Harry Potter may have indeed been the chosen one, but that isn’t to say that his is the only magical tale worth telling and that every chapter is a triumph. And like a few of those less golden, more information heavy Potter tales – Order of the Phoenix comes to mind – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald seems to follow in those faltering Phoenix footsteps by being all fact and little or haphazard action.
There is no denying Rowling is an imaginative and deft storyteller and Yates equally so when it comes to Potter films, this being his sixth to date. So, it is indeed surprising that Grindelwald, even with the help of Nagini twists, Dumbledore ties and an outstanding cast, lags and lumbers through its telling. Like a dementor’s kiss, a black cloud of disenchantment surrounds the picture, from sluggish pacing and convoluted exchanges to downright depressing arcs…say it ain’t so Queenie!
This isn’t to say that the film is not salvageable, just that it’s an exercise in loyalty. Because, while it’s true that Grindelwald struggles under the strain of addressing all the elements of Rowling’s boundless storytelling and the vastness of the Wizarding World, even this buildup installment has magical moments.
A few of those magical moments lay squarely in the bonus features as Warner once again packs in production footage. Highlights of the bonus menu include A World Revealed, a short glimpse into Rowling’s creative process, her eagerness to head outside of Hogwarts and her continued collaborations with director David Yates.
The feature, Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life pairs actors Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone) and Potter alum Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) together as both geek out about all things Beasts and Potter to prove each has an affinity for the franchise well past a paycheck. The all too brief Distinctly Dumbledore feature informs on the process of finding just the right actor to play the iconic ivory-bearded wizard and how Jude Law would eventually bring in a fresher – and younger – take on the Hogwarts Headmaster. Unfortunately, the 9+ minutes of this feature rival the feature film time Law was given to flesh out Albus. I know, I know, more films are coming… but still.
Rounding out the bonus features is a multi-part Unlocking Scene Secrets look at everything from Newt’s extensive collection of creatures and the budding relationship between Credence and Nagini to explorations of the many locales of the film – Paris and Place Cachée, Hogwarts and the Ministere des Affaires Magiques – and insights into two action-packed Grindelwald scenes.
So, with a storyline that’s mostly mental, but pacing that’s definitely met a dementor, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is one-part exhilarating and three-parts excruciating.
Own Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition on March 12, or Own It Early on Digital on February 15!
Synopsis: 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.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Feature Film Run Time: 134 minutes
Extended Film Run Time: 141 minutes
Number of Discs: 2
– 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
– Deleted Scenes
Central Cast: Johnny Depp | Eddie Redmayne | Dan Fogler | Katherine Waterston | Alison Sudol | Jude Law | Ezra Miller | Zoë Kravitz | Claudia Kim
Director: David Yates
Central Writers: J.K. Rowling
DVD/Blu-ray Release: March 12, 2019
Genre: Adventure | Family | Fantasy
Supporting Cast and more Writers found HERE
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