Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
November 14, 2018 1:56 PM - Subscribe

The second installment of the "Fantastic Beasts" series set in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World featuring the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander.
posted by Krazor (36 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 


I haven't seen it but early reviews are pretty brutal. To give some idea: Slate's is titled "The New Fantastic Beasts Is So Bad It Actually Makes the Other Books and Movies Worse"

Also: Previously on MetaFilter
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:45 AM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I can’t for the life of me figure out which audience required this film.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:46 PM on November 16, 2018


From MovieBob's Review (0.5 out of 4) :

I’m not going to say it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen; but it’s very possibly the worst prequel — the new low-point for expository minutiae-obsessed, continuity-porn, anti-narrative in the “Cinematic Universe” era of blockbuster filmmaking.
posted by Pendragon at 2:59 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, since the time the write-up above was posted, the Rotten Tomatoes score has declined from 51% to a current score of 42%. From the sound of things, that alone might yield more entertainment than I would get from the film.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:08 PM on November 16, 2018


I will say that I like the Eiffel Tower / Deathly Hallows mash-up in the poster gif, at least.. It's very disappointing, though, to hear that nobody could apparently be bothered to write a story capable of supporting what I am sure was excruciatingly hard and professional effort from designers, visual effects specialists, composers, editors, and all of the literally thousands of people whose efforts go into the making of a major motion picture release these days.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:17 PM on November 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I’m surprised by the negative reviews. I hadn’t read a thing about the movie before seeing it. I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I went along with the family, who love the Potterverse (?). And, I’ve got to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The titular beasts were cute, and the magic was surpringly sinister. I’m not a fan of Johnny Depp, either, and I thought he was great. A real menacing figure.

Hunh, I don’t know what to think. It’s weird to come to the defense of anything related to Harry Potter.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 8:50 PM on November 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah, we just saw this and I'm surprised the reviews are so negative.

It was good, or at least totally watchable and not bad. I wish there were more time for fun animals, but I thought it was good for what it was trying to do. A lot of nice little touches, most of the cast is very watchable, some intrigue, none of the truly awful things I was worried might be in it. I could've done with less horse-chase in the prison-break intro, and could've done with it being a little brighter in some scenes and the dialogue a little less mumbly in some places, but I thought it was good. I was glad they didn't have Nicholas Flamel end up being an incompetent punchline; nice he got to actually do a thing at the end. I continue to be invested in Queenie and Jacob.

It's not about Newt Scamander or the beasts. It's about Grindelwald and Lita Lestrange and setup.

Curious what people think about the Credence reveal. Did we get a clear sense in the movie of how Grindelwald supposedly knows this? Is there anything in the larger canon about missing D. siblings?
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:28 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


My wife’s thoughts regarding the Credence reveal: it’s a lie, told to push Credence into doing what Grindelwald wants done.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 6:33 AM on November 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


This movie was gorgeous hot garbage.

The creature design and effects work was fantastic. Costuming and set design (especially set design) was interesting and compelling. Redmayne's performance is arresting and so different from what we normally see in a leading man character, and I like Jude Law as a younger Dumbledore. The rally scene had the potential to be affecting and thought-provoking, but it was in the middle of so much muddle that it didn't.

BUT - I have read all the HP books, seen all the movies, read the play, literally named my child after a character from HP, and I had no idea what was going on, who anybody was, or why I was supposed to care about any of it. The movie assumed I had like a master's degree in Potter Studies or something and didn't explain anything that was going on.

Extremely frustrating.
posted by jeoc at 4:31 PM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Very... complicated. It assumes an affinity for the first one that I don't think is entirely earned. Lita I think is supposed to be a tragic figure and the great love of both Scamander brothers, but I saw no evidence of attraction nor explanation for it. Having her backstory presented in three different perspectives was overwhelming. There were far too many people we've never met before who each had complicated motives so too much time was spent wondering how they all fit together. Any impact of "dramatic reveals" was lost because we didn't have time to absorb their initial appearance, and the one reveal that did have dramatic resonance (Creedence) was completely underwhelming when it finally came around because of all the others.

I like that Tina is still apparently a screw-up (and that's the reason the French Ministry had no record of her), and the complicated relationship between Queenie and Jacob. If that's the same Nagini, then the Deathly Hallows is supremely screwed up. And I still like Newt, although he seems more bystander than anything else here.

Mostly I think JK Rowling packs a lot of plot into stories, and that doesn't translate well to the movies. There are lots of plots (like SPEW) that work in a book format but need to be cut from a movie, so that motivations can be better explored. Like, I understand Grindelwald had been interested in Creedence through both movies, and now we know why, but I still don't get to what end. OK, he wants to eliminate opposition to his plans, but at this point I don't know for what or why.

It's nice to see the wider wizarding world, but that's about all I got from this one.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:47 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]




No one's going to tell Jo Rowling she's not a very good screenwriter. Not when her scripts (at least so far) are a money factory. But all thing things I love about her style of storytelling are dependent on the medium of the novel. I didn't think the books translated well into films, and I'm not really invested in these prequels (has there ever been a prequel worth watching?). But they will go on for three more installments and most of us will probably go see them despite not particularly wanting to. So I guess JKR gets the last laugh?
posted by rikschell at 2:48 PM on November 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just watched this. I saw a bunch of negative reviews prior to seeing the film, so maybe that colored my expectations, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Of course, I'm probably the prime market for this prequel, since I grew up with the Harry Potter series as they came out, have read them a million times, spent a lot of time in various fandom circles, etc. Honestly, just the thrill of seeing Hogwarts again was great. (I saw it with a relative who has only seen a few HP movies and never read the books, and they too enjoyed the movie.)

It wasn't perfect, but I found it very watchable, and despite a pretty long run time, I was engaged the whole way through. I do have a couple nitpicks:

What's up with Dumbledore teaching Defense against the Dark Arts? By the time we see him in that Tom Riddle flashback in book 2, he's teaching Transfigurations, as far as I recall. I get that the magical law enforcement guy said he couldn't teach DADA anymore, so maybe this is when he switched over?

One thing I wasn't a big fan of was the blood pact thing. In HP Book 7, Dumbledore says he was afraid to face Grindelwald because he didn't want to find out which of them was responsible for killing his sister (and presumably he also was ambivalent because of the feelings he still had, at least for the younger Grindelwald). I felt like this blood pact thing was unnecessary.

I did enjoy how Jude Law played young Dumbledore.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:19 PM on November 19, 2018


The blood pact meant Dumbledore couldn't fight Grindelwald even if he wanted to - and vice versa. It's the reason Grindelwald has been recruiting Creedence for two movies, because Grindelwald can't fight Dumbledore directly.

Once the pact is dissolved, I'm guessing then we'll explore the reasons Dumbledore doesn't want to fight Grindelwald.

It's actually one of the few plot points that has been necessary so far.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:41 PM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Curious what people think about the Credence reveal. Did we get a clear sense in the movie of how Grindelwald supposedly knows this? Is there anything in the larger canon about missing D. siblings?

According to the original canon, there was Albus's younger brother Aberforth (the one who did something vaguely inappropriate with goats) and his sister Ariana who was killed in a fight with Grindelwald when they were kids.

I think what Grindelwald told Credence is a lie (and if it's not a lie, then it's a serious retcon, but I'm betting on lie). Grindelwald does say in the film that his goal with Credence is for him to go after Dumbledore, so this would be a good way to make that happen.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2018


The blood pact meant Dumbledore couldn't fight Grindelwald even if he wanted to - and vice versa. It's the reason Grindelwald has been recruiting Creedence for two movies, because Grindelwald can't fight Dumbledore directly.

I guess my feeling is that Grindelwald probably doesn't need an excuse not to go after Dumbledore himself, when he has other options. Just like Voldemort generally avoided facing off with Dumbledore as much as possible, why risk your own life going after the wizard who is most likely able to defeat you, when you could send someone else? Because if Credence succeeds, then great, but if he fails to kill Dumbledore and dies himself, it's not like Grindelwald really cares what happens to Credence.

But a blood pact works too.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:55 PM on November 19, 2018


How many times have JK Rowling's shocking climactic revelations turned out to be lies? Because I'm racking my brains here and not coming up with much. I don't think there's any good reason to assume Grindlewald is lying, there are loads of other things he could have said to manipulate Credence into fighting Dumbledore that don't introduce unnecessary plot points like "Dumbledore might have yet another secret lost sibling."
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:05 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just got back from seeing it. I thought it was pretty good. A bit busy.

Really liked:
- Newt as a non-neuro typical action hero. A strange character to build a franchise around but all his scenes work pretty well
- Jude Law as young Dumbledore
- I hear Johnny Depp has been rubbish in lots of things recently, but he was amazing here. Really really menacing. More scary than voldemort ever was really, because he's more human and more political and less of a pantomime villain
- That chinese dragon thing, absolutely amazing to watch and I loved the scene where it zipped/teleported
- Nagini and Credence teaming up, and the idea of a wizarding circus.
- The scene where Credence goes crazy on the rooftops
- Most of the rally scene
- Nicolas Flamel kicking arse

The plotline about who Credence parents' were was indeed confusing. JK likes to weave a complicated mystery but it seems like too much got edited out here or something. For most of the film is not clear how Leta and Yusuf Kama are supposed to relate to Credence (although maybe some of it is mentioned briefly) or how Leta and Yusuf relate to each other. So when it all gets revealed and then unrevealed in the crypt scene its all a bit much. Although I did sort of follow it, but when they dont reveal who the other baby was that scene sort of fizzles out.

There was a lot of baby/child death in this film, which was surprising and a bit much for me.

I liked the Rally scene. Grindelwald is pretty convincing, especially when he reveals the coming world war. Wouldn't seeing that nuke go off make any wizard wonder if things should be managed differently? Voldemort was a kindof snob-bully, and would not have managed a crowd so well. Grindelwald letting the aurors in and letting them make a mistake was a good way of showing what the good guys are up against.

And a lot goes wrong for the good guys at the end there - Queenie goes bad. Credence goes bad. Leta dies. Loads of aurors get evaporated. This sets up some pretty complicated dynamics for the next few - Jacob and Queenie on different sides, Nagini and Credence on different sides. That felt like things were really happening.

Queenie going bad was a bit of a stretch but I just about bought it based on her wanting freedom to marry etc.

And the ending - with Credence being a Dumbledore - thats a serious worst case scenario. The guy was already an uncontrollable magical force but now he's also a Dumbledore. I couldn't exactly hear what Depp was saying so I vaguely wondered if he was supposed to be Aberforth. But no, he's a new one apparently - Aurelius. Word is, its hard to see how he fits into the dumbledore family tree due to them all dying years before Credence could have been born. And how does Grindelwald know this? Is he lying? Does he have first hand knowledge? Given that in the first film he thought the Obscurus was the little girl, he must have done some research since.

But that last shot with Credence taking out the side of a mountain, that was good. And I really like the way Credence is portrayed.

The bit at the start when Grindelwald drops the guy and his wand from the carriage, then seems to save him. Who was he? And what was going on there? It seems stuff may have been edited out.
posted by memebake at 4:16 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


wouldn't rita skeeter have ferreted this out somewhere for the dumbledore bio? nthing team lie.
posted by brujita at 4:57 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm really surprised so many articles I've read seem to be taking it as absolutely true that Grindelwald is telling the truth to Credence about his identity.

I decided to double check the Harry Potter wiki to make sure my gut feeling is correct that the timeline doesn't work at all. Here's what I found:

So Dumbledore's father goes to Azkaban (where he would stay until his death) before Dumbledore leaves for Hogwarts, and Dumbledore's mother dies right as Dumbledore graduates from Hogwarts. (This is all alluded to in the 7th HP book.) According to the wiki, Dumbledore graduates from Hogwarts in 1899. Also according to the wiki, Credence is sent to America as a baby in 1901.

The last point I was going to make, which brujita already mentioned, is that with all the dirt Rita Skeeter dug up, how could she have missed out on a secret sibling?
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:42 PM on November 19, 2018


Also, how could McGonagall be a professor at Hogwarts in 1927? Although I'm not sure we heard her first name, so maybe it's a different McGonagall? I can't remember now if her first name was used in this film. I think Dumbledore just referred to her as Professor McGonagall.

Of course, if it is the same McGonagall, then that means they JK Rowling seems to have completely given up on the timeline of the movie matching up with anything else, so maybe the evidence about Credence not being a Dumbledore isn't worth that much after all.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:50 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


"the Rotten Tomatoes score has declined from 51% to a current score of 42%".

Down to 40% as of the writing of this comment. How low can it go? Come back to find out!
posted by el io at 1:20 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wizards are longer lived than muggles, pretty sure that is McGonagall as a younger woman, without breaking any canon.
posted by Coaticass at 3:45 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


So far my favorite theory is that Credence is not Dumbledore's brother, but his nephew.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:32 AM on November 21, 2018


I ended up seeing this yesterday--I've always been a mild HP fan and I haven't really cared about much of anything past book seven, but my friend's mom wanted to see it and even though friend and I never saw Fantastic Beasts, what the hell. It was probably better than I was expecting from the reviews in some sense.

That said, I would totally agree that this is a lie Credence is being told--except for the phoenix. How do you explain that part if it's not a lie?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:54 AM on November 21, 2018


Dumbledore's father was in Azkhaban for killing the muggles that traumatized the sister, (trauma, it is strongly implied, giving her the same issues as Credence).. so he wasn't running around fathering more and much younger children. If Credence really is a Dumbledore he has to be a nephew or a cousin.

It would be like Grindelwald to tell the truth or half-truth for evil, manipulative purposes, (cf. Queenie; WW2 forecasting) but that doesn't mean we have to believe everything he says does it?
posted by Coaticass at 11:28 AM on November 21, 2018


Wizards are longer lived than muggles, pretty sure that is McGonagall as a younger woman, without breaking any canon.

According to JK Rowling's bio of McGonagall on the Pottermore website, she was born in 1935, which is 8 years after this movie. There's also a quote from HP Book 5 where McGonagall says she has been teaching at Hogwarts for 39 years, which would mean she started teaching in the late 1950s. (Cite)

That said, I would totally agree that this is a lie Credence is being told--except for the phoenix. How do you explain that part if it's not a lie?

Well, he could either be a different Dumbledore relation, or you could also argue that the Dumbledore's don't necessarily have a monopoly on phoenixes. So a phoenix may be attracted to the Dumbledore lineage, but that doesn't mean you have to be a Dumbledore to attract a phoenix. Maybe the Phoenix is attracted to the Obscurus magic? Or Grindelwald did some spell?
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:19 PM on November 21, 2018 [2 favorites]




We saw this yesterday - one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

Thankfully, we then went to see Cursed Child today and cleansed the Potter Palate.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:27 PM on November 21, 2018


Jenny Nicholson: 15 Very Dumb Things in Fantastic Beasts 2.
posted by Pendragon at 4:32 PM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


I went in low expectations because I hadn’t heard much good but also didn’t read into what wasn’t good about it so I do think that coloured how I enjoyed the film - which is to say, I did enjoy it. Yeah, it’s busy , chaotic and at times hard to follow but I am a massive Potter fan and there were enough Easter eggs to keep me entertained and I think all the characters were very interesting and the action short enough to not get boring.

I was also expecting Nagani to be problematic based on what’s i had heard but instead found her a much more interesting (if tragic based on her future) character.
posted by liquorice at 11:58 PM on November 30, 2018


Also, a headline like “Fantastic Beasts 2 is a franchise killer” is so hyperbolic - even if it was THAT terrible is it even possible to kill the Harry Potter franchise at this point? If Phantom Menance couldn’t kill Star Wars, I think we have a lot more stories (and a lot more money) to be had.
posted by liquorice at 11:59 PM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also, fuck Queenie. Seriously. I realise she’s a stand-in by how naive people can be pulled into evil causes but I have no time for wannabe Nazis who care only about their own interests. Not to mention her creepy magic where she had Jacob under a spell - until when exactly?? Super problematic and kind of played off because she’s so in love.
posted by liquorice at 12:05 AM on December 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


It probably says a lot that I cared much more about Bunty and her few minutes of screen time than I did about any other character in this film.

Also I may have spent two hours afterwards ranting about how the script could have been easily fixed to allow the same magic and wonder you want from the HP universe, but also bring in the heavy themes the film was attempting to portray (which made me realize why fanfiction is so important to one's sanity).

Rowling may be a good novelist, but I'm not convinced she's capable of crossing over to screenwriting. This film might make a good book because then you'd be able to get a better understanding of everyone's histories and how they connect and why the hell we're supposed to care about them. But as a movie, it fails horribly. At least, it did with the people I saw it with, because none of us were invested in everyone's battle over Credence Clearwater (as he's been thusly named in our family, which proves that the Dumbledore heritage must be a lie!), so much of the movie was a neutral, "oh, okay, so we're doing this now, hmm."

(But gdi I'm enough of a fan to get a thrill seeing Hogwarts again.)
posted by paisley sheep at 6:12 AM on December 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


I just saw it tonight and I thought it was fine. I liked the magical creatures the best, the movies should really just be Newt running around catching and taming them and also he accidentally helps Dumbledore. I didn't care that much about the characters because as some have said, there's a lot of them and the characterization didn't have time to breathe and the drama of the twists didn't feel earned. But really, that's like 90% of action/adventure movies. The expectations I have for them is basically "are you not entertained??". It's sure loads better than Mile 22, Kin, and a few other action movies I've seen this year.

What I'm getting from the negative reviews are basically "THIS IS NOT HARRY POTTER", which, I guess, is not really fair, because JK Rowling hasn't just blasted the mythology completely away. I've never read the books but I've seen all the other movies at least twice each, and from what I've seen they're filling out the backstory with necessary nuance and giving us some great easter eggs. I can understand that the book-readers are unsatisfied (believe me, I've stopped watching GoT because wow it does no justice at all to the books), and that's unfortunate, but I don't think this movie particularly ruined the whole franchise.

Could this movie be pared down and have better character moments? Sure. But for the ones we've already known, like Newt, Queenie, and Grendelwall, there were some great moments.

The representation critiques though, I think are fair. I thought Nagini had a tragic audience knowledge that lessened my cheering for her now, and having the only Asian person in the movie in that role kind of sucks. Also, the only main black woman dies, and the main black man was kind of... unnecessary. I know Yusuf is there to fill out the Lestrange storyline, but I don't see why Leta couldn't acknowledge that herself if Credence found the tomb and the family tree (you can just have Grendelwall unlock the book and leave it for him to find as part of the manipulation, since he knew everyone was coming there anyway). Then instead of getting trapped by Yusuf, we could have Tina and Newt in a whole different scene about possibly capturing more magical creatures and bonding before they get to archives.
posted by numaner at 9:06 PM on December 1, 2018


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