Fantastic Beasts 2: Just enough magic in the details

Fantastic Beasts 2: Just enough magic in the details

Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

(M) Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz

Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is apprehended and held in the Magical Congress of the United States of America in New York. That is until, the dark wizard manages to escape to Paris to look for Obscurus, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) who had wreaked havoc on New York in the first film. So begins the newest adventure Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Despite assisting in the first arrest of the villainous dark lord, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has had his travel privileges limited to the British Isles, while he still maintains his private zoo of extraordinary creatures in secret. Then Newt is visited by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) with an urgent request to get to the unstable orphan, Credence, before Grindlewald is able to recruit the young man to his evil cause. The reluctant hero is able to enlist his No-Mag friend, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) on his covert mission to Paris. Both men are not only seeking out the Obscurus, but have a goal to reconnect with the magical sisters, Tina and Queenie Goldstein (Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol) who left both men behind.

The target audience seems to be the adults who grew up on Harry Potter, but want something that appeals to more mature tastes. Even though Rowling refers to the book series throughout the screenplay, the story and pacing deal with elements that may go beyond the comprehension of the younger ones.

The writing does more to develop the characters of the first chapter of the franchise and lays the groundwork for an inevitable third film. Jude Law provides the heart for the film that many may have thought was lacking in the original by embodying the much loved Dumbledore. Johnny Depp delivers a solid performance as the patiently conniving mastermind and does not undermine the storyline or overtake the focus of the film. Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston do an admirable job of repressing their characters. But one casualty of the introducing so many new characters is that Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler are sidelined despite being the heart of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The whole experience suffers from comparison to the rich character development and magic of the films that were inspired by the book series. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald may provide some satisfaction to those looking for more from Rowling’s world of wizards, but it is hard to imagine that it will capture the imagination of audiences around the world in the same way as her books.

Looking Deeper

There is nothing quite like the love of a parent or knowing your parents. Even in the worst of experiences, the love, support and hug from your father or mother should have a soothing effect on your very existence.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald provides a glimpse into the value of family, but at the heart of the story is the essential need for the love and acceptance. This relationship can come in the form of blood relations, a blended family or through adoption and shows that no price can be put on the importance of parents in the life of a child. Have you told your children how much they mean to you today?

Questions

  1. What is sacrificial love? (John 15:13, Ephesians 5:25)
  2. What should we do in difficult times? (John 16:33, Philippians 4:6-7)
  3. What does the Bible say about family? (John 15:12-17)

Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger 

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