More Fantastic Beasts

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The first movie in the Fantastic Beasts series was, well, fantastic! The new sequel, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”, did not disappoint…too much.

The wonderful characters return, including Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).  We also learn more about Newt’s life. We’re introduced to his brother, they have a complicated relationship, and get to see his unique home in London where his creatures live in the basement.

Several characters from the original Harry Potter series show up, including Nicolas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky), Minerva McGonagall (Fiona Glascott), Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), and even Nagini (Claudia Kim). I love how they tie the new stories to the original ones. The Fantastic Beasts series, although written last, takes place before all of the Harry Potter books, but they’ve still managed to intertwine the two. The setting is in the 1920s and I love the vintage cars, clothes, and scenery. The movie takes place in London and Paris, and they even travel to Hogwarts!

Although Newt’s creatures occasionally save the day, in this movie they have less focus and Grindelwald has more. I think this makes the second movie darker than the first. I missed some of the humor and warmth.  There were still comedic moments, Newt’s quirky personality draws most of the laughs along with Jacob’s playful moments of trust and loyalty. But sometimes the darker moments tended to overpower them. Occasionally it was difficult to follow the plot because it was a little confusing and moved too fast.

I like this sequel, but I definitely prefer the first movie. In the first film you have more time to get to know the characters, the setting, and the plot. The second one feels rushed. I also wish the sequel was less focused on good versus evil rather than magic and fantasy.  However the acting is fantastic and the special effects are stunning. This is a good movie to see at a theater because the sound effects are powerful when they’re that loud.

Kids eight and up will enjoy this film. There is a fair amount of violence, but nothing very gruesome. I would recommend seeing “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” before you watch this one, everything will make more sense. You’ll definitely appreciate it more if you’ve read or watched Harry Potter. Overall this is a very good movie.  It’s hard to predict what will happen next, I’m often on the edge of my seat. Although it is dreary, I love the funny moments. I think it’s worth a trip to the movie theater.