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Eddie Redmayne – Newt Scamander
Johnny Depp – Gellert Grindelwald
Katherine Waterston – Tina
Dan Fogler – Jacob
Alison Sudol – Queenie
Jude Law – Albus Dumbledore
Zoë Kravitz – Leta Lestrange
Ezra Miller – Credence Barebone
Callum Turner – Theseus Scamander
This movie has a brilliant opening. The story opens by introducing the main villain – dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald – as he is transferred from a MACUSA maximum security prison to London to stand trial for his crimes in Europe. Cue elaborate costumes flapping about the place as CGI kicks in to provide some dazzling visuals. Picture wise you can’t go wrong, the clarity on screen as the characters interact both inside and outside the prison carriage is pure. Deep dark colours bring out their pale faces and are boosted by misty clouds and storm weather. Added to this is the crispness of rich greens and blues when the carriage comes into contact with the ocean in pouring rain. Very convincing stuff here.
WARNING: viewers who suffer from epilepsy should be prepared for this opening scene. Of course, I’m no doctor but take this as simple advice. The screen becomes a fireball of strobe light as the prison carriage gets into difficulty, hence why sensitive people need to be aware. Even I found the fast flickering of bright light nauseating, and I can sit through a lot of things like this. Be warned!
It was such a shame however, that the opening of this movie melted away into one of the most tedious things I have sat through this year..
Redmayne begins the present day (1927) story as he always does; greeting those he meets with hesitant slumped posture and a sloppy mouth which looks as though it should have salvia dribbling out of the corner. That’s right people – one of the most lackadaisical actors is back. The main problem here seems to be Redmayne’s incredible ability to bring a scene down just by standing in front of the camera. Whereas Depp conveys stone cold emotion and manages to tell a story without even speaking during the opening, his red-haired counterpart is on a different (lower) level. I rarely enjoy the work of Depp but here he proves a point: that less is more. And that Redmayne needs a talent injection to refrain from limping through movies whilst babbling utter shite. Whether he is portraying a character of the wizarding world or not, I 80% certain other actors out there could prove more entertaining. But hey, the actor got lucky and there are some people out there who love him.
The first Fantastic Beasts movie wasn’t exactly groundbreaking but this one is actually worse. It’s a second instalment that welcomes back familiar characters and showers the viewer with weird creatures, but ultimately winds up an irritatingly political affair with various characters trying to do good – ‘by the book’. Ministers and judges. Prisoners and trials. And interfering women (Waterston) who just can’t seem to leave anything she suspects as slightly odd alone. The movie kicks off with two faces we recognise from the first; both Queenie (Sudol) and Jacob (Fogler) turn up to visit Newt and announce big news. This quickly becomes irrelevant to the plot though as the pair take an argument about their love life out into the middle of the street. Cue a few loud yells with shamed puppy-dog eyes and one of the pair buggers off in a puff of smoke. It makes for ridiculous viewing, whereby I personally (I don’t know about other viewers) couldn’t give two shits what was happening to either character – I just wanted Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to get interesting.
The only way I can describe this movie is by saying it’s loose and practically irrelevant. So it has Zoe Kravitz and Jude Law as part of the cast – big whoop. This doesn’t mean the movie as a whole is spectacular. On the contrary, these popular actors are put on screen to play out some of the most boring writing in recent cinema.
It opens with the lead male sitting a meeting with members of the Ministry of Magic in the hopes of restoring his revoked international travel freedom. It then develops into a domestic issue between two other characters. Then the plot wanders off (ironically) when Newt goes out and about to try and locate another character. Whilst all this shit is going on the viewer is gifted one or two bizarre ‘beasts’ (animal hybrids, basically) to “whoa” over who are a nice distraction from the plot, fortunately.
The graphics and animation have to be the best thing about this movie. The animals (let’s get serious – most of these beasts are not beasts at all. They’re just evolved animals going about their daily business) are animated wonderfully. And they are probably this movie’s winning element, because without them Christ knows what we’d all be watching. This entire motion picture is a waste of talent. A waste of energy. And an utter waste of time.
So there are bad and good points about this movie. Overall though it doesn’t come close to the first, taking a more political route rather than the fantasy one you saw last time. It’s as dull as a badger’s arse basically.
It has taken every last drop of juice of my enthusiasm to pen this review. I could’ve skipped Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but gave it a go.
You lucky buggers.