Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I hate it when I am looking forward to a movie and it doesn’t live up to what I had hoped it would be.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been advertised for months. I was super excited to see Jude Law as a younger Dumbledore. Johnny Depp appearing as Grindelwald seems inspired.

crimes of grindelwald.jpgI knew that we would see Grindelwald’s beginnings as a leader of wanting only wizards to rule the world. I knew that there would be new and old characters developing the story further.

I didn’t expect the darkness but I should have because the timing of Grindelwald’s reign of terror coincides with WWII. And his message of a master race is eerily similar to Hitler’s messages from the early 1930s.

The movie starts with Grindelwald’s escape from New York, a scene in which enemies and partners are discarded like wet towels that are no longer needed. Soon enough we are finding out about his true intentions and desires. We see him slowly trying and winning more followers.

Meanwhile, Newt Scamander has continued to take care of his menagerie of creatures. Because of the events in New York City a few months back, he is no longer allowed to travel across international lines. But the ministry is willing to allow him to travel again if Newt is willing to ‘take care’ of the Credence problem.

Crimes of Grindelwald fullcastThere are other problems. When Queenie and Jacob show up in London, Newt knows immediately that Queenie has put Jacob, an American Muggle, under a spell. They want to marry but Jacob won’t until the law allows them to be married.

Soon enough all three find their way to Paris to find Tina, Quennie’s sister. Not to mention the situation with Dumbledore.

The animation of this movie is incredible. Magical creatures abound and seamlessly works on the screen. I feel as if we are in the London and Paris of the 1920s moving towards the 1930s with more fitted clothing but Marcel waves still abounding.

The problem is there are almost too many back stories that we need to make sense of everything. Some of our characters do not act in a way that seems true to the characters we have known. While Jude Law is good as Dumbledore and Eddie Redmayne continues to shine as Newt, there is something missing. The wonder of magic is simply not present enough despite Jacob’s efforts.

That compounds the fact that this movie is too dark in the story line, in the story telling, and in the characterization of Grindelwald. This is not a movie for children, as much as I wish it to be. It is better for teens and adults who might feel a kinship with Credence in his hunt for his real family.

The first movie had many magical elements and was fun. This second installment has moved to a darker place quite quickly and I feel the rest of the movies in this series will not go back to a lighter feeling. But how can it when we are talking about a holocaust?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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