Fantastic Animals: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the new film in the saga of Fantastic Animals and is written by J.K. Rowling and directed by David Yates. I have already reviewed the film, but without spoilers, I invite you to read my review because this, more than a review, will be more than anything else a way to say everything that I think is wrong with this film.
As mentioned in the review, the biggest problem is the screenplay. I do not know what’s going on on Rowling’s mind, but she seems to have completely forgotten what her work was. Although in some places she takes it back, but exactly as for The Cursed Child, she takes the weaker elements, which if they were perfect in Harry Potter, are not good here.
Many new characters are inserted in this film, and time is spent on them. The problem is that for a film that hardly lasts two hours, managing so many characters is difficult, and in fact Rowling has not succeeded at all. Not only are the new characters as useful as the wheels of the bike attached to the car, but because of their story, even the old ones are flattened, making sure that in this film almost no character is useful.
Let’s start with old ones, which is a bit quicker as an argument. Newt should be the protagonist of this chapter. Yeah, he SHOULD. Because, just like Indiana Jones, if you remove him from the movie, the storyline evolution does not change. Besides talking about Salamandra’s eyes, what does he do? He can only be considered an excuse to go to Paris, but not so much.
Queenie has become an idiot. Her character was very nice in the first film, but here she is only a goose that screams, but without any reason. Quarrel with Jacob from nothing, when she did the wrong thing. And this makes her choice seem completely senseless, because at the beginning of the film she was already mad. She acts like crazy because she has to make the wrong choice, but why does she act crazy? It’s not due to know.
Jacob is useless. It only serves for Queenie to cry. They could use a photo of Donald Trump naked. The result would have been the same.
Tina is meh. She is also very flattened, but it is certainly the one that loses less. But she was at the limit of the stereotype and Hermionism. But to this we will come later.
Credence is also a meh. He is not a very interesting character and the fact that the real story is being driven by him is bad, because, just said sincerely, after the first film nobody cares a damn about him. It could very well have been dead or ended up counting marmots on the Gran Paradiso, I do not care. I care a lot more than Newt, too bad that Rowling doesn’t.
But let’s move on to the new ones, which are much worse. Nagini is an Asian woman. If before the film I really thought it was a detail that Rowling had always hidden, now I’m absolutely sure it’s just a commercial gimmick to put a bunch of ethnicities in the film and not be labeled racist. The character is of a staggering uselessness. It does not bring anything to the story, nor does it do anything in the film that is particularly relevant if you do not make strange faces. When the camera is on her, she seemed to have just emerged from the water after twenty minutes of apnea.
Flamel was there only for Easter-egg, then? Newt’s brother says a line, enough. Ok, he gets married, he does not have a good relationship with Newt. So? What does this have to do with the evolution of the story? Yusuf neither. It’s there to mess things up a bit, but not so much because it’s black. I never believed Credence could be his brother, which is the same thought I had with Leta.
Not even Dumbledore has any real use, other than sending Newt to Paris. He is more like an Easter Egg than a real character. Grindelwald is not so interesting. It appears, says four craps and then moves on to another scene. It makes very trivial speeches. The fact that man makes war and must be exterminated to bring the Earth back to peace, damn, is was used so many times. It is one of the most disgraced in the world. The characters certainly have their charm, but not so much.
Finally there is the character that I hated the most, and then I left last, Leta Lestrange, which I believe is the grandmother of Elsa Fornero (I recommend it to Rowling as a future plot-twist). She is a hateful character. She weeps for everything. And above all, did you exchange your brother and feel guilty? All right. But does she has to break the bolls to us every time? It is not possible that Albus asks her only how she is and she whims because twenty years before an INFANT died in an accident. And she keeps whimpering about everything for the whole movie. She cries if Theseus goes away, whimper because he has chosen to marry Theseus, weeps if she wants to sacrifice. For everything.
Now, I do not say a sense of shame in behaving like a child with everyone, never, but a pragmatic feeling of having crushed the balls yes. Sorry I had to vent myself.
There are a lot of flashbacks in this movie. Put a little haphazardly. Even these totally useless for the purposes of the story. Newt is afraid of desks, Leta of sheets, I think, because having killed his brother is a remorse, not a fear, Dumbledore and Grindelwald have become Parabatai. But even there we will get there.
The film then is very fine in itself, because in addition to presenting many useless characters, it carries on five love stories in a very comical way. It’s practically a romantic comedy that ruins everything. Above all because in those few moments when you really feel a minimum of tension, everything is ruined by the usual romantic joke. For example, a four-minute scene on the salamanders when you are approaching the solution of the mystery after nothing has happened for an hour and forty is not all right. It removes the tension.
Another thing that doesn’t work, but actually it contains more, and how much Fantastic Animals has incorporated by Harry Potter. The love dynamics, first of all. In the book they are present and they are good because cruches and love are important parts of adolescence. In this film there are too many and they are all teenage and it’s not good, because the protagonists should be adults. Instead they behave like teenagers.
Even the final team’s model is Potterian. We have the stupid hero, Newt (Harry), the funny guy who plays down, Jacob (Ron), and the clever and good woman, Tina (Hermione). Twenty thousand characters and then always the usual stuff.
Also the explanations are not good. Not even in books, but there they are more acceptable. In this film, many things are said. Nagini is presented by a circus-man telling us all about her, the flashback on the death of Corvus is narrated by Leta rather than shown to the viewer, as well as the insecurities of Queenie, practically externalized by Grindelwald. Nothing is really shown in this film, it’s all told.
And then the brothers. Rowling has always been good at giving relatives to everyone to give rise to conflicts and ploy. Think about it. Ron-Percy, Ron-Charlie (whom we never see), Albus-Abeforth, Bellatrix-Narcissa, Albus-Ariana, Tina – Queenie, Newt-Theseus, Corvus-Leta, Leta-Yufus. And some kinships have absolutely appeared out of nowhere. So the final plot-twist is the most potterian thing that could ever do, surprising because it is not possible. Credence can not be the brother of Dumbledore, the dates do not come back.
I can already hear someone saying: “Oh well, it was not explained, maybe Grindelwald is lying” Leaving that I do not think Grindelwald lied, given to the phoenix, if it were really so, it would make me even more pissed off. Because it would mean that all this film was hardly driven by a mystery that did not interest anyone and then be solved with a lie. If you really get to that, it would just be a bullshit because all the fans have noticed the mistake.
But there are many mistakes in this film. For example, the presence of McGonagall, not yet born in 1927. And yes, my dear gentlemen, is accredited as Minerva, so it can only be Minerva McGonagall herself. And not only in ’27 has the age to teach at Hogwarts despite being born in ’35, but also teaches when Leta and Newt are boys. Embarrassing.
Like the blood pact for which Dumbledore and Grindelwald can not fight, but we already know they fought when Ariana died. And then there is the wand, which we have always known to be able to choose the magician. Instead, in the film Grindelwald chooses it for Credence / Aurelius.
And even on him the dates do not come back. Dumbledore’s father has been in Azkaban since 1890, and if I’m not mistaken he should have died shortly after. But, in any case, it is Azkaban, I do not think there is just the right atmosphere for making children.
There is Jacob, who remembers everything, because the beautiful memories have not been erased. But fuck you! It’s a superficial excuse. Especially if you think that in the end of the first film he does not recognize Queenie. It was enough to say that she had made him recall his memories. It was very simple.
Finally, the moment when Grindelwald reveals World War II. From what we know there are people in Harry Potter who see in the future, but they are few and obviously can not see it all, but only some parts, when the visions come. Think of the Cooman and its prophecies. Or to Cassandro. But nobody had ever spoiled the future to others thanks to a hookah. What was that stuff?
And then there are many other bullshit, which do not undermine the saga, they just make us turn up our noses. Dumbledore that becomes invisible, the Auror entering the wall. That I found one of the biggest bullshit I’ve ever seen. Practically the war at Hogwarts could end in two minutes without making that tide of dead. Voldemort enters the Hogwarts wall, kills Harry and is done. Just like Newt casting a spell with his mouth, or at the end, with that spell with his chopsticks planted on the ground. But since when? The rules of magic and the limits that each character can have have not been taken into account. Not even Voldemort is so powerful.
Not to mention the cemetery. The Lestrange, English family, have the grave in Paris, why? And then, my dear Rowling, how do they dematerialize in front of the cemetery if nobody knows where it is. It is often specified that we can only dematerialise in places we know. But this also seems to have been forgotten.
Another crap was the way Grindelwald gathers followers. Voldemort had the black mark on his left arm, which burned to warn the Dark Lord. Grindelwald covers the city with black sheets as if organizing the Nazi Pride parade. Who is? The adopted son of RuPaul? Gianni Versace’s grandfather? We did not understand this either.
And we closed with the script. But we have the direction, and with it the editing.
Yates has sucked. The initial close-ups were crazy, as well as continuous changes of forward-back shots. It seemed like a tennis match. He was very uncomfortable with the vision. As well as shots from above when they speak, both at the ministry, and the speech of Grindelwald. And they were all the same, camera moves a few centimeters, detachment on another static shot. Camera moves, detachment on static framing. It literally made headaches. Dear Yates, the ministry needed a long shot, in the arena as well but circular, and only then could the scene be seen from above, which then lowered itself. But that in a circular arena the camera moves in a straight line IS NOT GOOD! INCOMPETENT!
Not to mention the final scene. We do not understand what the fuck is, but the realization of the scenes was horrible. It looked like Dragonball. And then why do you see it from afar? What the fuck, it’s a moment of action, let me see what happens. But no. A second close, a minute away, another second close, another minute away. NAUSENATING.
Yates has exploited the spaces very badly. For example, in the crypt, Jacob and the passage appear out of nowhere. It was clear that there was a cut and that there was a scene before, but possible that Yates did not notice? And it’s not the only scene. Even in the final action scene there are parts cut and in many changes between one character and another. The changes are not very fluid and very inconvenient to the eyes.
This is what I had to say about Fantastic Animals: The Crimes of Grindelwald. If someone wants to say his thoughts is very free to do it in the comments. If you liked the review, share it and follow me, either by e-mail, or via Facebook and Twitter.