JK Rowling has headed the means of movie maker. Keeping aside the numerous similarities of their Harry Potter and Star Wars series, both Lucas maker now Rowling has displayed an annoying tendency to not let their creations be. It began with Lucas tinkering with the visual effects of his old Star Wars movies, and before you recognize it, he was sterilization mythologies and erasing the existence of entire characters. His name among fans - identical ones who once adored him - became thus venomous that he was ‘forced’ to sell the Star Wars franchise to Disney.
With Rowling, the changing cultural climate has informed her poor decision. Her Harry Potter books have a stunning lack of diversity - sure enough too off-brand for an author as liberal-minded as JK Rowling. But in her panic to retroactively ‘correct’ her (in my opinion) excellent series of books, she has fallen into a lure of her own creating, as if knocked out by a Confundus charm cast by Ron Weasley’s spello-taped wand.
Watch the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailer here
She makes several supererogatory revelations in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and that I suspect nearly all of them are going to be staggeringly annoying to rock-ribbed fans. Indeed, once the film force the ultimate rabbit out of its hat - in primarily its final scene - I released a groan of disbelief and despair.
Virtually every character who is introduced by name in the film is that the root of somebody from the Potter series, suggesting maybe that the wizarding community might have a coupling issue. It conjointly betrays a rather self-loving and hesitant approach to inscribing this new story - Rowling appears to be thus convinced of the greatness of her own world, and then scared of messing it up, that she unknowingly makes pandering choices.
Did you care if Albus Dumbledore was gay or straight? Most likely not. However now that you simply apprehend he's gay, does one want proof? Again, not really. But droop on, here is a vague flashback anyway. You’re welcome. Aren’t I woke?
The Crimes of Grindelwald is that the weakest entry in the Potter film series, that currently falls under Rowling’s fresh created umbrella corporation, the Wizarding World. And most of the blame may be directed towards Rowling’s script, skinny as a bit of yellowing parchment, discarded within the bins of Flourish and Blotts.
An hour had passed and therefore the plot was still yelling ‘Up!’ at its broomstick, that was rolling around feebly on the bottom, merely refusing to require flight. Instead, many characters - previous and new - had crossed every other’s ways, love stories I'm willing to bet nobody would have an interest in had been introduced, and several other lines of awkward exposition delivered. The best example of this was once Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander feels the need to remind his girlfriend, Leta Lestrange, that “Your brother Corvus is dead.” Really? Her brother, you say? I'm wondering if she knew.
It feels terrible to say this - Rowling is a personal hero, and one of the greatest writers in the world has ever seen, and Harry Potter has been tremendously influential on not just me, but millions of others. But The Crimes of Grindelwald takes barely five minutes to announce its mediocrity.
The signs begin to point out in the first scene itself - a murky, nighttime escape staged by Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard played by Johnny Depp, who was captured at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie by the unlikely hero, Newt Scamander. It's none of the visual clarity of these similar aerial battle scenes in Harry Potter and therefore the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. It’s incoherently edited, has to several inconsequential characters to stay up with, and ends with a shift that seems like a cheat.
To say that Depp is by far the best thing about this film would be an understatement, but it is also a very uncomfortable realization to have. The jury’s still out on whether or not he is guilty of committing the crimes that he has been accused of, but the least one can say about his performance here is that he earns the right to call himself the title character. His Grindelwald is unusually understated, despite his loud appearance. And even though the script does him no favors, he finds subtle ways to add subtext to very ordinary lines. His fight for what he perceives as freedom has an added emotional punch, considering the restrictions he has had to face in his past, particularly in matters of the heart.
Jude Law as the young Dumbledore, meanwhile, is basically playing Jude Law - with a mild Irish accent, perhaps to honor Michael Gambon’s very aggressive take on the future Hogwarts headmaster.
Speaking of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I counted precisely one good scene in the entire two-hour-thirteen-minute film, and even that was a gentleman’s six out of 10. It happens to be the one in which we return to Hogwarts, and suggests perhaps that director David Yates should confine himself to the school; that is where he is most comfortable.
You can sense him trying to bring some coherence to Rowling’s scattershot screenplay - there is no grace to how scenes transition in this film, and instead of a needlessly provocative disregard for certain cinematic laws - but despite his trademark European visuals, and a dependably excellent score by James Newton Howard, he fails.
The Crimes of Grindelwald is at once dense with lore, yet strangely lean on the plot. It can’t seem to make up its mind if wants to be a Fantastic Beasts sequel or a Harry Potter prequel. It is bogged down by too many minutes of inactivity, an almost criminal lack of action, and comes dangerously close to earning comparisons to the first Hobbit movie, based on how much time it wastes on pointless stuff. But perhaps Grindelwald said it best. It is, to steal his words, ‘not disposable, but of a different disposition.’