By Dylan Tracy
On November 16, 2001, J.K. Rowling’s written masterpiece Harry Potter graced the big screen for the first time, opening the floodgate for a roughly $6.5 billion dollar on-screen franchise. Now, exactly seventeen years later, her magical world is still at large with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second installment in a new era of the world of magic (or perhaps an old era considering this story takes place before Harry and his friends). Prior to the start of my screening of the film, cosplayers gathered for photos re-enacting poses on the poster, fans adorned Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter attire, and excitement for the film was definitely in the air. Even after seventeen years of cinematic viewing, the magic of J.K. Rowling’s world is still very much alive.
The Crimes of Grindelwald starts us off in a prison cell in the American Ministry of Magic with villain Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). However upon his transferring to Europe to pay for his crimes across the pond, he manages to escape with the help of his loyal followers. Newt Scamander (Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything) is given an ultimatum by the Ministry of Magic, to join them as an Auror alongside his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) or continue to be banned from international travel due to his actions in New York. Newt, objecting to choose a side, turns down the Ministry’s request. However Dumbledore (Jude Law) has another job opportunity for Newt…to take down Grindelwald. Newt heads to Paris with the help of his friends Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol), where his friend Tina is tracking down Credence (Ezra Miller) before Grindelwald gets to him. Will they be able to come together in time to stop Grindelwald from finding Credence?
With the introduction of Harry Potter era characters (Dumbledore), and characters that have only been theorized within the wizarding world (Nagini, Nicholas Flamel), the film is definitely going to attract “potter-heads” and “wizard-wannabes” alike. Surprises lurk around every corner, with certain characters and even some familiar magical objects making appearances that are sure to elicit murmurs from the audience. Despite its new characters and new story, Fantastic Beasts still manages to capture the tone and mood of the Harry Potter films, making it just as enjoyable to watch. There has been much controversy with Fantastic Beasts however, primarily with the casting of its Grindelwald Johnny Depp. But upon completion of the film, you can’t really imagine anyone else in the role. Depp encapsulates the villainy and cruelty of a dark wizard almost naturally, and his look could almost be rivaled with that of Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort.
It has been well known for quite some time that J.K. Rowling intended for her character Dumbledore to be gay, even though it was never highlighted within any of the films or the books. Although it is never stated, The Crimes of Grindelwald gives audiences the first look at Dumbledore’s “personal relationships”, hinting that he and Grindelwald were once lovers.
Very much like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Crimes of Grindelwald has opened the door to a new war in the wizarding world. With absolutely stunning visual effects and lots of laughs, charm, and of course magic, The Crimes of Grindelwald will be sure to sweep you off your feet.
J.K. Rowling’s Magical World Prevails in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.