A Conversation With Aaron and Elaine Vail
PG-13 | 2h 14min
Director: David Yates
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp
The Crimes of Grindelwald is the much-needed follow-up to the previous Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them from 2016. We were left with some questions about Grindelwald (pronounced grin-del-vauld). Who is he, really? Why is he the bad guy? There has to be more to him than just “he wants to rule the world.”
The second film in the Fantastic Beasts series, but the 10th film in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise, these two films are prequels to the popular Harry Potter series and are set in the 1920s.
We follow the main character, Newt Scamander, on his assignment given to him by the young, but still powerful and influential, Albus Dumbledore. His quest is to find the obscurial Credence Barebone (the last remaining pure-blood wizard from his family line) before the evil Grindelwald locates him. It all boils down to the age-old divide regarding pureblood supremacy. We’re taken on a wild ride and enjoy glimpses into not only the familiar British Ministry of Magic, but also the French Ministry of Magic and the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA).
Aaron: It’s kind of tough to talk about this movie without giving away some of the spoilers from the first movie. Grindelwald is trying to recruit a specific person for a specific reason. HA HA. That’s not helpful in a review. Basically, he’s trying to create a divide in the magical world to get enough followers to rid the world of muggles who don’t want the magical world to exist even though they don’t know it exists. It’s kind of confusing because he says he doesn’t want a war, nor does he want to rule the world. But it feels like that’s exactly what he wants.
Elaine: I felt the plot was overly-complicated without being all that interesting. It was just confusing for the sake of being complicated, but it lacked depth and character development. Just my opinion. However, I still found the film to be extremely entertaining … the beasts, although not the main focus of the film, truly were fantastic! The special effects are just beautiful, and the 1920s setting is so much fun!
A: I really enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. Fantastic Beasts I felt drawn out and focused more on the creatures than the characters. At least, that’s how I see it. So I thought they would follow suit and make it about the creatures. Sure, there are new ones here, but they don’t seem to overpower the plot. This movie really is more about the characters’ development. Dumbledore’s role and limited involvement are key even though he doesn’t actually do much. More so than the trailer made it look.
E: I had actually hoped to see more of the magical creatures. I think it’s kind of weird that the series title is Fantastic Beasts, but the second installment really had nothing to do with the beasts. But, what there was of them was absolutely delightful. And I feel Newt’s charm is almost exclusively based on his ability to work with and communicate with these misunderstood creatures. I hate to say it, but there is nothing else particularly fantastic about this main character besides his ability to reach these magical creatures in ways no one else in this wizarding world seems to be able to do.
A: The single issue I have with these movies after all the Harry Potter ones is that the characters in these movies aren’t as familiar with their own spells as I am. It’s insulting to have a character as skilled as an Auror not escape a situation almost instantly by disapperating (teleporting, for those not familiar with the Harry Potter world). Or having to chase something for 20 minutes when an accio spell (summon to me) would solve the issue instantly (and does later in the film). But then, they pull off these intricate spells to see where someone was two days prior in the spot they’re standing in as easily as chewing gum.
E: Yes, the inconsistencies were really annoying to me. That’s always been a struggle for me in this wizarding world … “Why didn’t they just use such-and-such spell?” It’s particularly annoying when it’s clearly ignored for no other reason than to add to the plot, which, in my mind, makes the plot pretty weak.
A: Visually, this is a gorgeous movie. They could have gone dark, but it didn’t feel that way at all. Well, most of the time. There were a couple of moments I had difficulty seeing what was going on. I can’t wait to see this at home on the 60-inch on Blu-ray.
E: Agreed. It was a stunning show to watch, and despite my disappointment with the plot, I know I will watch this many more times because I love the characters and I love the amazing magical creatures J.K. Rowling has created!
A: Overall, I was very entertained. All the action was in the right places sprinkled with character development and exposition just where it needed to be. Not a surprise because director David Yates also directed five other Harry Potter movies. Better get used to the Fantastic Beasts movies … I see that films three, four and five have been announced. Take my money now!
E: Did I love it? Yes. Was it perfect? No. Will I buy it and watch it again and again? Yep! Looking forward to it!