Harry Potter, Dumbledore, Voldemort are renowned names. The “Harry Potter” series was an extraordinary international success. Attending the magical Hogwarts has been in the dreams and desires of millions of kids. The books have sold millions of copies. The films were adored by crowds and critics. The powerful, successful money-making streak the franchise was on was not to be stopped. Hollywood is an industry, and like any other, it is driven by money. A spin-off was made precisely for this purpose. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was released in 2016. Set 65 years before the events of the “Harry Potter” series, the film tells the story of wizard and zoologist for magical creatures, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Directed by David Yates, the film was quite successful. With a 74 percent fresh certified rating on the site aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and an $812 million box office earning on a $200 million budget, the film was definitely a quality product and an intelligent investment. This first successful attempt encouraged and pushed production to follow with another money making sequel. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” was released worldwide Nov. 16, 2018.
The film starts right after the events of the first film. It presents a new dangerous villain: Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). Grindelwald believes wizards must rule over muggles. His goal is a reign of terror, with him as its only unquestionable ruler. Incredibly charismatic and powerful, he poses a huge threat. Credence (Ezra Miller), a character from the first installment of this series, is seen by Grindelwald as a powerful tool for his cause. Credence is in danger, and he must be found. Dumbledore (Jude Law) believes Newt is the right one for this task.
“Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald,” despite having a promising plot, miserably flopped and the critics hated it. A famous, talented cast accompanied by spectacular CGI special effects is not enough to produce a quality film that is enjoyable for audiences worldwide and almost unanimously appreciated by critics. Hollywood films are often criticized for having no other purpose but to entertain their viewers. However, the ability to entertain successfully is not a common one. It should be appreciated and recognized.
“Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald,” with its celebrity cast (Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Eddie Redmayne), huge budget and CGI wonders is undeniably a Hollywood film. However, sadly, it is not entertaining. A lack of character development, a frequent use of words as opposed to visual imagery and a nonexistent climax are the easily identifiable causes. Newt, the main character of the two films, is lost among the many characters in this second film. The relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald is barely treated with the depth it should have been. The history, the backstory, is explained in two long final monologues, hard to follow and to understand. The non-existing climax could merely be a consequence of this film being a prelude to the third and final installment of this series. The same can be said for the lack of depth in the characterization of Newt and in presenting the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Furthemore, the confusing explanation at the end could also be easily fixed in the following film. If that were to be the case, there is hope for better character development and a more visual and clear explanation of the backstory in the third and final film. Nevertheless, the second installment would still remain a failure. Thankfully, despite the audience being displeased, it grossed $500 million on a budget of $200 million; a third film will definitely be made. For those curious and hopeful fans, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” might have not been a success, but the series as a whole, with its first successful film, has still a chance to amaze and satisfy critics and crowds worldwide.
Jacqueline Pantano can be contacted at