‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ isn’t a fantastic movie


Warner Bros. Pictures

Movie Poster of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Sachi Rasne, Staff Writer

When viewers think of fantasy movies, they think of a fun world full of magic and whimsy. While the success of Harry Potter was unprecedented, its follow up prequel series doesn’t quite capture the magic. Released in theaters on April 15, the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts series, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore follows Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. While the movie had some highlights, the plot was messy and hard to follow due to its excess of characters.

The movie follows wizards Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), his brother Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner),  Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), Eulalie “Lally” Hicks (Jessica Williams), as well as Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger) who is not a wizard, as they try to prevent Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) from taking over the world.

Redmayne excels at playing the quirky role of Newt Scamander, and Williams brings spunk and personality to the character of Lally Hicks. However, the group overall lacks chemistry, and isn’t very interesting to watch due to the fact that some of the characters had not been given any exposition, so they don’t really connect with the audience. I also felt that the character of Yusuf was pretty useless and could have been cut out of the film entirely.

Mikkelsen is excellent at taking over the role of Grindelwald. He portrays Grindelwald’s trustworthiness very well, and it is quite believable that he could influence large crowds of wizards while also being a cruel person. Mikkelsen’s charisma makes it seem like it doesn’t feel far-fetched that he could convince many wizards to turn to his side. Of course the viewer knows that Grindelwald truly hates Muggles (non-wizards) and thinks they are the lowest class of human beings.

One of the best scenes in the movie is when Newt and Theseus have to do a ‘crab dance’ to escape a monster. The scene is funny and carries some of the charm that the first movie had. More scenes like this would have improved the movie because Newt Scamander is one of the most engaging characters in the series, and his fantastic beasts are a delight to learn about.

A big problem with this movie is that it forgets the original focus of the series, which is Newt Scamander and the magical creatures that he studies. Instead, it focuses on the conflict of Grindelwald’s uprising. This results in a movie that is convoluted, and lacks the charm and whimsy that viewers come to see in the first place. Director David Yates uses a color palette that consists primarily of dull browns and grays, which makes the film visually uninteresting. The color palette at least fits the darker Grindelwald storyline but it doesn’t really work with the lighthearted Newt Scamander storyline.

I think this movie and overall series would have been better if the Grindelwald storyline and the Fantastic Beasts storyline were separated into different movies altogether. When put into one movie, they don’t mesh well and the Grindelwald storyline is boring for viewers who prefer the fantastic beasts and vice versa.

The biggest problem with this movie is that not very much happens, despite its 143 minute run time, only about half the movie actually furthers the plot. The rest is just filler where various random characters go on side quests that don’t really add to the story.

Additionally, all while focusing on one-dimensional characters and side plots, this movie disregards many of the important established plot points from previous films. Certain characters like Nagini, Queenie, and Tina, who were main characters in previous movies, only had one or two scenes with very little lines, or are written out of the movie entirely with no explanation.

All in all, I would recommend this film to anyone who liked the first two films, and are more interested in the politics of the magical world, along with anyone who enjoyed the original Harry Potter movies, or fantasy lovers in general.  But other than that, I don’t think most people would enjoy the confusing plot and questionable writing of this movie.