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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

also known as “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3,” “Animais Fantásticos: Os Segredos de Dumbledore,” “Animales fantásticos 3: Los secretos de Dumbledore,” “Animales Fantásticos: Los Secretos De Dumbledore,” “Animali fantastici - I segreti di Silente,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for some fantasy action/violence.

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre:
Fantasy Action Adventure Sequel IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 22 min.
Year of Release:
2022
USA Release:
April 15, 2022 (wide release)
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Companyclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Relevant Issues

Heroism in the face of blatantly evil deeds

Self-sacrifice

1930s setting

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

A Hitler-like wizard

Fantasy magic in movies and books

Entertainment that blurs the lines between good and evil

Brazilian folklore and mythology

About magic and magicians mentioned in the Bible

Enchantments / spells

About witches in the Bible

Witchcraft

Necromancer

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

What does the Bible say about sorcery?

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

Learn about spiritual light versus darkness

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Featuring Eddie RedmayneNewt Scamander
Jude LawAlbus Dumbledore
Mads MikkelsenGellert Grindelwald
Ezra MillerCredence Barebone / Aurelius Dumbledore
Katherine WaterstonTina Goldstein
Alison SudolQueenie Goldstein
Dan FoglerJacob Kowalski
Callum TurnerTheseus Scamander
Richard CoyleAberforth Dumbledore
Fiona GlascottMinerva McGonagall
See all »
Director David Yates
Producer Heyday Films [England]
Warner Bros.
J.K. Rowling
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

Many years ago, when Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) was young and foolish, he and Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) made each other an unbreakable pact: to never harm each other. They sealed it in drops of blood placed into a charmed necklace. If either of them ever even thinks about attacking the other, the charm will strangle the life out of them.

Now that Dumbledore is older and wiser, he regrets this pact… because the Grindelwald who wanted to change the world at his side has become a violent, Muggle-hating revolutionary who wants to unleash an all-out war on Muggles and eradicate or enslave them. Since Dumbledore can’t touch him, it’s up to his intrepid band of friends to help him defeat his oldest friend and stop him from amassing power.

Among those determined to stop him is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the “only” magical zoologist in existence, and the author of Fantastic Beasts. He encounters Grindelwald’s followers deep in the jungle, where they attack a magical creature who has given birth to a faun and steal it from him. Though devastated by its loss, Newt discovers its twin and carries it to safety.

He must protect it from Grindelwald, with the help of his friend Jacob (Dan Fogler), a No-Mage (Muggle) whose bakery business is failing since the love of his life, Queenie (Alison Sudol) went to Grindelwald’s side. There, he uses her to keep an eye on the unstable Credence (Ezra Miller), who now knows he is a Dumbledore and awaits the right moment to confront Albus. Grindelwald hopes to groom him to attack his oldest friend, since he cannot do it himself. But he has even more diabolical plans in motion. Can Dumbledore’s army stop him?

If the plot sounds complicated, it is! There’s a lot going on, as Rowling picks up and continues storylines from the first two installments—but where the second movie had too many side characters, this one has a better handle on the important ones. The plot follows a lot of ideas, but it places Newt front and center, even though the film truly belongs to Jude Law’s Dumbledore. One of the great enigmas of the Harry Potter books, it’s interesting to see Dumbledore younger and full of zeal, but there’s also a sadness to him that Law brings to the forefront – an idealist who now knows someone he once cared about has taken a very different path. And that brings us to the main hiccup of the story.

Rowling created controversy a few years ago when she announced that Dumbledore was “Gay, and in love with Gellert Grindelwald.” This movie brings it to the forefront, in six lines of dialog that make it clear their relationship was romantic. Dumbledore tells Grindelwald in the opening scene he never went against him, because “I was in love with you.” Later, he says the same summer “Gellert and I fell in love,” his brother also fell in love with a local girl, and that his brother did not approve of their relationship. When the bond is eventually severed between them, Gellert asks him, “Who will love you now?” It’s shared in a matter-of-fact and normalized way, and none of the characters think anything of it, though it’s set in a time period when homosexuality was punishable by law in Great Britain.

Q & A

GAY—What’s wrong with being Gay? AnswerHomosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born Gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about Gays needs to change? AnswerIt may not be what you think.

Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

Jude Law gives a nuanced performance rife with internal strife and inner meaning, matched only by the enthusiasm, sweetness, and comedic timing of Eddie Redmayne, whose Newt is a treasure. The scene where he leads an army of dangerous creatures in a crab-like dance through a prison is hilarious. His love interest, Tina, is nowhere to be seen (she does make a cameo at the end), but there’s closure for Queenie and Jacob fans, and this film brings the plot threads from earlier installments full circle.

It’s a spectacular watch, full of magical creatures, 1930’s atmosphere, wizard’s duels (some of them take place in an alternate dimension), and winks to book fans, including a cameo from a young Minerva McGonagall. It’s also easier to follow for viewers who are Potterheads, familiar with the world and its characters. The costumes and set design are gorgeous, and the score is memorable – it brings in the familiar Harry Potter chords, but builds a new musical arc around Dumbledore that contains some of the prettiest harmonies from the franchise.

The story takes a while to get going, and there are many slow sections; Rowling has a lot of characters, some of which she doesn’t need, but she keeps the story tighter this time.

Family-wise, other than the aforementioned homosexual references, there are other things to concern parents, including dark magic. The magic used in this fantasy world has always been clearly good or evil; good characters avoid dark magic, but villains like Grindelwald use it in terrible, dark ways. In this instance, he kills a newborn creature (slits its throat, but we don’t see it, and lays it down in a pool of its own blood), then reanimates it through necromancy to bind it to his will. It’s seen as a terrible act of violence against a pure and innocent creature. He also takes away a man’s memory of his sister (whom Grindelwald killed), uses a torture curse against Jacob, and continues to emotionally manipulate Credence to attack Dumbeldore. It comes out that Credence was conceived outside of wedlock, and his mother was sent away “in shame.”

The film earns its PG-13 rating for violence — we see wizards and a witch kill a magical creature (it lives and suffers for a while, until it dies having shed a tear for its fauns). A giant scorpion guards an underground prison and, each time the candle goes out, attacks the nearest prisoner — piercing them with a prong and dragging them down into the pit to eat them, then spitting up the ribcage and other body parts for its children to feast on; we see this happen twice. It viciously attacks Newt and his brother. Wizard duels lead to mass destruction, although it all happens in a second dimension so there’s no harm done to Muggles.

Rowling’s stories have always been full of good and bad characters, with strong lines between them, but these stories are darker and more adult than the Harry Potter installments. Grindelwald is a Hitler character, bent on death and destruction against non-Purebloods, but is also manipulative and callous. His cruel treatment of innocent creatures, among them the neglected, once-abused Credence, is a bitter reminder of how evil takes, but gives nothing in return. Grindelwald cares not whom he ‘consumes’ in his path to power, but there are always people to stand against him—and Rowling attempts to make viewers care about each of these characters, as much as the lost ones. She includes redemption and grace, in Credence’s search for belonging, love, acceptance, and family. But, of course, this can only truly be found in Christ, and He doesn’t exist in this fantasy world.

  • Violence: Heavy (more disturbing/gory than previously in this franchise)
  • Occult: Moderately Heavy
  • Alcohol: Mild
  • Sex: Minor, besides the strongly suggested former Gay relationship of two main characters
  • Profane language: “Hell” and “What the bloody hell

    Slang definition: Bloody

    X
  • Vulgar/Crude language: “sod”
  • Nudity: None
Q & A

What is the real world of the Occult?

The Occult—What does the Bible say about it?

About witches in the Bible

Witchcraft

What does the Bible say about sorcery?

Enchantments

Modern witchcraft

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people in the U.S. who self-identify as witches (Wicca or neo-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)

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


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral
Neutral—Another good movie series that has been turned into an effort to normalize homosexuality… Ugh! One of the pivotal characters in the film is a magical creature that bows down to those who are pure, and even then, the purest is gay. If it weren’t for the outright support of homosexuality, this would have been a good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Chrystal, age 45 (USA)
Neutral—I just went to see this movie on the weekend and have very mixed feelings overall. The movie starts out with a homosexual relationship at the forefront. Also, that relationship is the backbone for the entire story. The idea that good Dumbledore and evil Grindelwald put their blood together in a pendant that contained a small vial and cannot be separated until the end, reminds me very much of the New Age movement with a similar parallel to the movie “The Dark Crystal.”

I want to correct the above review as the twin animals born in the film are deer-like creatures, but called a qilins. These creatures are able to discern if someone is pure of heart and will bow to that person. Interestingly, and on a side note, there is another qilin in Chinese mythology which is similar to a unicorn.

Although the story line is quite well constructed, I found the violence heavy and often times disturbing. The swearing is minimal, but a reminder that “bloody” is swearing on Jesus” blood, so is very offensive although it’s a common swear word in Britain. Newton Artemis Fido “Newt” Scamander, the zoologist, is a very lovable character and he’s the one I went to see. He along with muggle Jacob and witch Queenie are the positive characters.

The story of Credence is a rather confusing and disturbing one. I’d cautiously recommend this movie, but it disturbs me how many films today have an agenda to normalize gay relationships. For that reason I give it a neutral rating as it was a good movie in terms of quality, but some of the elements did not sit well with me. In many ways it’s a film that you would understand more of the complex plot by seeing it a second time, or doing a bit of research beforehand about the relationships between the main characters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Kathy Pj, age 61 (Canada)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…if cute was the selling point of this spin-off series, it’s practically out of stock in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” a movie that has traded in its charm (and, for the most part, its fantastic beasts) for an extended Nazi metaphor. …
Jim Slotek, Original-Cin
…despite the ornate world-building constructed from CGI, a mid-20th-century European fascist aesthetic and lots of very nicely tailored tweed, it’s still a lumbering, unwieldy creature compared to the first film: fewer fantastic beasts, more stuffy political plotting and electoral malpractice. … [3/5]
Wendy Ide, The Guardian (UK)
…Through it all the technical work remains of the highest quality. It seems a shame that Stuart Craig and Neil Lamont’s lavish production design and Colleen Atwood’s gorgeous costumes – both leaning into unreal golden-era Hollywood – are wasted on such an emotionally unengaging slog. … [2/5]
Donald Clarke, The Irish Times
…Visually impressive… some great production design and visual effects, especially in the New York scenes. But it’s not about “secrets” as much as new IP-franchise narrative components shuffled into the ongoing content and shuffled out again. … [3/5]
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…There’s little magic left in this sagging franchise… Director David Yates…has reduced almost its entire cast to wandering storytelling devices. If you had any affection for Newt Scamander…you’ll be disappointed to find his screen time dramatically reduced and his impact on the story relegated primarily to the rescue of a single, solitary animal. He’s always around, but he has less to do with events than ever. He no longer even drives the story forward: That’s now Dumbledore’s job. …
William Bibbiani, The Wrap
…It’s the product of a lucrative fictional universe that no one seems to know how to build on but which feels the need to keep going anyway, a franchise in search of a story. If the series was conceived as a way to hold on to the fans of the original books and movies who are now grown, what’s clear in practice is it’s a children’s story staggering to support a few ambitious and deeply underdeveloped themes. …
Alison Willmore, New York Magazine (Vulture)
…this film is bereft of the warmth, shimmer and intrigue of Rowling’s novels… Another clanging suggestion of a production in disarray is dropped when Dumbledore actually orders his allies to behave incoherently from scene to scene – supposedly to stop Grindelwald predicting what they’re going to do next. Whether a daring narrative gambit or a last-ditch salvage attempt, this is not, you’ll be amazed to hear, a winning storytelling strategy, and the result is that for at least an hour it’s impossible to work out why anything is happening, or how one scene links to the next, or what any of the characters are trying to achieve. … [2/5]
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph [UK]
A drab, gray dream, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is best forgotten… It feels like a bad parody, a shadow of what a film is, not an actual film itself. The color palette is a dreary mud puddle of grays and browns, and there’s no sense of space or geography. It has no weight, no heft, no texture, no color, no sense of magic or wonder in the least. The story itself has no sense of stakes or resonance, and the actors vary in affect from lifeless to dutiful to pained. …
Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
…this thing is a mess. A “story” that barely deserves that label takes forEVER to get going, a vast clutter of forgettable characters are played not by the legends of British cinema, television and theatre who populated the Harry Potter films, but by not-yet-wholly-established “stars” like Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Alison Sudol and Poppy Corby-Tuech. …That character clutter is joined by scenes that serve no dramatic purpose and dialogue that rarely transcends the “I’ll have to ensure that my wand registration is up to date.” … [1½/4]
Roger Moore, Movie Nation