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MOVIE REVIEW

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

also known as “Animales Fantásticos: Los crímenes de Grindelwald,” “Animales Fantásticos: Los crimenes de Grindelwald,” “Les Animaux fantastiques: Les Crimes de Grindelwald,” “Phantastische Tierwesen: Grindelwalds Verbrechen,” “Monstros Fantásticos e Onde Encontrá-los 2,” See all »
MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for some sequences of fantasy action.

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure Fantasy Sequel RealD 3D IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 14 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
November 16, 2018 (wide—4,163 theaters)
DVD: March 12, 2019
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

DARK FANTASIES—What are possible effects on some viewers?

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

What are the differences and similarities between FANTASY MAGIC (fantasy witchcraft and its practioners) and REAL modern-day witchcraft, Paganism, and Neo-Paganism?

Is there a danger in the world’s labeling some witchcraft as GOOD? i.e., “good” witches and “bad” witches

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Modern witchcraft

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people in the U.S. who self-identify as witches (Wicca or Pagan) since 1990, according to reported studies by Trinity College (Connecticut), The American Religious Identification Survey and The Pew Research Center.

Examples of common modern Wicca beliefs that are in opposition to God’s revealed Word (see partial list)

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

An open letter to Wiccan and Spiritist believers from a former Spiritist

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Is the Harry Potter franchise totally harmless? Answer

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

Sorcery in the Bible

Magic and magicians in the Bible

Witches and witchcraft in the Bible

Enchantments

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Featuring: Eddie RedmayneNewt Scamander—a magizoologist member of the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures

Katherine WaterstonTina Goldstein—a promoted Auror of MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America)

Jude LawAlbus Dumbledore—a professor of Transfiguration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and an extremely influential and powerful wizard in the British Wizarding Community

Johnny DeppGellert Grindelwald—a powerful dark wizard seeking to lead a new Wizarding World Order

Zoë KravitzLeta Lestrange—from a historically wealthy and pureblood family famous for the Dark Arts

Dan FoglerJacob Kowalski—a bakery owner and veteran of World War I

Carmen EjogoSeraphina Picquery—President of MACUSA

Ezra MillerCredence Barebone

See all »
Director: David Yates
Producer: Heyday Films [Great Britain]
Warner Bros.
J.K. Rowling
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Prequel: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016)

Potterheads all over the world rejoiced when best-selling author J.K. Rowling continued her adventures in the Wizarding World with a set of new cinematic stories, set decades before the events of Harry Potter. The second film, though more disorganized than the first, focuses on the rise of a dark power and the unlikely band of heroes who come together to stop it.

After months in the American Ministry of Magic’s Dungeons, the infamous wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) boards a magical coach drawn by thestrils to deliver him to his European trial. The coach never reaches its destination. Grindelwald escapes, rejoins his followers, and flees to Paris in search of Credence (Ezra Miller). He hopes the hapless orphan who destroyed half of New York with his uncontrolled magic can help him defeat his greatest adversary.

Familiar with Grindelwald from his youth, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tries to recruit Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to track down and save Credence before Grindelwald can find him.

Newt is not the only person hot on his trail; his friend Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) also wants to save him, before the Ministry kills him. Then her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) turns up on Newt’s doorstep with Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger), hoping to get married in Paris. American laws of magic will not allow her to marry Jacob, due to his non-magic status. She hopes Paris will afford them the normality she craves.

The trio’s quest to find Credence sends them on a discovery of his identity, involves a host of magical creatures, and plays them into Grindelwald’s hands. And it may force Newt, a man who “takes no sides,” to choose one.

This film has many delightful surprises in store for dedicated Potter fans, from foreshadowing for the first Harry Potter novel (keep your eyes open for a certain red stone) to younger appearances from Professor McGonagall. Rowling also tackles the serious topic of mobilizing groups of people through fear into nationalism, drawing a parallel between Grindelwald’s reign of terror and desire for a “Pure Blood” dictatorship and the impending rise of Nazi Germany.

From a parental standpoint, it has few content concerns outside the magic—two utterances of “h*ll,” and references to children born outside of wedlock (a voice-over in a flashback says a wizard used dark magic to “seduce” a woman; this led to the ruination of her family, her death, and an illegitimate child). Another woman, when asked if she’s married, says she’s in a “dedicated” relationship. A bare-breasted statue (no noticeable details) guards the entrance to a hidden street. A woman puts a man under a love-spell to marry him against his will (he acts stupefied and infatuated with her).*

The movie is a cinematic treat, with gorgeous sets, fantastic costumes by Colleen Atwood, and a score both familiar and new. It moves into a heart-wrenching, powerful climax, but the first half tries to cover too many characters and too much ground. It’s not sure what it wants to be, flipping between Grindelwald’s schemes, Credence’s search for his parents, Queenie’s heartbreak, Newt’s care of magical creatures, the Ministry’s search for Credence, and the character of Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz). There are several subplots and many side characters. This means no one receives much development, making the emotional reveals at the end less impacting than if we’d had time to grow invested in them. But Rowling still manages to pack a few emotional punches.

This story continues in the Potter tradition of lots of fantasy magic. It ranges from suitcases “bigger on the inside” to epic wizard battles with creatures formed of smoke, blue fire, and water. Wizards cast spells at one another to stupefy, blind, knock unconscious, even kill (a tactic only the villains use; most of the violence comes from these scenes, and implications of murders—we see a few dead bodies).

Newt is a rule-breaking lad with a heart of gold, whom Dumbledore says “always does the right [moral] thing.” The film asks its audience to understand that the end never justifies the means; it shows a villain who seduces with promises of freedom, but wants to use others for his own evil purposes (Grindelwald, even more than Voldemort, resembles Satan in his deceptions—he is this series’ “father of lies”), and it breaks your heart when characters, desperate for love, acceptance, and purpose, fall from grace. In so doing, it allows us to understand why people make the choices they do—and what drives them to it.

If you skipped the last installment or have never read the Harry Potter books, you will not grasp its subtler references, but for fans of the franchise, it’s a solid second installment that promises more adventures to come.

* Though Rowing has announced that Dumbledore is Gay, the film contains no overt references to his love for Grindelwald in their youth, apart from his comment that they were “more than brothers.”

  • Occult: Heavy (of a fantasy nature)
  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Mild— • “h*ll” (2)
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Mild—— • “cr*p” • “son of a b*tch”
  • Nudity: Minor— • cleavage
  • Sex: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I enjoyed the movie. If you like the other Wizarding World movies you would like this movie. There is a bloodless “ fantasy violence” done by Grindelwald and his followers. What I like about the Potter and Fantastic Beasts series is the good side and bad side are clearly defined. Violence is done by bad people and good people defend the innocent. I’m sad I’ll have to wait another two years for another movie. It’s darker than the early Potter films. I would recommend younger kids avoid this movie. But if your and older teen or adult and enjoy fantasy films, I would recommend the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Keith Chandler, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie! Sure, there’s magic in it, but that’s to be expected. There was a Gay reference with Dumbledore and a friend, then another when Dumbledore looks in the mirror of Erised and sees him and Grindlewald making an oath not to fight each other and then *wait for it*…………hold hands during the oath! Yuck! Cringy moment. But other than that, it was good! Just thought I’d give y'all a heads up in case your eating while watching it. Cute, fun, entertaining and many redeeming scenes! Happy happy happy! (Besides that one part. Meh.)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Paulina, age 24 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—The reviewer failed to mention the most offensive moment of the movie. In order to establish the evil nature of the villains, they kill a child simply because he is in the wrong place, and the director does it with gut-wrenching skill, lingering long on the cherubic child’s trusting stare at the new visitors in his home. The fact that the scene shifts just as the weapon is raised to strike, did little to assuage the revulsion I felt for this event, which is completely out of character for this type of family adventure. And this comment is from someone commonly labeled insensitive. If you steel yourself to this despicable event, early in the movie, you can enjoy what follows.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Brian Schacht, age 72 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—My husband and I saw this movie last weekend, and we both agreed that it made no sense. It was just too dark for our tastes. We left the theatre feeling like there were absolutely no redeeming qualities to this film. I have not watched a Harry Potter all the way through, but my husband has. I’ve steered clear of them, and now I know why. Someone mentioned that they like that there is a clear distinction in this film between good and evil, but, at times, it was hard to tell, for me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Clara, age 59 (USA)
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