What are the Crimes of Grindelwald? Perhaps This Latest Fantastic Beasts Film is One of Them?

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Fantastic Beasts Crimes of Grindwald Blu-ray Harry Potter Wizarding World

EDDIE REDMAYNE returns as the gawky and awkward (gawkward?) Newt Scamander in this second installment of the Pre-Potter series, FANTASTIC BEASTS. The unlikely hero is saddled with a quest from no less a personage than Albus Dumbledore, making his appearance in this series thanks to JUDE LAW, to track down and... I don't know, stop, protect, capture, talk to a person named Credence Barebone (EZRA MILLER, JUSTICE LEAGUE). We don't really know why until the end of the movie, which is too long in coming.

What we do know is that Newt isn't the only person looking for Credence. The recently escaped wizard Gellert Grindelwald (JOHNNY DEPP) also seeks the wayward Credence, who has aligned himself with a wizarding world escaped circus freak, Nagini (CLAUDIA KIM). If that name sounds familiar, perhaps the fact that she can turn herself into a giant snake may jog your memory. Yes, she will eventually be trapped in that form, and become a familiar to no less than Lord Voldemort (who makes a brief cameo himself in this film if you're sharp-eyed enough with Nicolas Flamel's crystal ball makes its predictions). 

Like Voldemort, Grindelwald is a figure who tries to gather like-minded wizards to his side in the same "us versus them" argument we've seen before. Among those who may go to his side are the more-than-slightly flighty Queenie Goldstein (ALISON SUDOL), who arrives on Newt's doorstep with her non-magical boyfriend, Jacob Kowalski (DAN FOGLER), in tow. Jacob is one of the rare humans to know of the wizarding world, but despite Queenie's deep desire to marry him, she cannot because she would be thrown in jail. So we know the timeline now for when the wizards and humans began to allow mixed marriages.

Newt knows Queenie because he carries a torch for her sister, Tina (KATHERINE WATERSTON), who is an auror for the government. He tracks her down in Paris, which proves to be fortunate, as Grindelwald and Credence also happen to be in the same town, so that saves a lot of world-hopping.

Things happen. More things happen. The past of Leta Lestrange (ZOE KRAVITZ) is revealed. Special effects mesmerize the audience into forgetting their confusion with the plot. And a giant Chinese dragon serves to remind everyone that the film is titled FANTASTIC BEASTS so there darned well better be one show up.

Ultimately, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is a mixture of stories we've already seen told, drowned in more subplots than the average moviegoer can keep track of. It looks pretty, but in the end all the magic we expected leaves us... disenchanted.

Among the previews on this release, you will find AQUAMAN, SHAZAM, and GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS.

3.0 / 5.0