When the Harry Potter series ended its run of books and films, author J.K. Rowling brought forth a new universe that included some of the characters we love, albeit at different ages and stages in their lives, and a whole lot of new characters to meet, along with a plethora of creatures. The latest installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is now available On Demand and on DVD. (Check your cable provider for availability)
Our hero, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), leaves the streets of New York, the setting for most of 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to head to Europe. London and Paris host this chapter as Newt searches for Tina (Katherine Waterston), following clues to reach her. The two may not have left each other on the best of terms, but Newt is obviously still smitten with the Auror Tina as he tries to find her.
Meanwhile, the dastardly Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is being transferred from his United States prison, and, of course, transferring the worst prisoners always occurs without incident. Riiight, and I have a piece of property to sell you. He escapes, gathering an army and doing everything in his power to fight Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). There is one individual who just might help him accomplish this feat, but Grindelwald isn’t the only one looking for him.
There is so much going on in this film that is a steppingstone in the grand story line, possibly too much. It feels like a blitzkrieg of action unfolding before my eyes with little identification of who or what is participating. I found myself lost in a dizzying array of characters and creatures. I felt like the filmmakers were trying to stuff a lot of information into this film. Instead of leisurely introductions to some of the new characters, they are thrown into the mix at breakneck speed, and viewers are left to simply wonder what is happening until we start to connect some of the dots.
The Crimes of Grindelwald is not a bad film by any measure, just one that begs to be viewed more than once to comprehend how it fits into the overarching story being told.
I am looking forward to seeing where the Fantastic Beasts series heads in the future; they have a fun cast lined up. Maybe the viewing of those future films will lead to a better enjoyment level of this film. But until that point, I’ll just accept this work for what it was — a not quite fantastic, jam-packed, slightly above average introduction to some clever beasts.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is available On Demand and On DVD beginning March 12. Check your cable system for availability.