Author Topic: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald  (Read 842 times)


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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
« on: December 26, 2018, 04:41:05 PM »
After watching FB:TCoG I was mystified.  Why did the critics pan this one?  I understood 1SO's concern, about the plot being complex and it requires some work to keep up, as well as some background info.  But was that enough to pan the film, to give it a less than 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes?  So what did they have a problem with?

"No plot"-- what?  Perhaps there is too much plot, and it is complex, but this isn't a "no plot" film.

"Could have been written by someone who only had a bare knowledge of the Potterverse"-- again, what?  This fills in a number of the pieces between FB and HP proper, and only someone with an expert knowledge of the universe could fit these pieces in appropriately.

"Not enough beasts"-- I get that.  Although in the title, the beasts don't play a major part of the story as they did in the first film.  Perhaps that is a misled expectation.  But I figured that it would be more about the characters.

I do wish the plot had more to do with the main four characters as presented in the first film and their development.  We gain a bit of background knowledge and understand more of the dark side of Queenie's character, but not much more than that.

However, I think the film has much to recommend it.  More plot than character, but it is a fascinating story, keeping my attention firmly. Newt's austistic characteristics are happily allowed to become clearer.  I also love the inclusion of Dumbledore and Jude Law's performance.  He is manipulative and underhanded, all for his own principles, at the expense of others who he sees as talented or well-placed, but without care if they get harmed.  Perfectly in tune with the character as revealed in HP.  And Law has got charm to spend.

The romances were subtle, but essential, saving the large romance to be developed in later films.  We are introduced to the difficulties that will grow to crises in their relationships, allowing some to grow in our imaginations.

This film focuses on three characters introduced but not focused on in the last film: Credence, Grindelwald and especially Leta Lestrange.  Credence is not given a lot of room to grow, but we learn more about what made him.  Leta is granted a lot of space to develop and to not just be a walk on, "Oh, here's Newt's ex who happens to be his brother's fiancee, and imagine how uncomfortable that is."  I think she is given a lot of heavy lifting and does well.

And then there is Mr. Depp.  Look, I was one of those who inwardly groaned when he showed up at the end of the last film.  The last thing we needed was another shallow, eccentric performance in a role that needs complexity.  But his performance is strangely mature for a blockbuster-ish film.  Most of the film is pointing toward his speech during the rally, and he pulls it off masterfully.  He isn't Hitler, he isn't Voldermort-- he is more like an HG Wells racist.  Rational and calm, manipulative but educationally seductive.  it is not the performance I expected from Depp, and I was satisfied.  Not a great performance, but taken seriously and he hit the tone perfectly.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the film.  It gets a 4/5 for me, which is the same that I gave most HP movies. 

What problems did others have with it?
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky


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Re: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2018, 09:48:08 PM »
Guess I'll start with the Spoiler version of what I said in my review since it's my biggest problem. I love the relationship of Queenie and Jacob in the first film. Here we learn of a problem, that the outside world doesn't allow Wizards and Muggles to marry. It ends up separating them in a very unconvincing breakup scene. Queenie disappears for about 90 minutes and when she returns we see her looking to Grindelwald as the possible solution to her problem, even though she's one of the few who know firsthand that Grindelwald is not a good person. Now Grindelwald's core ideology is about the purity of the Wizarding World. Queenie believes this is the solution to her problem even though it's the complete opposite.

What are the crimes of Grindelwald? Rowling's titles have always been direct and explained and underlined, yet these crimes are either something that happened before FB1 or they are crimes on a more metaphorical level. Wouldn't it be more accurate to call this film The Rise of Grindelwald?

The history of Credence couldn't be murkier.

Yusuf reveals that he has been looking for Credence because he wants to kill him, as Yusuf's mother Laurena was taken against her will by Corvus Lestrange Sr under the Imperius curse, who impregnated her with a child before she ultimately died. That child was Leta. Corvus Sr would go on to have another child, Corvus Jr, whom Yusuf believes Credence to be. However, Leta says that Corvus Jr is dead because she was the one who killed him. As a child, she was on a boat with Irma, and the baby Corvus would not stop crying. Leta switched him with a quiet, sleeping baby just before the ship started to sink. Leta was on one lifeboat with the other baby, while Corvus was on a different lifeboat that capsized, and he drowned as a result (this is the form that the Boggart took for Leta). Leta has lived with this guilt ever since.

This scene is an incredible amount of backstory and ultimately contains so much "that's not what actually happened" that you're left doubting what actually happened. In the end, Grindelwald tells Credence he's actually Aurelius Dumbledore and my reactions were "so what" and "I don't see how I can be expected to believe you." Looking for answers, I've read the popular theory that Credence is actually a Lestrange, which makes more sense and further makes the final scene a big shrug. It would've been more impactful if Grindelwald gave Credence The Elder Wand. Then the demonstration of power that finishes the film would've been that deadly combination of Credence and the Wand, a Wand we know ultimately becomes the possession of Dumbledore.

I like Eddie Redmayne as Newt and I don't have a problem with Katherine Waterston as Tina except she's given less to do that Ginny Weasley, which makes their relationship even more forced that the Harry/Ginny pairing that was one of the biggest weaknesses of the Potter films.

On a smaller note, Newt cannot accio Niffler. This is made clear in the first film and the entire bank scene would've been different if he could do it. Here at the rally, he accios Niffler. It's the kind of detail that makes me think J.K. Rowling is making a lot of this up as she goes, something I never associated with Harry Potter. So something like Jacob remembers all the good memories, which was an odd but acceptable detail at the beginning of the film is now something that seems changed to suit the new story.
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Re: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2018, 12:05:49 AM »
I can't disagree with you about Jacob and Queenie.  I was in pain and confused the whole time about their relationship and while it was emphasized that the relationship was most significant, as well a marriage between a muggle and a witch would be in the context, yet Queenie seemed pretty stupid throughout the whole film, which is out of character.

Or is it?  I complained many of these same complaints to my wife and daughters and they wanted to rescue this aspect of the film.  That Queenie was just so focused on her goal, on marrying Jacob, that G convinced her that he would change the world so she could obtain this one thing she wants.  In other words, he's a good liar and he had enough time to convince her.  I still wonder why he spent the time on her, or gave Newt more than a slight consideration.  But I guess what my women tells me makes sense.

Yes, the background of Credence isn't any more clear than at the beginning of the film.  But I think that the whole background of Lestrange has to do with Leta and her story.  That's why it is emphasized so much.  We may have no, or very little more, information about Credence, certainly nothing we will be assured of until the next film, but we know a lot about Leta, which gives her central role and death at the rally dramatic impact.  Her story is the one that makes this movie work.

I agree about Katherine Waterston, who is criminally underused in this film, but I expect there will be more time to develop her character in the next three films.

I didn't notice that Newt cannot accio Niffler in the first film.  It makes sense, but I suspect it might be that he can't do that under certain circumstances?

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Re: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2018, 01:42:18 AM »
It's the kind of detail that makes me think J.K. Rowling is making a lot of this up as she goes, something I never associated with Harry Potter.

This is spot on. The entire thing seems retconned to fit new ideas into the story. And she tries to fit way too much into a story that canít support it. Rowling can write novels, not screenplays.