Synopsis: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) tracks Gelert Grindelwand (Mads Mikkelsen) as he attempts to rise to power. Can Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), his magical friends, and of course the lovable Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) him? . . .
The events of the film pretty much follow on from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwand (2018). Grindelwand (Mads Mikkelsen) doesn’t just want power, he wants the magical world to turn on “muggles”, and seeks to declare war. As we discovered last time, a powerful, magical, bloodpact between Grindelwand and Dumbledore (Jude Law) exists. This time, the significance of that is further explored. David Yates (who we reported on potentially directing the Fantastic Beasts franchise, some time ago) does a good job here.
The love story between the two powerful wizards is very well done. We get a great backstory, told through the now older Dumbledore (Jude Law). Ultimately, we learn why Dumbledore always seems so alone. As well as this aspect, everything else is neatly tied up by the end of the film. There was a lot going on in this film, and yet nothing was left without at least some conclusion. There were also some typically funny moments along the way. That matters here a lot, as the film is quite dark. It’s all the better for that, too.
The big thing, in terms of actors, is the recasting of Grindelwand. Mads Mikkelsen doesn’t seem quite as menacing in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore as Johnny Depp was in the previous two films. But that may be down to the story, and its requirements. What Mikkelsen does show is a more nuanced version of Grindelwand, which he does wonderfully. So, full credit to him for that, then.
The “goodies” all put in a good performance, with perhaps the wonderful Dan Fogle standing out. He’s definitely a scene stealer, as Jacob Kowalski. Newcomer to the team “Lally” Hicks (Jessica Williams) provided a good, strong impact and some good fun. That helped to make up for the lack of Katherine Waterston, as Tina Goldstein. Generally, some fine performances from a talented cast.
CGI & Effects
Once again we see exactly what’s possible with modern CGI. The whole storyworld looked truly incredible, and all of the fantastical creatures were brilliantly realised. It’s not just the visual trickery, but also the inventiveness that helps to make everythig seem so realistic. The crab-like creatures really showed as having a collective personality, and them all moving as one was a great idea. When we saw magical confrontations it looked truly impressive, and the use of ethereal lighting added a psychological element to things.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has been much anticipated. It didn’t dissapoint. Whilst it did seem that the moment had passed, for all things magical, this film has its own spells. Keeping things character driven helped to make the story being told the focus. In the end, it was love, real love, that again shone through. There were parralels with the rise of The Third Reich, in Germany last century, that seemed deliberate. If so, then the movie chose well. We’re living through truly difficult times, and indeed deeply divisive ones, too. We all need reminding of the importance of maintaining a sense of unity, tolerance and most of all love. We saw that, here.
- CGI & Effects10.0
- Incidental Music8.8