By: Sarah Kate Dhom, Practicum Reporter
J.K. Rowling's critically acclaimed 2016 film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was two hours of action-packed magic as Rowling brought the mystical power of wizards and beasts to the real world. Her sequel, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” is also very well done and takes place about 80 years before Harry Potter himself comes into the world.
Coming from the series of Harry Potter, a beloved franchise, the “Fantastic Beasts” movies have a lot to live up to. “Grindelwald” brims with battles, mythical creatures, eye-catching locations and tragedy. The movie unleashes a lot of great graphics that bring the magic to life and pulls the audience into the storytelling. It’s spellbinding, keeping the audience intrigued with different plot points and spells.
This second movie is centered around Newt Scamander, magizoologist who studies and rescues magical creatures. Though Scamander is not a character from the Harry Potter series, he engages with several of the original series’ characters ancestors.
Johnny Depp plays Grindelwald, an evil wizard who plans to bring dark magic into not only the wizard world but the muggle, or real world, too. Throughout the movie he recruits wizards to follow his malicious plan to take over the world.
The opening scenes create some foreshadowing of how violent the rest of the movie will be. Grindelwald escapes from prison chaotically. It’s dark and very mysterious. This alludes to how evil Grindelwald really is. This sequel to the first Fantastic Beasts movie is much darker and action packed than its predecessor.
The rest of the movie keeps up the excitement while incorporating the mythical creatures that Newt pulls out of his suitcase. They all have a purpose in helping Newt battle other wizards. Along with the fantastical creatures, the movie incorporates a handful of amusing characters to offset the dark, mysterious battles. These characters – including Newt’s beast, Pick, who is silly but helps Newt save the world – bring humor light to an otherwise dark movie.
The side characters do not derail the movie, which remains well paced and exciting. For example, the Ministry of Magic, the lawyers of the wizard world, are searching for the same person – the mysterious Credence – as Newt as they also race to help save both worlds. The Credence, relatively unknown in the wizarding world, can help stop Grindelwald. If the movies heroes can reach the Credence before he sides with Grindelwald, they will stop the evil wizard.
Harry Potter fans who are now being immersed in the “Fantastic Beasts” series may recognize similarities throughout the two series. This movie has many references to Azkaban, the prison for wizards, and the Sorcerer's Stone, a source of power for powerful wizards, which were first introduced during the Harry Potter movies.
If you love movies with action and magic, this is a movie you should go see.