An engaging placeholder film that falls a bit short
After the first few years of being entranced by witchcraft and wizardry, it becomes clear that JK Rowling’s story was a statement against fascism.
Published: 09th April 2022 08:27 AM | Last Updated: 09th April 2022 08:27 AM | A+A A-
Harry Potter is a once-in-a-generation cultural phenomenon. After the first few years of being entranced by witchcraft and wizardry, it becomes clear that JK Rowling’s story was a statement against fascism. The Fantastic Beasts series speaks of the importance of fighting against fascism and the necessity of inclusivity… here though, there is no room for subtlety. In a post-truth world, writers JK Rowling and Steve Kloves understand the importance of making it as obvious as possible and their latest attempt at doing this is The Secrets of Dumbledore.
The film continues from where it left off in Crimes of Grindelwald, albeit with a slight casting change: Gellert Grindelwald is now played by Mads Mikkelsen, not Johnny Depp. The eccentricity of Johnny gets swapped with the sophistication of Mads. Grindelwald, you see, wants to wage a war against the Muggles and have the world inhabited only by his kind. We see the makers avoiding all pretense and showing Albus Dumbledore (a brilliant Jude Law) and Grindelwald as star-crossed lovers, even though the latter has corrupted the system and people with his hate-mongering. Who should go against the machinations of Grindelwald and Co.?
The adventures of this eclectic group aren’t exactly fascinating, but the individual characters do go through their respective journeys, which makes up for the entertainment quotient. Be it the Indiana Jones-esque sequence featuring Newt and Theseus, the ballroom escape featuring Professor Hicks and Kowalski, or the final switcheroo comedy with a bunch of suitcases, Secrets of Dumbledore has a lot going for it. However, the lack of big action set pieces is a bit of a dampener.
While Secrets of Dumbledore isn’t exactly brilliant, it does feel like an upgrade on the franchise’s previous film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, which suffered from the ‘Middle Film Syndrome’. The franchise has always been planned as a five-film series, and often, in such franchises, the second, third and fourth films feel like they are building up to something large: in the case of this franchise, the final, famous war between Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore. Let’s not forget, this franchise is as much about Newt Scamander too, and this is perhaps where The Crimes of Grindelwald missed a trick by not focussing much on its protagonist. This film makes no such mistake though.
For those not acquainted with the magical world of Harry Potter, and the even more magical world of Newt Scamander, the third instalment might be a difficult beast to handle, but those who know a Qilin from a Hippogriff will see that this is quite an efficient placeholder film.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen, Dan Fogler
Director: David Yates