By Hadia Chaudhry
The wizarding world once again came to life in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which hit theaters on November 16, as audiences follow the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Director David Yates, who directed the final four movies of the “Harry Potter” series and first movie of the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, attempted to recreate J.K. Rowling’s magic in this second installment to the “Fantastic Beasts” series.
In “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is being held prisoner in the Magical Congress of the United States of America, but he manages to escape to hunt Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) in Paris. Credence, who is an Obscurial, a young wizard who has developed a dark parasitical magical force as result of his magic being suppressed through abuse, is believed to be the long lost brother of Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), an old friend of Scamander’s from Hogwarts. Grindelwald’s goal is to recruit Credence to his side in order to defeat Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). Scamander works to find Credence after being asked by Dumbledore.
Cinematically, the movie is brilliant. The special effects, colors, and sounds immerse the viewer into the action throughout the movie. Viewers are also introduced to new magical creatures that were rendered beautifully. What is most pleasing about the visuals was the magic. In spell after spell, there are sparks of green, red, blue, and white.
Although the movie is visually exquisite, the storyline is scattered. For one, there is Grindelwald’s narrative, which ends up being fairly easy to follow, but not complex enough. I had hoped for a bit about how he became one of the most feared dark wizards in this movie considering the fact that there may be viewers who have yet to read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
Credence’s storyline, however, is what led to most of the confusion. While it is clear that he has magical blood, determining which wizarding family he belonged to was not clear until the final 30 minutes.
Another rather puzzling part of the movie turned out to be Nagini (Claudia Kim). Credence somehow ends up in a magical circus, where he meets Nagini, who is a Maledictus, a carrier of a blood curse. I found the inclusion of Nagini as a character to be unnecessary. She adds nothing to the plot nor does she play a role in Credence’s character development. To put it simply, she seems to be in the movie with no real purpose, except for a weak attempt at connecting to viewers of the original series.
The cinematography, courtesy of Yates, is the one shining feature of the film, but does not distract enough from a disappointing storyline. The movie attempts to do too much with the story, leading to confusion when attempting to follow the narrative.
The expected release of the next movie is not until 2020. Hopefully, it does not fail to impress its fans.