Friday 20 May 2022

REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore - Starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law and Mads Mikkelsen

Review by Jon Donnis
I have never been a fan of the Harry Potter films, so not sure why I am reviewing what I believe is the 11th film in the J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World series, but here we are.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third of a trilogy of films, I don't think I saw the first 2, I may have but I see so many films, I have probably forgotten them.

In the time before the events of the Harry Potter films, there is another dark wizard who wants to take over. Isn't there always. Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) gathers an army around him and it's up to magic zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to stop him. Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) can no longer hold back and must intervene against Grindelwald's crimes, and a man he once called his friend. Together with a group of wizards and a brave Muggle, they go to war against the bad guy.

Now if you think this all sounds familiar, that is because it is, it is basically the same story as the previous films from what I can gather, but then if a franchise is making money, why not ring it dry.

The biggest problem with this film is that if you are not deeply familiar with the books and previous films, you will find it rather hard to know what the hell is going on, who is who, and what is what. I hear the name Scamander and I first think of an old ancient Greek God, and then I think of the bad guy from one of the old James Bond films!

Once the first part of the film is finished with, which I had no idea what was going on, things picked up when Newt gathered a group of people, and talked about them having to take on Grindelwald who has the ability to see the future, so they need to fight him using lots of ideas at the same time, as to create chaos. So, I understand this bit, group of good guys teaming up to take on the bad guy.

Grindelwald is also building up his power and hoping to rig an election, so he can become the wizarding-world leader, a bit like Joe Biden in the 2020 election, I guess.

There are fantastical creatures, (beasts), my favourite being a little stick insect thingy. There are stunning visual effects, CGI etc. And the acting is all of a level you would expect from the actors involved.

I have to be brutally honest, I struggled with this film, I found myself totally lost at points and wishing I had a Harry Potter dictionary on me to tell me what everything meant. As such it was hard for me to take in everything the film was trying to deliver. Although I could follow the main story, which is easy enough, it is all the added things that seemingly make these films so popular, and if you have not at the very least seen the first two films in this trilogy, you may find yourself lost as I did.

The Good
CGI etc is all brilliant, this is a big budget film and you can tell. The characters are likeable if confusing at times, and the basic story is understandable if totally unoriginal.

The Bad
You really need to be a fan of the franchise to get the most out of the film. This is not a film for newbies to the franchise.

This film was not for me, it was a bit like turning on a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, in the final quarter, and trying to understand what is going on when you have never seen a game of American Football in your life.

I am not gonna score the film, as it wouldn't be fair. I will say that if you are a fan of the franchise, go watch it I am sure you will love it.
If you are not a fan of the franchise, don't waste your time.