Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Review 3.5/5 & Review Rating
Back in 2016 we saw the release of the first film in the FANTASTIC ANIMALS FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM series was followed by the 2018 film FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD. Now we see the release of the third part of the series FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE. Interestingly, the latest film comes as the eleventh release in Wizarding Word along with the previous eight films to make up the HARRY POTTER franchise. Given the lineage, expectations for the re-release have been at an all-time high, with viewers and fans awaiting answers to questions that have been raised since the release of the first Harry Potter film in 2001. However, will the re-release answer these questions or will it raise more, we analyze.
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE begins in the jungles of Bhutan with Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) helping to give birth to a Qilin, a magical creature who can see into his own soul as well as into the future. Gellert Grindelwald’s (Mads Mikkelsen) disciples, led by Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), attack, killing the mother and kidnapping the newborn, which Grindelwald kills in order to use his power of premonition. After escaping with their lives, Newt and his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) are recruited by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), who is unable to fight Grindelwald due to a blood pact. Along with two American magicians, Lally Hicks (Jessica Williams), Senegalese-French magician Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) and American no-maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) join the team to thwart Grindelwald’s plan for world domination. Meanwhile, Grindelwald has sent Credence to assassinate Dumbledore before the leaders of the wizarding world gather in Bhutan, where the new supreme chief is to be elected according to the ancient tradition of being found worthy by a qilin who bows to the pure-hearted . Using necromancy, Grindelwald makes the Qilin bow before him, rigging the election. He immediately declares war on all muggles and tortures Jacob for trying to murder him. Will Albus’ team of mages and No-Maj be able to stop Grindelwald’s rise, will Credence finally find out who he is, will Grindelwald be elected leader of the Supreme Lord, are some of the questions that make up the rest of the film.
Right from the start, viewers are taken deep into the emerging magical world with Newt Scamander, as the previous film FANTASTIC Beasts: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE introduces new beats and features some returning creatures that are excited to see them on screen. Similar to the previous two films, the latest release integrates the magical creatures into the plot, supports the narrative and advances the plot. The story keeps a steady pace while detailing what unfolds as Grindelwald attempts to seize power as supreme supreme. Through the process, viewers are not only taken on a visual journey, but also on an immersive experience as they re-enter a magical universe while answering questions raised in the last 10 films. FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE actually comes full circle as it explains intricacies and references from previous releases in more detail. Peppered with light humor, thanks to Dan Fogler’s character, the film doesn’t degenerate into a constant babble of wizard fights and car chases.
Director David Yates, along with Steve Kloves, has done a commendable job of incorporating the magical beats by giving them not just title roles, but roles supporting the main characters. In fact, Yates keeps the story on screen at a steady pace while also introducing new angles and subplots to the main story. The film is made in such a way that the different lines flow seamlessly and makes for quite an enjoyable viewing experience. Speaking of the film’s script, JK Rowling has returned with Steve Kloves, who assisted with the Harry Potter series and the first film in the FANTASTIC BEASTS film. The two who have proven their mastery of the written word have done a great job with the latest release which has managed to bring back the feel of the Potter series that ended in 2011. In terms of dialogue, there really isn’t much to say. Well-written, short and to the point, the dialogues convey what is needed while maintaining a sense of secrecy and urgency when required.
During the performances, the entire cast seems to have shown their best side. From Eddie Redmayne to Jude Law to Mads Mikkelsen, everyone did an excellent job with their roles. The same goes for the rest of the cast. A minor fly in the ointment, however, is the underutilization of Mikkelsen, who over the years has proven his strength at showing an uncanny threat with a smile. Although his brilliance shines through at certain points, the viewer cannot help feeling that his role should have been fleshed out in a little more detail. On the other hand, Mikkelsen manages just as well to portray a softer side of his rather tough character when it is required with panache. Dan Fogler, returning as No-Maj Jacob Kowalski, is spot on with his comic timing. Although significantly less so than the first film in the series, the comic element still leaves an impact.
Of note is George Richmond, who handles the cinematography, with sweeping yet captivating images that will have viewers firmly planted in their seats. If that’s not enough, make sure viewers are treated to stunning visuals reminiscent of the images from the Potter series, depicting vast landscapes in the magical universe. The costume design by Stuart Craig and Neil Lamont is consistent with the previous two films while maintaining a sense of unity. In fact, the duo, along with Colleen Atwood, did a fine job of portraying the 1930s era in terms of costumes, styling, and setting.
In terms of action and visual effects, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is a fun and engaging watch thanks to the seamless visual effects that make wizard battles look like well-choreographed sequences. While you might want more, rest assured that there are enough battles and wand-wielding shenanigans to sate your appetite for magic. Editing Mark Day did just as well, while there are times when a sequence could be a little shorter; The tag keeps it light without missing points.
Overall, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is a compelling watch. For Potter heads, the film is a throwback to the series in terms of graphics, action, adventure, and of course, magic. Answering questions that have sparked much debate, the film is sure to be a must-see for the wizard in you. At the box office, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, which will be released to 1500 screens, has a good chance of releasing decent numbers, with a relatively open weekend and first week and a huge following of the series in India.