Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, the latest instalment of the Harry Potter prequel series, is set to land in cinemas later this week – but is this a return to form for the Wizarding World franchise?
In Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, Professor Albus Dumbledore knows the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts magizoologist Newt Scamander to lead an intrepid team of wizards and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.
While Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore may not reach the heights of the best Harry Potter movies, the film is undoubtedly a magical return to the Wizarding World. Director David Yates, along with screenwriters J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, has crafted a spectacular Wizarding World adventure – filled with all the wonder and whimsy that we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, aside from Jude Law’s scruffy crumb-catcher of a beard, is the way in which David Yates has made the beasts integral to the narrative. More than any of the previous Fantastic Beasts movies, the beasts feel just as important as any of the human characters, and every beast we see in the film has a role to play.
The Wizarding World franchise has given us some of the most entertaining and visually spectacular action sequences in cinematic history, and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is no exception. What the first two Fantastic Beasts movies have lacked in action, The Secrets Of Dumbledore more than makes up for with some of the franchise’s best action to date. This film is packed with some truly exceptional and unique action sequences, all of which will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Fantastic Beasts movies have always felt darker and more grounded than the Harry Potter films, especially the earlier instalments, but The Secrets Of Dumbledore does arguably the best job of balancing the darker and more serious tone with the light, whimsical elements of the franchise. David Yates understands here that audiences aren’t interested in a dark and gritty Wizarding World movie, and the director injects a great amount of humour and fun into the film. The Secrets Of Dumbledore has more than a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, which is something that was noticeably missing in the previous instalment of the franchise.
On a visual level, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is one of the more impressive blockbusters in recent memory. From the visual effects to the period setting, wizarding battles and beyond, it’s clear that a lot of time, care and money has been spent on making sure that this movie looks as breathtaking as it does on the big screen. The same can be said about James Newton Howard’s beautiful score, which I’m sure fans of both the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies will fall in love with.
Jude Law continues to impress with his portrayal of young Albus Dumbledore, who is given much more to do this time around, offering a standout performance that feels refreshing yet familiar to the Dumbledore we know and love. There are flickers of the old Dumbledore here and there, but Law does a fantastic job of portraying a version of the character that doesn’t have everything figured out.
Eddie Redmayne delivers yet another standout performance as the Wizarding Worlds foremost (and only) Magizoologist, Newt Scamander. If you were worried that the tighter focus on Jude Law’s Dumbledore meant less time with Newt, you can rest easy knowing that the character is still up front and centre for the third Fantastic Beasts adventure. While Redmayne is certainly required to share more of the spotlight this time arount, the actor delivers what is easily his best performance as the character to date.
Many fans will be heading into Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore unsure of what to expect from Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Gellert Grindelwald, but I’m here to report that you’ve got nothing to worry about. Mikkelsen offers a chilling performance as the villainous wizard, managing to switch from immense vulnerability to uncontrollable hatred at the drop of a dime. While it would be interesting to see where Johnny Depp would have taken the character here, Mikkelsen does a wonderful job of making the character his own and putting a unique stamp on the villain.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore has one of the most impressive casts in recent memory, so it would be criminal not to give the supporting cast the credit they deserve. Dan Fogler is unsurprisingly great as Jacob Kowalski, who continues to be a highlight of the Fantastic Beasts series. Jessica Williams delivers an outrageously fun performance as Professor Lally Hicks, with the actress stealing almost every scene that her character appears in. Callum Turner isn’t given a great deal to do as Newt’s brother Theseus, but the actor has some great comedic moments, and his scenes with Eddie Redmayne are particularly impactful. Ezra Miller is given far less to do here than in previous instalments, but their character is taken in a very interesting direction that will undoubtedly shock a lot of fans.
The only thing stopping Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore from being a perfect Wizarding World movie is the runtime, which can be felt at certain points throughout the movie. It should also be noted, without going into spoiler territory, that the film takes the time to introduce certain characters and storylines and doesn’t take the time to flesh them out or give them any substantial motivations. Indeed there are some characters, who take up a surprising amount of screen time, that could have been cut out of the film entirely without impacting the overall plot in the slightest.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore isn’t just the best Fantastic Beasts movie so far, it’s one of the strongest Wizarding World films overall. Director David Yates has delivered an outrageously fun Wizarding World adventure, which does a wonderful job of capturing the wonder and magic of the Harry Potter franchise. Overall, The Secrets Of Dumbledore is an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying Wizarding World adventure, that leaves the franchise stronger than it’s been in years.
About Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore
Directed By: David Yates
Starring: Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne, Mads Mikkelsen, Dan Fogler, Jessica Williams, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner Alison Sudol, William Nadylam
Plot: Professor Albus Dumbledore knows the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts magizoologist Newt Scamander to lead an intrepid team of wizards and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.
We would like to thank Warner Bros. Pictures for inviting us to the Multimedia screening of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore.