(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 28
2.5 out of 5 🐙
Look, I know all the terrible stuff happening around J.K. Rowling and her comments on trans people. I do not agree with her at all. But I do want to state that my review on this film will not consider her personal and cruel beliefs.
I was excited when the Fantastic Beasts prequel franchise started because I love the Harry Potter universe. I still love the Harry Potter universe. The original 8 films were quite good overall. They got better with each installment and I was a fan of even the lesser lights. I’m just that big a fan. I thought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a fun movie. It wasn’t very memorable and it’s always a pleasure to watch Eddie Redmayne work. I felt it had potential. So when this movie was released, I was psyched. Even the title excited me. It was a dark and menacing title. I really wanted to know what these spectacular crimes were.
But his crimes were nothing new. Voldemort and the Slytherin gang were all about pure blood purity. I had heard this record before. They even lifted a trope completely from Star Wars so it’s nice they weren’t stealing from only their own source franchise. And the crimes Grindenwald committed felt like retreads of the original Harry Potter franchise. I wanted to see something bizarre and twisted and truly evil. But I didn’t. Nothing I saw made me cringe or even raise an eyebrow. The long and boring and overly complicated exposition surrounding Corvis Lestrange did make me almost close my eyes, though.
There were things I liked a lot. In particular the menagerie of critters, particularly the Baby Nifflers (look like platypuses), Kelpie the kelp camouflage sea creature, and the Zouwu (Chinese Dragon Cat), were fun and new, unlike Grindenwald’s supposedly shocking crimes. Anti-xenophobic and anti-bigoted subplots such as the travel ban and the muggle-pure bred marriage (the Potter Universe version of interracial love) were transparent allegories criticizing, and rightly so, the current American administration. Nagini’s and Nicolas Flamel’s origin stories were fun.
It had it’s fun parts and moments but it was not a complete movie. It ended switching the focus from the title character to someone completely different which makes no damn sense at all. I guess one good reason they switched the focus away from Grindenwald was because Johnny Depp portrayed him in such a lacklustre and boring manner that there was little reason to follow him. It was also such a naked setup for the third installment in the franchise that it felt like this movie ended prematurely. The creative powers behind this prequel franchise need to look to the original franchise and learn from it. This has not left me excited for the next chapter.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)