Film Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” features an ensemble cast led by Johnny Depp (the “Pirates of the Carribean” films, “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything,” “Les Misérable”), Jude Law (the “Sherlock Holmes” films, “Cold Mountain”), Katherine Waterston (“Inherent Vice,” “Alien: Covenant”), Dan Fogler (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” TV’s “The Walking Dead”), Alison Sudol (TV’s “Transparent”), Ezra Miller (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin”), Zoë Kravitz (“Dope,” “Mad Max: Fury Road”), Callum Turner (“War & Peace,” “Green Room”), Claudia Kim (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “The Dark Tower”), William Nadylam (“SK1,” “Kirikou and the Sorceress”), Kevin Guthrie (“Sunshine on Leith”), Carmen Ejogo (“Selma,” “It Comes at Night”) and Poppy Corby-Tuech (TV’s “Harlots”).

At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

ReviewContains SPOILERS

I first saw this film at the cinema, full of cold, and struggling to concentrate! I came away desperate to re-read the Harry Potter books, in particular, Deathly Hallows as I feared I’d missed important parts of Dumbledore’s past – given the twist at the end of this film.

Apparently, I was not alone. I’m so pleased I refreshed my memory of the books, as the films omit elements and it was nice to be lost in the world of Hogwarts again, and today I got to re-watch Crimes of Grindelwald with everything still fresh in my memory.

There is a lot going on in this film!

It starts with Grindelwald locked in prison, 6 months on from the first film, and he’s being transferred, and you can feel the tension and know something is not right, and as the silhouette stands in the archway of the window, we see the infamous Elder Wand, and we know from Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald was in possession of this wand, and an enthralling fight and escape ensues.

Jacob is back with Queenie, which (is explained to Newt) as we last saw him having his memory obliviated in the rain. He doesn’t have bad memories to lose and therefore the spell hadn’t worked on him, but his relationship with Queenie is strained and actually quite sad.

We are in a time where Muggles and Magical people cannot marry. We are also of a time where Grindelwald not only wants to rule over Muggles, he only really wants purebloods, the time is 1927 and before World War 2, but his preaching to his followers cannot be mistaken for the build-up to this war.

Grindelwald’s ultimate aim is to kill Dumbledore, for he is the only person who could stop him, his equal. We know that Dumbledore does indeed fight Grindelwald so why is he so persistent throughout the film that he can’t fight him? The answers lie in the Mirror of Erised and his answers to Newt.

It is quite clear that these to young lads were closer than brothers, or at the very least that Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald, but we only find out at the end the blood bond we witness in the Mirror of Erised was a swear to never fight each other. And that bond was sealed in the necklace that Grindelwald wears around his neck.

This also means that Grindelwald can’t fight Dumbledore, and so he sets out to enlist the help of Credence or rather the Obscurus force within, believing the predictions of Tycho Dodonus as quoted by the Ministry of Magic relate directly to Credence “A son cruelly banished, Despair of the daughter.. “ we don’t hear the rest as Dumbledore shuts them down. But why?

Grindelwald prays on Credence’s need to know where he belongs, who his mother is, who his family is, and the film is set around Grindelwald manipulating Credence’s path to ensure he ends up coming to Grindelwald for answers.

There are many questions to be answered in the next instalment of Fantastic Beasts. What happened to Nagini for her to end up with Voldemort? How does Dumbledore break the blood curse? But most importantly – did Grindelwald lie to Credence to fuel the anger and release the Obscurus inside him – That Credence’s brother seeks to destroy him?

Grindelwald takes the baby bird that Credence has been feeding and nurturing and lets him go, and he turns into a beautiful phoenix.

“A Phoenix will come to any Dumbledore who is in dire need.

“Aurelius Dumbledore”.

Rachael Jess

Fantasy, Adventure | UK, 2018 | 12 | DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K | 18th March 2019 (UK) | Warner Bros HE | Dir. David Yates | Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo


“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray contain the following special features:
• J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed
• Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life
• Distinctly Dumbledore
• Unlocking Scene Secrets: The Return to Hogwarts
• Unlocking Scene Secrets: Newt’s Menagerie
• Unlocking Scene Secrets: Credence, Nagini and the Circus Arcanus
• Unlocking Scene Secrets: Paris and Place Cachée
• Unlocking Scene Secrets: Ministere des Affaires Magiques
• Unlocking Scene Secrets: Grindelwald’s Escape and the Ring of Fire

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” DVD contains the following special feature:
Unlocking Scene Secrets: Ministere des Affaires Magiques