Let me start this review by saying that I am a die-hard Potterhead. The Wizarding World very much shaped the teenager I was, which carried across to the adult(ish) that I am today, and as a result, I am very much unable to withstand anything Harry Potter related. That meant, of course, that I was counting down the days until The Crimes of Grindelwald was released in cinemas across South Africa, staying off major social media sites in case a spoiler happened along my path.
That being said, I was not without my scepticism. How could they film the second of five movies in this series without the solid story or foundation that the Harry Potter series so clearly had?
There is a lot of hype around this film, and not much of it is positive. With the scandal of Johnny Depp portraying the great dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, and South Korean actress Claudia Kim cast as the infamous Nagini, there is definitely a dark cloud hanging over this production. So, was the movie worth it all?
What to expect
Without giving away the entire plot of the movie, I will say that it’s a good thing this movie is titled Crimes of Grindelwald rather than Fantastic Beasts 2, since it features very few new beasts and focuses little on them overall. The overarching theme of the film has to do with the relationship and backstory of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, even with Newt Scamander and Credence Barebone taking center stage.
I should mention that we get to see a couple of interesting and unfamiliar creatures like the Kelpie and Kappa, both of which have been mentioned in previous Harry Potter novels, and fans of the almost-too-adorable niffler will get to see their favourite furry pest in action once more, along with a couple of little surprises.
The film is exceedingly fast-paced and viewers might find their head spinning with all the twists and new information that has previously not been disclosed on either Harry Potter forums or in the books, and all-in-all it may be a little difficult to keep up.
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Jude Law as Dumbledore and Johnny Depp as Grindelwald?
Like I mentioned, I had my doubts about this movie, especially casting an admittedly attractive Jude Law as the younger version of the great wizard we came to both love and distrust over the course Harry Potter’s school career. But honestly, it was a perfect fit. Jude played the part perfectly, carrying across the traits we’ve come to know so well over the last decade or so.
It was very odd to see Johnny Depp so out of character for this part. Gone is the usually whimsy and quirkiness that we’ve come to expect from Captain Jack Sparrow, and in its place we find a dark intensity that makes it easy to see why he rivals Voldemort for the title of “Most Powerful Dark Wizard”. The combination of Jude Law and Johnny Depp as Dumbledore and Grindelwald respectively is a powerful one, and although their characters are not seen together during the course of the film – the reason becomes apparent – I do look forward to seeing their on-screen performances in the next films.
Was it worth it
I must say that I enjoyed the movie immensely, even if it wasn’t in the same vein or with same atmosphere as the Harry Potter series. A fantastic amount of backstory was revealed, a few burning questions posed and a lovely little cliffhanger introduced that leaves you eagerly anticipating the next film.
Highlight of the movie? We finally get to see what Dumbledore beholds in the mirror of Erised.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, or want to give it another look, check it out here:
Header image courtesy of Popsugar.com