November 15, 2018: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Movie Review)

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A Brief History

On November 15, 2018, we bring to you good news and bad news about screening the latest Harry Potter universe major film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  The good news is the $200 million spent on producing the film was money well invested as the movie is first class in every way.  Plus, fans of the Harry Potter magic universe will find a logical progression and development of characters and story line, undoubtedly enjoying every minute of this latest installment of the franchise.  The bad news, if you could call it that, is people not familiar with the Harry Potter universe story line will find it hard to understand what is going on, with the film not likely to succeed on a “stand alone” basis.  The movie opens across the United States November 16, 2018.

Digging Deeper

Well directed by David Yates, the JK Rowling  story is the sequel to the highly successful 2016 blockbuster Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  As always in the JK Rowling derived films, the casting is spot on, the cinematography is great, the special effects are state of the art and the movie is just an all around expertly put together film.  The mood set in this latest edition changes direction from the more light-hearted tone of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Crimes of Grindelwald presents a much more tense, dark, and serious atmosphere.  Fighting, death, and the fate of the world hang in the balance and the mood is much more somber, though there are a few lighthearted moments.  The Fantastic Beasts part of the film are indeed fantastic, and fans of the magic universe will surely find them endearing.

Theatrical release poster

In speaking with fellow audience members of the pre-screening of the film, we found that people that have read the JK Rowling books and/or have seen the previous movies were really into this latest film, while first time observers not familiar with the characters and story line were a little lost.  Of course, the high quality of the movie makes for an entertaining movie watching experience regardless of the watcher’s level of Harry Potter knowledge, especially the great special effects.  The Crimes of Grindelwald moves along at a pretty good pace, with little opportunity for the audience to get bored.  The film ends with an obvious need to segue into the follow on story to keep the plot line continuous.  The consensus was to see the film in 3D if available.

Starring Eddie Redmayne as the central character, Newt, and Johnny Depp perfectly cast as the arch villain, Gellert Grindelwald from whom the movie takes its title, the cast if filled with excellent actors, including Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore and Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange.  (Kravitz is the daughter of singer Lenny Kravitz.)  The 134 minute running time gives plenty of opportunity for each actor to get screen time.

Cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. From left to right: Eddie Redmayne, Claudia Kim, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Jude Law

What we liked: Great casting, great cinematography, great special effects (i.e., great Fantastic Beasts as well as other effects), plenty of action.  (You know we like action!)

What we were lukewarm about: Overall tone was somewhat dark, plot line convoluted and a little confusing to those not familiar with the JK Rowling/Harry Potter stories.

Harry Potter logo as used in the films

The verdict: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a big budget, blockbuster film that carries on the progression of the JK Rowling/Harry Potter story line and provides the basis for follow-on films.  It is a must see for fans of the cinematic and literary universe and does a great job of entertaining its fans.  The movie if fit for audiences of virtually all ages, save perhaps the youngest children that are easily scared by dragon-like monsters.  Though not intended as a stand alone movie for first time audiences, even those not familiar with the characters and cinematic universe will probably find the first class action, casting/acting, and special effects entertaining enough anyway.  Doing a little research into the premise of the story ahead of time would enhance the viewing experience.  We predict the film will easily double its production budget at the box office, probably triple.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is first class family entertainment that gets our recommendation for all audiences.  Enjoy!

Questions for students: Did you ever read any of the Harry Potter novels? Also, are you planning on seeing this movie?

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Rowling, JK. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (Hardcover)


List Price: $24.99 USD
New From: $19.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $14.00 USD In Stock
buy now

Rowling, JK. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay.  Arthur A. Levine Book, 2018.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay (Harry Potter) (Hardcover)


List Price: $24.99 USD
New From: $13.98 USD In Stock
Used from: $8.65 USD In Stock
buy now

The featured image in this article is a poster for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.  Because the image is poster art, a form of product packaging or service marketing, the entire image is needed to identify the product or service, properly convey the meaning and branding intended, and avoid tarnishing or misrepresenting the image.  The copy is of sufficient resolution for commentary and identification but lower resolution than the original poster. Copies made from it will be of inferior quality, unsuitable as counterfeit artwork, pirate versions or for uses that would compete with the commercial purpose of the original artwork.  The image is used for identification in the context of critical commentary of the work, product or service for which it serves as poster art. It makes a significant contribution to the user’s understanding of the article, which could not practically be conveyed by words alone.  Use for this purpose does not compete with the purposes of the original artwork, namely the creator providing graphic design services, and in turn the marketing of the promoted item.  As film poster art, the image is not replaceable by free content; any other image that shows the same artwork or poster would also be copyrighted, and any version that is not true to the original would be inadequate for identification or commentary.  This image is of a poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. It is believed that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of posters to provide critical commentary on the film, event, etc. in question or of the poster itself, not solely for illustration qualifies as fair use under the copyright law of the United States.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.