Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

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Professor Albus Dumbledore knows the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts magizoologist Newt Scamander to lead an intrepid team of wizards and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.

Review:

Alas, the magic is fading in the Wizarding World

The 3rd installment of the Fantastic Beasts saga, THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is satisfying enough for fans of the ongoing Wizarding World of Harry Potter universe and will be time well spent for those of you that have watched all 8 Harry Potter films and the first 2 FANTASTIC BEASTS films, but it is nothing…magical.

Picking up where the 2nd film (THE CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD) left off, the arch-nemesis of Dumbledore (a game Jude Law) is in power and looking to start a war with the Muggles (non-magic folk). A ragtag group of heroes (are there any other kind) led by Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) are humanity’s only hope.

And…while this worked well in the first series of film…this setup falls rather flat as it has a “been there done that” feel to it that is not really elevated above the ordinary.

The reason are numerous:

First, Newt Scamander is no Harry Potter. While Eddie Redymayne plays an interesting, quirky, central character – a character who’s unique skills were needed to defeat the bad guy in the first film – he is, really, a secondary character, yet he is the one we follow throughout the film. Kind of like watching the Harry Potter films through the eyes of Neville Longbottom.

Secondly, Grindewald (this time played by Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp) is no Voldemort. Grindewald was an interesting character set up in the first film, but by this film, he is pretty bland (and pretty blandly played by Mikkeslen who is, frankly, miscast).

Thirdly, Dumbledore (Jude Law in a very good performance, one that needed to be larger and more central) is sidelined for most of this film – a film about the battle between Grindewald and Dumbledore, a stumble (plotwise) to be sure in an awkward attempt to keeping the Newt Scamander character front and center.

Fortunately, the supporting cast is strong from Dan Fogler’s muggle, Jacob Kowalski to his love, Queenie (Alison Sudol) to Newt’s brother, Theseus (Callum Turner) to Newt’s assistant Bunty (Victoria Yeates) to Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth (Richard Coyle) – all have their moments and are interesting (enough) to watch.

Unfortunately, Ezra Miller’s conflicted villain, Credence is poorly written with a crescendo to his character that lands with a thud. And, the inexplicable reason that Katherine Waterston’s main character of Tina is sidelined (rumors are she conflicted with J. K. Rowling) just doesn’t land, so, consequently, 2 major pieces from the first 2 films just don’t work.

What does work in this film is the magical sequences, as handled by Harry Potter veteran David Yates (who has now helmed 6 films in the Wizarding World franchise), the magical scenes are truly…magical. They are fun to watch and the real reason to watch this film, but the story is weak with a misguided viewpoint character that diminishes the fantasy for all.

Rumors are that this was supposed to be a 5 film franchise, but with box office diminishing for each successive Fantastic Beasts films, the filmmakers wisely decided to wrap up most storylines in this film.

It’s time to say goodbye to FANTASTIC BEASTS, but it should be time for the Wizarding World to go the way of Star Wars, Marvel and Star Trek – streaming TV series that breathes new life – and new, interesting characters – to a sagging franchise.

In the meantime, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is “good enough” and since it is all we have at the moment, it will have to do.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore