film. Perhaps the third installment will shed some more light on this.
Also an interesting edition to the cast was Nagini, played by Claudia Kim. The origin story of the Maledictus was intriguing in my opinion, although I really want to know how she came to be Voldemort’s familiar.
However, with all that is so wonderful about the film, it doesn’t quite live up to the original. If after watching it you find yourself scratching your head in confusion, you’re not alone. While Rowling once again weaves a magical journey, some of the facts seem a bit mixed as certain pieces don’t fit into the previous history of the characters fans have come to love, such as timelines and character editions that never existed in the original Harry Potter universe.
However, regardless, what can be said, is that especially after the massive twist revealed at the end, fans will be talking and trying to piece everything together.
Although not as strong as the first film, lacking some of the previous movie’s feeling of awe and adventure, as the sequel focuses more on the somewhat convoluted plot, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is definitely worth seeing, and even shelling out more cash for the 3D version, which I found as breathtaking as the original. It was such a pleasure to once again get to enter Rowling’s magical and enchanting world, and I can’t wait to see more of Newt’s journey.