David Yates strikes again with another instalment to the Harry Potter franchise. Again, audiences
worldwide are transported back to the wizarding world with the Fantastic Beasts sequel, Fantastic
Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. With the booming success of the previous film, will it exceed our
We are back in the roaring twenties. Albeit not so roaring, and more like boring. The story is
condensed, with too many shallow subplots. All we get are lacklustre character backstories. Was the tragic backstory of Nagini (Voldemort’s snake) necessary? Many subplots were not needed, especially that of the magical circus, and the confusing cameo of a certain Hogwarts professor.
Continuity errors and plot holes galore. Nevertheless, the relationship between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and his antithesis, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is one of the film’s saving graces. Their friendship is the catalyst for the events in the books and it was translated well on the big screen.
The main cast is back, with Eddie Redmayne reprising his role as Newt Scamander, along with the
Goldstein sisters (Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol). Fantastic Beasts features new, unique
characters, especially the mysterious Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz). To lighten the darker aspects of
the story, the comedic Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) returns. The cast conveys colourful performances: Fogler as Kowalski was hilarious, however, the characters are still hollow. Credence’s search for his birth mother was clichéd, sucking out all the interesting qualities to his character.
“Most of the time, it was a disorienting mess”
The visuals prove that Fantastic Beasts still has its mojo. The set is alive, intricately designed to give a vintage ambience and so we instantly feel like we are in the world with them. Seeing the majestic castle of Hogwarts was a delight. The Parisian Diagon Alley was breath-taking, with its towering, marble buildings.
More unique beasts make their debut such as the bizarre ‘Zouwu’. Along with the ‘Kelpie’ whose underwater scene was exhilarating, reminiscent of the mermaid scene from Harry Potter. Not to mention the fan favourite: the ‘Niffler’, all of which were beautifully and intricately animated.
James Newton Howard composes the soundtrack, once again. His music is expressive, reflecting the comedic scenes through false cadences and beautiful string sequences in tearjerker moments.
Howard was the ideal choice for the film and since he has composed many other fantasy/sci-fi films (The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight Trilogies), all of which had fantastic, memorable scores. He knows how to make audiences feel at home in the wizarding world. However, this soundtrack is no match for Hedwig’s theme.
The film was a mixed bag. It had its whimsical and dismal moments. Most of the time, it was a
disorienting mess. Music, acting and visuals were all fantastic and lived up to the hype yet the magic was lost through the complicated story and long-winded character backstories. If you are a
Potterhead, this film is for you. But if you are looking for a whimsical film with an engaging and
coherent plotline, choose something else.