FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE – A Review by Gadi Elkon

The third installment of the Fantastic Beasts prequal saga dives into the secrets and mysteries behind Professor Dumbledore and his family.  Where does this film slot in the hierarchy of the HP universe of movies?  Here is my full review of the film.

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

Easily the most entertaining of the FB series, but the slow pacing in the second half is a bit of an issue.  The film pulls off a lovely battle of the minds between Albus and Gellert aka Dumbledore and Grindelwald aka two long lost lovers.  Spoiler talk in this series is a bit tough to get around, but I think we’ve leaned on this bombshell for a while.  The film’s greatest triumph is linking these two massive figures in a unity bond that of course forever impacts the wizarding world before that fella we don’t speak of amps it up.

Screenwriter and Producer Steve Kloves return to the HP world and his first dive into the FB tales is a massive moment.  His ability to capture the suspense, the warring factions and the impending doom of Grindelwald’s plans keeps this film dark and juicy throughout.  Granted the most entertaining sequences still rely on Eddie Redmayne’s adorable demeanor and Dan Fogler’s pure comedic chops.  That duo has established FB as a true buddy comedy showcase that hopefully will expand into the wrap up films that follow.  Fogler’s Jacob Kowalski is by far the most relatable HP figure next to HP and his dastardly duo.  The film really highlights Kloves punchy dialogue with Jessica Williams mesmerizing performance as Lally Hicks as the film’s most stand out portrayal.

Jude Law holds true to form as a stoic version of our beloved Albus and his completely opposite feel to Richard Coyle’s disinterested take on Aberforth is intriguing.  The first two films set up Newt’s unique role in the HP realm and Redmayne is superb in every scene.  By far the most laugh out loud fun of the film involves Redmayne and his dashing broseph Callum Turner as Theseus.  Their harrowing escape portion is WORTH the $ and time of this film alone!

Ok, but the meat of the story involves the sinister team Grindelwald has assembled. Their haunting nature is confirmed from the beginning of the film.  Ezra Miller’s Credence is just as scary and brutish as the actor appears in real life.  Alison Sudol’s Queenie holds the most intrigue of the Grindelwald gang though.  Her torn demeanor is an obvious emotional line directly to the Dumbledore group.  Jacob and Queenie’s love or lost love is going to be as pivotal as D&G or Newt and his magical beings.

The real burning question I have though is the Grindelwald character actually Colonel Sanders of KFC fame?  The changing of actors may be more legally based than the fast food commercial cattle call style.  But here is to one of the next films in the FB series having Grindelwald don a white suit and let the hair go gray!  I do think Mads is by far the most enjoyable GG but gosh I totally want a pudgy older version to physically beat up Albus before you know all is made right.

So where does this slot in the HP film hierarchy?  Honestly it is somewhere in the top half, the best of the FB but still lags behind any of the HP from 5.

Nonetheless stop pretending you already haven’t seen it by now.

And if not, WTF!  Say a spell and go see this already.

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS:  THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE

Directed by: David Yates

Written by: J.K. Rowling & Steve Kloves

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4 Stars

Running Time: 2h 23min

Fantasy / Adventure

Wide Theatrical Only Release: In Theaters Everywhere April 15th

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Mads Mikkelsen

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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