FILM REVIEW: FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (12A)
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: EDDIE REDMAYNE, JOHNNY DEPP, KATHERINE WATERSTON, JUDE LAW, ALISON SUDOL, DAN FOGLER, EZRA MILLER, ZOE KRAVITZ, CALLUM TURNER, CLAUDIA KIM & CARMEN EJOGO
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 14 MINS
DIRECTOR: DAVID YATES
This sequel to JK Rowling’s spin-off prequel series has unfairly received some negative reviews – as it’s still a beastly follow-up with plenty to enjoy.
For the sum of its parts it probably still comes towards the lower end of the Harry Potter ‘Wizarding World’ pyramid if ranking all of the movies in order – but that’s probably due to it being the filler between the start and the end.
If anyone’s looking for a ‘meaty’ steak they’d probably be a tad disappointed, but there’s plenty of chips to be eaten here – basically saying there’s lots of ideas on the plate which struggles to coherently come together for one truly enjoyable meal.
Eddie Redmayne’s self-proclaimed ‘magizoologist’ Newt Scamander returns in an effort to thwart the plans of powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who has escaped custody since being captured at the end of the first film.
Jude Law’s younger Albus Dumbledore enlists the help of his former student Scamander – after Newt initially turns down the chance to re-join the British Ministry under the guidance of his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) – after Grindelwald sets about gathering followers to help raise wizards and witches to rule over non-magical beings and targets Paris to try and locate the surviving Credence Barebone (Ezra ‘The Flash’ Miller), the disturbed Obscurus-wielding youngster who could be Grindelwald’s key to victory.
Along the way Newt is aided by the popular trio from the original – Katherine Waterston’s (Alien: Covenant) Tina Goldstein, Alison Sudol’s Queenie and Dan Fogler’s Jacob – as well as newcomer Leta LeStrange (The Maze Runner’s Zoe Kravitz), as the action switches between the French capital, London and the States, with the odd fantastical beast thrown in for good measure.
And while the storyline has a lot of intertwining plots – with plenty going on for youngsters to keep up with if not completely familiar with the material – it does just about enough to keep on course for a noteworthy last third.
Throw in some ‘fanboy’ Harry Potter lore with the introduction of Hogwarts and Law’s likeable Dumbledore to the series, and Crimes comes together satisfactorily to set everything up for what should be a thrilling finale to the trilogy.
Beasts is maybe to Harry Potter what The Hobbit was to The Lord of the Rings, but it would be a crime to listen to a lot of the negative reviews and not join the amiable Redmayne and co on another Rowling journey.
By Gavin Miller