Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Movie with Abe: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Directed by David Yates
Released November 16, 2018

Today’s movie market is saturated with so many remakes, reboots, and sequels. Often, the final category involves follow-ups to films that weren’t even the original installments in their series, building on a number of previous movies that tell an extended story with an entire host of characters. These movies sometimes exist simply to build up to the next one, introducing new heroes and villains with distant relations to those from entries years earlier whose roles may not become apparent or prominent until several films down the road. While drawing in new audiences is a perk, the primary function of these installments is to entertain the loyal fans who return simply for the overarching saga.

In 1927, powerful wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes as he is being transported from New York to London to stand trial. Trying to gain his international travel privileges back, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is drawn back into the hunt for Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who only wants to know who he really is, something Grindelwald believes he can exploit and use in his quest to unite his followers for his cause of wizard superiority. Newt’s search includes a desire to reunite with Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and an eternal loyalty to the one man everyone believes capable of defeating Grindelwald: the renowned Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law).

This movie gets off to a furious start as Grindelwald’s dangerous and villainous nature is shown through this violent escape, starting this foray into the wizarding world off on an enchanting and alluring note. The film’s above summary reads as confusing without the context of the first film in this series, in which a number of the characters were first seen, but this reviewer, who didn’t see that film, was able to follow most of the events even if some background details were missing. This film unapologetically ends on an enormous cliffhanger designed solely to invite audiences back for the next chapter, but if the excitement of this one is any indication, another visit to this fantasy world is worthwhile.

This film’s cast is large, something that helps to keep it moving as it pursues its various threads. Redmayne is closest to a lead, and his shy, peculiar nature is a great way to frame this story, equally filled with the wonder of so many creatures and the terror of what Grindelwald’s future world would resemble. Depp knows just what scenery to chew as Grindelwald to make him believable, and Law captures the pure if self-assured nature of the famed Dumbledore. Zoe Kravitz stands out as Leta Lestrange, a Ministry of Magic employee with a conflicted past that make her unsure of what her true purpose in life is. This film is fun and engaging, full of dazzling visuals and, even more potently, the continuation of a mesmerizing vision of a world beyond human imagination accessible enough to the casual viewer.


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