MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” stars Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, The Trial of Chicago 7), Jude Law (Black Sea, Captain Marvel), Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange, Another Round), Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Justice League ), Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury, Good Luck Chuck), Alison Sudol (Between Us, The Last Full Measure), Callum Turner (Green Room, War & Peace [TV mini-series]), Paul Low-Hang (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Fungun [Short]), Richard Coyle (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Coupling [TV series]), Jessica Williams (The Incredible Jessica James, Booksmart), and Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice, Alien: Covenant). It is directed by David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Legend of Tarzan), with the screenplay being written by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves (The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Amazing Spider-Man ).
Albus Dumbledore (Law) gathers Newt (Redmayne) and his friends for a mission to stop Grindelwald (Mikkelsen) from achieving his master plan.
Anyone else absent-minded of this franchise? Seems like a dead horse to me. But hey, Dumbledore’s got some secrets, and it’s time to kiss and tell.
It was way back in 2018 that I saw the first sequel to “Fantastic Beasts.” My thoughts? Didn’t like it. It was a mediocre product of a series that couldn’t seem to find its footing. Prequels can be hit or miss, and I never found myself drawn to the story of Newt and this war with Grindelwald. But, when the opportunity arose to attend a free employee screening at my theater for it… I almost couldn’t pass it up. (Really, I could’ve, but I wanted to get more involved with my team). So, on opening day, and twelve-thirty at night, I embarked on a journey that would change everything… that being my sleep schedule.
“Secrets of Dumbledore” is serviceable for this weak franchise. It’s structure is solid and the performances work, but it fails to do what “Crimes of Grindelwald” tried: garner my attention. To be honest, I’m biased toward this series. I came in with no expectations or interest, and though I tried to give it a fair shot, I didn’t care all the same. I never went back to rewatch the movies before it, hindering my knowledge of what’s going on in this world, and simply strapped myself in for a ride that could easily pass for a streamer than a big budget Hollywood blockbuster.
The aesthetic is nice, with wardrobe and scenery that craft a mystical look. I always found the time period of this story to be its strongest factor, as it gave way for solid cinematography and design. Of course, this is one of the sparse compliments I can pay toward “Secrets of Dumbledore,” as the story itself doesn’t do much to keep me engaged. Hogwarts is flashed in front of me to garner some nostalgia appeal, and while it works to some degree, it didn’t do enough to save this tale from falling flat.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing starkly wrong with “Secrets of Dumbledore.” Really, what works against it is the fact it exists. Why do we have three movies? Why are they continuing to make more? I get that money is involved, but the story weight is light. The conflicts dealt with in this one don’t do much to swing the pendulum, as everything built (or thrown into chaos) with the previous flick got resolved in a snap with this. I didn’t feel on the edge of my seat, nor was I invested in the adventure, as the circumstances to prompt it are quite ludicrous. Grindelwald has to be stopped, and this movie’s predecessor created a large “all hope is lost” moment. I didn’t feel the weight of that in this, and Grindelwald’s rise to power (and subsequent downfall) was treated with haste. By the end, everything worked itself out, leaving only Grindelwald to be dealt with. And with two movies left in the contract, why do we even bother to go back after him?
“Secrets of Dumbledore” does its best. It isn’t offensive, nor takes risks. The characters are strung out with no real main figure to grapple to (even Newt doesn’t feel like the lead of this franchise), and the conflict doesn’t hold enough water to keep me coming back. I loved Jude Law as Dumbledore, and the look of this movie is beautiful, but outside of that there isn’t much attraction. Maybe because it’s a story that could’ve been told in one film, rather than five. Whatever the case, if you’re looking for improvement, this third outing offers it. Just don’t expect it to rectify the franchise. FINAL SCORE: 67%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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