Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) | Film Review

Title: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: J. K. Rowling
Based on: Characters by J. K. Rowling
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Toby Regbo, Jamie Campbell Bower, Carmen Ejogo, Joshua Shea, and Thea Lamb
Music by: James Newton Howard
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Running Time: 134 minutes
Language: English
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of fantasy action
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Heyday Films
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore 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.

I am a Potterhead, there’s no denying in that and it is not a secret either. Harry Potter books and films are the ones that made me fall in love with books and films basically. Especially in the fantasy genre. J. K. Rowling is a genius and she is kind of my role model in writing. Speaking of role model in writing, I think Stan Lee is also a legend. I know this has nothing to do with the post, but let’s put our heads down for a moment to memorise and thank him. May he rest in peace. What he has done and given to the world will never be forgotten.

Let’s get back to the topic. I know I have said so much of saying one of the most waited films throughout this year. From Avengers: Infinity War (2018) to Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) to Christopher Robin (2018) and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018). However, I must admit, of all the most awaited films, the one that is on top of my list is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. As I have said before, I am a Potterhead. I really love the Wizarding World. Of all the film universe, Wizarding World is my favourite one. I just love magic. Who doesn’t want to go to Hogwarts? I mean, duh? It’s like the coolest school ever. You can imagine how excited I am when I saw Hogwarts in the teaser trailer of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. I think this film is the beginning of Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter connection.

I know Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald got mixed reviews. Some people said the film is great. It’s excellent and just what you need. Some said the film was just too complicated. There is so much going on in the film that the audiences got no time to settle down and digest the story. They introduced too many characters at once. Be that as it may, I personally think the film was fantastic—like its title. It’s just awesome. It got darker and more complicated, yes, but that is what I think made the film greater and more awesome.

Like its name, the film still gives us a look at many new Fantastic Beasts. The Nifflers have expanded to baby Nifflers as well. They are still very much adorable. And then there is also a Zouwu, a powerful magical creature native in China. It is basically a gigantic elephant-sized cat. I think this is everyone’s new favourite Fantastic Beast because not only it has somehow a very adorable face, but also great strength and some cute attitude. I still prefer Thunderbird, though. It is way cooler. It is a shame they did not put it in again. But then again, I know they were trying to introduce more Fantastic Beasts. Besides, I don’t mind to have a Zouwu myself. Pickett, Newt’s Bowtruckle, has also come back in the film. I am sure many fans would be excited. I too don’t mind to have a Bowtruckle myself when it clearly knows how to open every key and sneaks up everywhere.

Eddie Redmayne is back again as Newt Scamander. It’s no doubt that Eddie Redmayne will deliver a great performance in portraying the quirky Newt Scamander. He is such a great actor and he becomes one of my favourite actors for a reason. Eddie Redmayne managed to pull off the quirky side of Newt and also showed us that Newt Scamander is a great wizard, a great magizoologist, and a great friend. Yes, he is weird in some sort of way, but you can’t deny the fact that Newt Scamander is smart. He knew how to do magic properly and he knows things that most common wizard and witches don’t know about. By now, Newt Scamander has become one of my favourite characters in the Wizarding World. Eddie Redmayne’s totality in playing a character is something that we should not have doubt anymore. It’s no wonder that he is an Oscar-winning actor.

“Do you know why I admire you, Newt? You do not seek power. You simply ask, ‘Is a thing… right?'” – Albus Dumbledore

Besides Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson and Alison Sudol are also back to reprise their previous role as Tina and Queenie Goldstein. After what happened at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), people have been wondering how they would come back with Newt Scamander alongside with Jacob Kowalski, who happens to also come back again and still played by Dan Fogler. I think especially Jacob Kowalski. After all, he is a Muggle—a No-Maj in America. How can a Muggle be trapped in the Wizarding World conflict? And how is his love story with Queenie Goldstein continue? That was everyone’s question and all of that questions will be answered in the film. It gets even more exciting, I must say.

What is more exciting from this film is the fact that we will see the young Dumbledore, played by the one and only Jude Law. Dumbledore has been a great character in the Harry Potter world. He is known as the greatest wizard of all time. Feared by many dark wizards, even the Ministry of Magic. He is the greatest and the most famous Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is really the greatest wizard of all time. Before being the headmaster, Professor Dumbledore is also a teacher. This time, he is the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He is still full of riddle and mystery. I can’t say I like his character very much but I have to say that Jude Law did play this legendary character really well. I will not compare him with Michael Gambon or the late Richard Harris, because Jude Law is playing the young version of Dumbledore. The character has not become the character that we have all known so well in Harry Potter. So it doesn’t make sense if we compare the three actors.

It seems like so many people are not happy with the fact that Johnny Depp is back again as Gellert Grindelwald. I am not surprised by that. The allegations towards Johnny Depp has been so widely talked and create crowds’ attention. I personally do not care about it. As I have said before about Tom Cruise, everyone has their own private life and I don’t think I should be the judge of it. No matter what happened in Johnny Depp’s personal life, when it comes to working, Johnny Depp is the master. He really is one of the most versatile actors, having played different characters with different looks. It is known that Johnny Depp will always perform with all kinds of looks. No two characters of him looked the same. From Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean series to Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2012). From Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows (2012) to Frank Tupelo in The Tourist (2010). From Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) to Edward Ratchett in Murder on the Orient Express (2017). Johnny Depp has done so many great performances with so many different kinds of looks. No matter what people said, Johnny Depp is still one of my favourite actors of all time.

As the antagonist Gellert Grindelwald, Johnny Depp still did a great performance. He has his own charm, you know. I do not judge someone’s work life based on his personal life. When the actor is good, then he is good. Just because his personal life is not what you are hoping for, doesn’t mean that we should expect less from his work. Johnny Depp is already 55 years old but his performance as an actor is still refreshing and awesome.

“You’re too good, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love.” – Leta Lestrange

We have seen Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange in the prequel film and all the audiences have been waiting to see what’s the story behind Newt Scamander and Leta Lestrange. Plus it is a Lestrange name and all Pottermore know about that family. At least the most infamous who has been the most loyal supporter of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. Yes, I am talking about Bellatrix Lestrange. Everyone has been wondering what is Leta Lestrange’s relationship with Bellatrix. More importantly, what is the relationship between Newt and Leta? To be honest, I am not a fan of Zoë Kravitz but I must say, she is rather good at playing Leta Lestrange. She got the poise, the elegance, and the charm. Although she is an American, Zoë Kravitz nailed the British accent. Well, at least according to me, she got it. English is not my native language so I cannot say what is the British accent. But as far as I heard it and known about British accent—and quite fancy about it, I must say—Zoë Kravitz has managed a perfect British accent. And I say, well done to her.

The character of Credence is also back again and still portrait by Ezra Miller. In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald, his true identity will be discussed thoroughly, but I have to say that the ending is kind of confusing, really. The ending surely is quite hanging and left a lot of questions to the audiences’ mind. It is a plot twist but I don’t know if it is a good plot twist or not so good one. No matter, Ezra Miller still played the role of Credence really good. Credence’s character is different from Ezra Miller’s character in Justice League (2017). In Justice League, the character is more cheerful and funnier like Ezra Miller’s in real life, while Credence is quieter. Ezra Miller did his job really good. I actually am happy that he cut his hair this time.

Besides Dumbledore, the audiences have been made shocked by the revealing of a character in the final trailer. Yes, I am talking about Nagini, played by Claudia Kim. Surprisingly, Nagini is a Maledictus, a female individual who was a carrier of a blood curse that would eventually lead her to turn into a beast permanently. Nagini is said trapped in the jungles of Indonesia. As an Indonesian, I am quite surprised by the mention of my country. Although there are many controversies about the origin of Nagini and the choice of the actress, I think it is very smart of J. K. Rowling to create the origin of Nagini. I am very sure she did not just make it out of nowhere. She has done a lot of research about it. Despite what people said about the choice of Claudia Kim, I think she did great as Nagini in this film.

Seriously, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has brought many characters that reminded us of Harry Potter films. From Dumbledore to Nagini to Nicholas Flamel. It is very much exciting to see. I can’t wait who J. K. Rowling will bring to the next three films. I am really excited!

Now, let’s talk about the story of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Written and co-produced by J. K. Rowling herself, we can expect something extraordinary from the film. This film offers juicy storylines and multilayers of mysteries. However, the multilayers stories made the film became more complicated. Too many characters were introduced but their screening time was too minor that we don’t actually understand and know their roles. It’s different when I watched Harry Potter films because I knew the story from the books in details. I just wish J. K. Rowling will make a novel about it because, to be honest, I kind of confused with some parts. Up to this point, there are still so many questions need to be answered. There are so many things that I do not understand. The story is not finished yet, so I am still waiting for the upcoming three films.

I don’t think this franchise is about Fantastic Beasts anymore. Yes, they still show us many new Fantastic Beasts, but it is more complicated than that. Somehow Fantastic Beasts series has become more than just about magical beings. It’s more like Dumbledore and Grindelwald story. Or at least how the first great war in the Wizarding World begun. Thus the name of the franchise can be confusing. I am not protesting because I actually love the name. But I am still figuring out and correlating between the storyline and the franchise name.

In this film, Newt has been banned from travelling internationally because of what happened in New York. At the same time, Grindelwald has escaped and tried to recruit more followers. The fighting has begun. Grindelwald is different from Voldemort. Voldemort created fear and killed everyone, but Grindelwald approached things differently. He chose to win people’s hearts and minds instead of annihilating them. Perhaps that’s what made Grindelwald more frightening.

Despite the complexities of the story and so many people seemed to not like it, I really like Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald very much. I think this is the best Fantastic Beasts film thus far. Yeah, I know there are only two for now, so that is why I said thus far. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is more simple and more laughable, while Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has darker stories and more complicated. I love them in different sort of ways.

Talking about the Wizarding World cannot be separated from CGI. This world needs a lot of CGI effect. As always, the CGI doesn’t disappoint me. Everything is edited perfectly and made all the magic looks very real. Because the editors have done their job beautifully, the audiences can really enjoy the film very much without being disturbed by the fact that everything is actually not real. The edit was done so smoothly that we all will believe that the magic is real, that the Wizarding World is indeed a real world. The actors and the actresses also took major parts in it as well. When they were shooting, they couldn’t really know what they were facing but they still did it like it was a real thing and therefore the result was astonishingly great. The visual effect is just stunning.

Still sets in the 1920s, this time the Wizarding World was brought to Paris. It was New York last time and now we got to see the 1920s Paris. Since the beginning, they said that all the five films of Fantastic Beasts will take in different cities. Therefore, I am very much excited to see what city they will come up next. Paris in the 1920s looks very beautiful. The filmmakers really did a great job in building the city. It looks beautiful and awesome.

Not only did we see the 1920s Paris, but they also brought us back to Hogwarts School. It’s been a while since I last saw the castle. Unless you count the time where I rewatch Harry Potter films. The school looks beautiful and stunning as always. The students’ uniform is different. They said it is more Medieval.  prefer Harry Potter’s uniform, to be honest. However, it is still amazing to see and feeling nostalgic. I always want to go to Hogwarts. If a real Hogwarts can’t, at least I wish I can visit Universal Studio in Osaka or Warner Bros. Studio in London.

After the first film showed us the beautiful place in Newt Scamander’s briefcase, now we got the chance to see his house in London. Surely you can’t expect Newt to put all of his pets in his briefcase, right? Newt must have a place in his house to take care of all of his Fantastic Beasts. I have to say, his house looks very much amazing. From the outside, it is like any other normal Victorian house, even inside. However, when you go to the basement, that’s where things got amazing. Let’s just say it’s the combination of a zoo and an operating place for animals. It is a place suitable for animals raising—or in Newt’s case, beasts raising.

What I also like about old vintage films is the costume. I know it ridiculous to see that the clothes in the 1920s seemed to look better than the 1990s during Harry Potter time. Well, what can I say, although Harry Potter films were set after Fantastic Beasts eras, the films themselves were taken before. Therefore, Fantastic Beasts franchise will have better costumes. Not more modern, just better looking in some sort of ways. The costumes are classic and vintage and they look very beautiful. It’s not surprising that the designer won an Oscar for the first film. Seriously, all the clothes in the film are so so good and so beautiful. It really suits the era very much.

The poster of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald are also amazing. Every single aspect of the poster is thought thoroughly and perfectly. Especially the character posters. It’s just amazing how they managed to put attention to every single detail of the poster. It is bloody awesome and smart, I must say.

All in all, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has gotten mixed reviews from the audiences and critics. Some dislike it, some love it very much. I think I joined the love group because I really think that this film is awesome. I know the story is very complicated. So many layers, so many characters, so many plots, so many conflicts, yet not so much time to tell. Nevertheless, I like the overall story. I love the visual effects. I am amazed by the way all the actors and actresses portrayed their characters flawlessly. They nailed their job perfectly. I even love the soundtrack songs. They knew how to combine the scenes and the background music so everything is syncronised perfectly and the audiences were able to enjoy the film very much. Above all, I love the magic and the Fantastic Beasts.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald 9.5 out of 10 stars.

😘  Toodle-oo,

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