Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Movie Review
The Wizarding World is back and at its magical best. Starring Jude Law, Dan Fogler and Eddie Redmayne, the wizards (and muggles) return to the big screen in their quest to finally defeat Grindelwald.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise that started with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Set several years after the events of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, it continues to follow the adventures of Newt Scamander and his wizarding friends.
In the previous two movies, we followed Magizoologist Newt Scamander on a quest for Professor Albus Dumbledore, where the magical and muggle world became threatened by an old acquaintance, Gellert Grindelwald.
Now, caught up in the war between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), Scamander and his friends have been tasked with the mission to prevent Grindelwald from seizing control of the wizarding world.
The movie opens with a very tense encounter between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. With Grindelwald’s commitment to dominating the wizarding world and starting a war with the muggles leaves Dumbledore in a very tricky position. The future Hogwarts headmaster must stop his nemesis (and former lover) but due to a pact made decades ago, an unbreakable curse prevents the two from directly fighting each other.
That’s where magizoologist Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) comes in. Unable to stop Grindelwald alone, Dumbledore gives Newt the task of trying to stop Grindelwald from attaining power.
Now it’s no Avengers BUT Newt assembles ‘ the ragtag team’ - made up of familiar faces from the previous Fantastic Beasts movies. So alongside Newt, you have Newt’s assistant Bunty (Victoria Yeates), his brother Theseus (Callum Turner), his friend and Muggle baker Jacob (Dan Fogler), Leta Lestrange’s brother Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) and the Charms professor Eulalie “Lally” Hicks (Jessica Williams) all on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.
Granted, with every Rowling film there are lots of characters and plots to follow, but the storyline for this film is clear, ‘With or without you, I will burn down their world’ - Grindelwald warns Dumbledore at the start of the movie.
A huge addition to the movie franchise is Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald. Mads Mikkelsen takes over from Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald and instantly makes the part his own. He matches Jude Law’s energy and brings a slightly more modest Grindelwald to the movie franchise.
Another incredible addition to the cast is American magical academic, Professor Eulalie "Lally" Hicks, played by Jessica Williams.
A character we particularly love in this franchise is Jacob Kowalski. Dan Fogler returns to play the infamous muggle that just can’t stay away from the Wizarding World. Jacob is more of a central figure in this movie than ever before as he attempts to help his friends save the world from Grindelwald. He even gets given a wand by Dumbledore himself! Jealous!
Despite being called Fantastic Beasts, we felt like the magical creatures didn’t get the screen time they deserved. Fan favourites, Teddy and Pickett of course joined Newt on his quest, but only one other creature is really explored and given screen time. Yes, this creature is important to the storyline, but it certainly feels like the creatures were pushed to the side a little.
Although, the magical creatures are carefully constructed and the world within Newt’s briefcase remains dazzling.
Despite there being multiple appearances from a few magical creatures (new and old), this movie revolves around the narrative of Dumbledore and we even get a feature from Albus’s brother, Aberforth.
We enjoyed learning more about the Secrets of Dumbledore (and not just about Albus) and with the subtle references to the Harry Potter franchise, it made us feel like we were a part of the magical world again.
One of the most important elements of this movie is the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
In this movie, Dumbledore is forced to come to terms with his past and tries to redeem himself from his mistakes. The dynamic between Law and Mikkelsen is tense and dramatic yet somewhat personal and extremely complex to say the least.
In the previous movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald, it was revealed in a cliff-hanger that Credence was a long-lost member of the Dumbledore family. We were hoping that in this movie the story would be explored further, however the story of Credence kind of took a back seat in this one. We do get some answers and does offer a satisfactory conclusion, but for us it didn’t carry enough weight and left us wanting to know more and what happens next. Maybe in the next movie?
Another side to the movie that we really enjoyed was the action sequences. For us, that’s where the big difference between the Harry Potter movies and the Fantastic Beasts movies is. We’re not watching kids in high school casting spells in the potion room, we’re watching real magical battles and we’re so here for it! Only downside is that we wish there were more!
And the movie isn’t all serious, one of our favourite parts of the movie has got to be Newt and Theseus leading an array of crustaceans in a ‘crab rave dance’ - all will become clear when you watch the movie!
Compared to the two previous Fantastic Beasts movies, The Secrets of Dumbledore definitely feels more like a Harry Potter film than a Fantastic Beasts one.
If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan like us then you will love the scenes that are set in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. From the familiar sets to the use of Hedwig’s Theme by composer John Williams, we captured a tiny dose of that HP magic and certainly left us wanting more.
It’s a great watch for fans of the Wizarding World. It takes a closer look at some parts of the story that have been overlooked previously, but doesn’t quite capture the magic we know that David Yates can deliver.
This film series may have its flaws, but it also carries great importance in many communities and has really shown its capability to transport people into the wizarding world that they have been a part of and loved for so long.
No, it’s not another Harry Potter movie and no, it doesn’t include references to Harry and the Wizarding World that he is a part of because the Fantastic Beasts franchise is BEFORE Harry even existed, and we have to remind ourselves of this. However, we did see some sights of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts and our HP hearts squealed into our popcorn!
The Fantastic Beasts movie franchise has proven itself to not be the next “Harry Potter” and as we all know that it’s practically an impossible standard to live up to. Fantastic Beasts is its own movie series in its own right although we do watch them in hope of catching a glimpse of the original magic we first saw in the Harry Potter movies.
Nevertheless, this movie still has magic.
If you liked Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you will probably like The Secrets of Dumbledore because this movie continues to expand on the beloved wizarding world that we all know and love alongside expressing a lot of heart through its main characters.
All in all, The Secrets of Dumbledore is a huge step up from the The Crimes of Grindelwald and we recommend watching if you need a Wizarding World fix.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is out in cinemas now!
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