I attended a free screening in exchange for my honest opinion.
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is the third installment of the FANTASTIC BEASTS series, a prequel in the Harry Potter franchise. This movie brings a few casting changes, but core characters remain the same and are played by Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, and Mads Mikkelsen. Rated PG-13–this movie is a bit darker than others in the series and it has some violence.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore focuses on Dumbledore’s past and answers things we didn’t know in the Harry Potter movies with regard to him personally and that of his family. As the movie opens, Dumbledore meets with Grindelwald, who makes it clear he intends to war with the Muggles. Dumbledore implores him to not go through with it, but Grindelwald leaves no doubt he intends for no one to stop him.
Newt has saved a fantastic young beast which is key in the story, but Grindelwald sends his followers to steal it, and they succeed. Unbeknownst to them, it has a twin. It is essential to protect this twin beast and allow it to fulfill its destiny.
Dumbledore gathers trusted friends of Wizards, Witches, and a Muggle to help him stop Grindelwald. They agree to the mission which puts them all in danger because Grindelwald’s power of anticipating everyone’s moves allows him to prevent others from stopping him, so they must use confusion and distraction to their advantage in their quest.
First, they try to prevent Grindelwald from becoming a candidate to rule the wizarding world. While they deliver a message to Vogel in Berlin, on behalf of Dumbledore, to “Do what is right, not what is easy,” he ignores the warning and proclaims all charges against Grindelwald dropped. In this otherworld of 1930s Berlin, it is reminiscent of the pre-WW II atmosphere in Germany. This eligibility enables Grindelwald to gather his followers, and he has a determination to win at all costs while also creating havoc on the lives of Muggles.
While the movie has a dark tone, it also has light comedic moments with the rescue of Newt’s brother from a cave-like prison and a quirky dance they must do to escape crawfish-like creatures.
Dumbledore must also fight for his life against Credence, whom Grindelwald controls through misleading him on his past. Credence is determined to try again throughout the movie.
The Wizards, Witches, and Muggle reconvene at Hogwarts where we learn more about Dumbledore’s past and family. As they split up to thwart Grindelwald, each is tasked with carrying a case like Newt’s, including Dumbledore, but only one has the secret fantastic beast which must make it to the election in Bhutan.
Grindelwald’s followers attempt to prevent them from getting to Bhutan, but Dumbledore and the others make their way to the election, but not all the cases do.
Throughout the movie, there are battles of wizardry, and it all culminates at the end with an epic battle of will. The overall theme of the movie is good versus evil and doing what is right, not what is easy. We also hear Dumbledore answer his heartfelt quote of “Always” in reference to a question posed to him.
The movie is mesmerizing and pulls the viewer into the story from the beginning. We journey with the characters as they learn Dumbledore’s secrets and work to prevent a massive war in the wizarding world. While key elements are resolved, and there are happy moments, we are also set up for another installment to follow.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore delivers an entertaining story in the magical fantasy world of Hogwarts and other settings around the globe. Fans will enjoy learning the secrets surrounding Dumbledore and his family, the thrill of the quest, and breaking the chain of power Grindelwald holds over Dumbledore.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore arrives in theaters on April 15, 2022.
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, and Mads Mikkelsen.
Director: David Yates
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