One of the major themes of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald speaks to the value of ridding oneself of emotional baggage.
So, if I would give anyone any advice regarding watching and enjoying the latest movie in the “Wizarding World” movie franchise, it would be to leave the baggage at the door – and that includes your copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and your addiction to Pottermore.
Now, far be it from me — a “no-mag,” whose heart belongs to a galaxy far, far away — to give pureblood wizards and witches advice.
Cast me into Azkaban for all I care…
But, honestly, I walked into the film with zero, ZERO expectations — other than to be up to date when I visit Universal Studios — and the movie rewarded me.
I enjoyed the heck out of it; very much like I did Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
It’s good, four-star (out of five) stuff…
And isn’t that the point of a popcorn movie; to distance one’s mind from everyday life and plug into a new reality and universe?
Yes, kids, the Wizarding World, and MCU and DCU and Star Wars movies ARE popcorn flicks.
Again, get over yourselves and allow your brain a break.
Anyway, I prescribe three caveats to those of you still reading:
- If you have not seen the original Fantastic Beasts, or you don’t remember it very well, rent/buy and watch it before you head to the cineplex. You need to know Newt Scamander’s backstory, as well as the Goldstein sisters’. You DO NOT need to know Harry Potter’s…
- Try not to over-connect every name/word/phrase you hear in the movie to things you kind of remember from the eight Potter-centric films (or seven books). It’s distracting and unnecessary in the short run. Seriously. Make like Elsa and “let it go.”
- This tale is, necessarily, the second chapter of canon, and J. K. Rowling is filling in gaps a la George Lucas in the Star Wars prequels. And, no I don’t equate “prequel” with “sucks.”
With that stated, I will also contend that this new story about Newt Scamander might have unfolded easier given more time.
Even at two hours and 13 minutes, at the end of Crimes, I was hoping for much more detail on young Mr. Scamander and Tina; more background on Newt and the appearance of his brother, Theseus, and, of course, the elder Scamander’s fiancé, Leta Lestrange – yes, that Lestrange.
I also wanted to know more about the character who is a Maledictus – such a sad story.
And, heck, it would have been useful to see Ezra Miller speak more than a few whispered sentences – he’s a talented actor, after all.
Those, my dear muggles, are the real problems I have with this installment of the PCU (Potter Cinematic Universe).
For the most part, I was at the edge of my seat during this beautifully shot and CGI’d movie. You see, I am NOT sitting around lamenting Harry, Hermione, and Ron growing up. I love Newton, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob. I enjoy seeing Dumbledore in a suit, rather than robes.
And, yes — conversely — simply seeing Hogwarts again made this heart go pitter-pat.
The arguments regarding retconning and timelines and – awwwww, skip it.
The people who don’t like this film are the same people who crapped on the Star Wars prequels for years, and then also hated Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Seriously. Give it a rest. Adopt a “middle mind.” Sit back, and enjoy. If you’re so offended by a creator continuing the create their universe, go create your own.
Lastly, some warnings for those of you who might be tempted to bring the kids: This movie is much more like the last two Potter films than it is the first two; so, it makes sense to leave any sensitive souls home as there was one scene that had even this 43-year-old father of three very, very upset.
Also, this is definitely the “Empire Strikes Back” (or perhaps the part one of an ESB duology, etc.), so unless you want to keep turning to explain to or cover the eyes of your impressionable companion, leave the more simple or sensitive (or cynical) souls home.
However, I urge everyone to go see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, if only to hear the line, “Newt, there’s never been a monster you couldn’t love.”
P.S. Not for nothing; sometimes villains lie. Just sayin’.
But what did you think? Let us know in the comments below…