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Review: “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” didn’t share many secrets

The third film in the new Wizarding World series changes the plot’s focus.

By Natalie Metcalf, Staff Writer

Two time Oscar winner Jude Law stars in the third installment of “Fantastic Beasts.” (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Enchanting and nostalgic music demolishes a plot-hole filled screenplay and mediocre acting, as “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” left audiences utterly confused.

David Yates directs his seventh Wizarding World movie, with insufficient screenplay writing from JK Rowling – the author of the “Harry Potter” books. James Newton Howard's composition carries the film, incorporating his own spin on the classic “Hedwig’s Theme” by John Williams. What should have been jaw dropping plot-twists, turned into confusing plot-holes.

“If you listen closely enough, the past whispers to you,” says Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law).

This is an obvious and unsuccessful attempt at foreshadowing from Rowling. Audiences do not need to be told the film is about Dumbledore’s past, as that has been previously established.

The screenplay contains too many cheesy one-liners such as “three points to Hufflepuff” and “I got [my wand] for Christmas.” Rowling added a political aspect to the storyline, which is reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany. This comparison is uncomfortable to watch, as she romanticizes facsim rather than explaining why it is dangerous.

The main characters of the first two “Fantastic Beasts” movies have now become secondary characters. While Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) still interacts with his magical creatures, the series focuses on the Dumbledore family and Albus’ relationship with Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelson).

While Mikkelson excelled in portraying the central villain of the series, Johnny Depp as Grindelwald was noticeably missed. Mikkelson’s Grindelwald is less playful and more reserved and deadly – ironically your typical James Bond villain. Depp’s Ginderwald in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018) provided moviegoers with a villain who does not take himself as seriously.

Redmayne and Callum Turner – who plays Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander – are a better part of the film. Their chemistry reminds audiences that the Wizarding World is still expanding and growing as a film franchise.

But the Wizarding World does not need to bring back characters from the “Harry Potter” films in order to introduce new ones. Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) was absent through much of the film, which is a problem considering she is one of the main characters from the first two “Fantastic Beasts” movies.

The reveal about Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) is anticlimactic with the Dumbledore family rendering his character unimportant. Miller’s performance was the worst out of the entire cast. Unlike Credence in the first two films, he is whiny, needy and awkward.

Out of the three films in the series so far, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is inferior to the past two films. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016) is the best one because it can stand on its own. In the first film, there is no mention of Dumbledore. Audiences are shown the American Wizarding World, which is refreshing and new. The second film, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is not terrible, but begins to stray into unwanted territory. Once Dumbledore is mentioned, the series is no longer new and fresh.

While any “Harry Potter'' fan would enjoy seeing Hogwarts on the big screen once again, this movie does not bring the series forward in any way. The plan to stop Grindelwald is to merely distract him, which does not provide any character development or climatic action. A lot of absolutely nothing happens in the film.

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