The Wizard World of J.K. Rowling is still loved by many. Twenty years ago, the whole world fell in love with the boy who lived. Many books and films later, the final film in the series came out in 2011. An era ended, but not for long. There were more stories to be told in this world. In 2016, we got to know Newt Scamander, a shy wizard with an affinity for animals. He left for New York where his case of magical creatures got into the wrong hands and his beasts escaped. The search for these creatures along with Newt’s new friends Tina, Queenie and the no-maj Jacob filled most of the story. Apart from that there was the mysterious Credence who turned out to be an obscurial and the film ended with the introduction of Grindelwald. That is the moment where The Crimes Of Grindelwald continues.
The film is not without its controversies. The decision to keep Johnny Depp as Grindelwald was met with resistance, because of Depp’s personal life. Apart from that, the revelation that Nagini, Voldemort’s snake, used to be an Asian woman was something that upset many people. But do these controversies distract from the story?
What is it about?
The Crimes Of Grindelwald continues six months after the events of Fantastic Beasts. Grindelwals escapes prison and manages to attract a bunch of new followers. In the meantime, Newt is back in London and is forbidden to travel after all that happened in New York. It doesn’t take very long before Newt finds a good reason to escape to Paris, along with all of the other major characters. One of the reasons is Credence. Credence is alive and wants to know who he really is. That’s the reason why he left for Paris. Unfortunately there is a groep of wizards who want him dead, while others want to get his hands on him for all the wrong reasons.
A Dark Film
It took a while for the Potter films to get darker. There were still moments filled with laughter here and there. Fantastic Beasts also had more feel good moment. In The Crimes Of Grindelwald, the light tone is over. The Wizarding World is at the dawn of a new war and we shall know that. Of course a character like Jacob has his funny moments and there are some genuinely heart-warming moments. These are more exception than rule. Quite a bit of murdering is happening left and right. Important to take note of this if you want to see the film with young children.
The Crimes of Grindelwald lasts 134 minutes, but time flies by. That is because the film is filled with multiple plotlines and characters. At times it is hard to keep up who is who and what their motivation is to do what they do. For Potter fans this will not be much of a problem, but the average viewer could easily get lost in the web of stories. It’s safe to say that The Crimes Of Grindelwald will mostly appeal to the real Potterfans. There are many references to the original films in the film. Some are very obvious while others are more hidden. That is why for real fans it might be worth watching the film multiple times. The ending will also shock many fans. It might take a while before the shock wears off.
The themes in the film are important, especially in the times we live in now. Characters have to choose a side and a lot depends on it. But perhaps we should all be more like Newt. His only criteria is “Is this the right thing to do?”
We should think about that more these days.
The Crimes of Grindelwald reunites us with old faces and introduces new. Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander is still so sweet and good and you just want to hug him at all times. Dan Fogler steals ever scene he is in as Jacob Kowalski. Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston are also back as Queenie and Tina. It’s good to see the four back on screen, even though times are more difficult now.
Jude Law was the perfect choice for Dumbledore. He has the charmisma and the smile, but also knows how to portray the character’s emotional scars. Law never mimics Michael Gambon or Richard Harris and that is a good thing. He makes the character his own. Johnny Depp does a good job as Grindelwald, although he is never truly scary. A plus is that he doesn’t overplay the character, so it doesn’t become a caricature. Depp stays humble in a way and that’s good. It gives Grindelwald that extra edge.
The Crimes of Grindelwald is a stuffed film with many characters and plots yet still it works. While the film is a clear jumping board for the next one, especially fans will be satisfied with the end result. The magic is back, even though it is darker than it was before.