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A long list of reasons why I hated ‘Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald’

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A long list of reasons why I hated ‘Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald’

The newest installment in the Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Try saying that 5 times fast. What a mouthful) opens in theaters on November 16th. I would consider myself a fan of the Harry Potter series as I adored the series in grade school and still enjoy it today. I read the books, I watched the movies, I even dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween. I grew up with this universe. However, in 2016, 5 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2  JK Rowling and David Yates teamed up once again for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (FBAWTFT); a spinoff based on an educational book in the Harry Potter Universe. It followed Newt Scamander, an awkward Eddie Redmayne type character whose magical creatures get loose in 1930s New York. FBAWTFT was fine, I guess. I felt kinda uninspired, but there was still some fun to be had. The sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (FBTCOG) is horrendous and one of my least favorite movies of the entire year, and here’s why.

1. JK Rowling’s Script

Does anybody remember Drake and Josh? The fabulous Nickelodeon show about two polar opposites who are forced to become friends and brothers when their parents marry. I do. What a great show, right (It’s on Hulu for anyone wanting to watch). There is an episode where Drake and Josh go to work at a Sushi packing plant. Their job was simple, take the sushi off the converter belt and put it into an assorted box. However, as the brothers work, sushi begins to move progressively faster. It moves so fast that the brothers resort to throwing the sushi at the ceiling to make it look like they packed it all.

JK Rowling is Drake; haphazardly throwing all her sushi at the ceiling seeing if any of it will stick (it doesn’t) and Josh is the audience; sadly stuffing their face full of sushi.

This is a long-winded way of me saying that the script is incredibly overstuffed, but this is all I was thinking about during the movie. JK fills the movie full of unnecessary characters, and unnecessary side plots that the movie feels like it’s about to blow. There is so much happening, yet it feels like nothing is happening. The stakes are raised and the film acts like the fate of the world hangs in the balance, but there is no tension or impact to anything. The insufferably sluggish pace makes the already too long 2 hr 15-minute runtime feel like an eternity.

2. Uninteresting Characters

Remember when I said that this movie is full of unnecessary characters, the ones that ARE necessary are so boring. The actors are trying their best, but none of them have much gravitas or charisma on screen. I liked the muggle baker. He was the best part of the first movie, and he is one of the only redeeming aspects of the second. He was funny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newt and Tina’s romantic relationship is stale. It’s unconvincing, poorly written, and clumsy. I don’t believe that these two people care about each other at all. None of the returning characters have developed over the span of 2 movies, and all the new characters don’t change either. Eddie Redmayne is okay, he does his classic Eddie Redmayne shtick, soft mumbling. Ezra Miller is edgy Ezra Miller. Every character is flatter than Squidward in that one episode of SpongeBob Squarepants. You know, the episode when Squidward and Spongebob are protesting the Krusty Krab and the masses of fish process to run over Squidward after Spongebob tells them is a fun fair at the Krusty Krab. (I’m not sure why I’m referencing Nickelodeon shows so much).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It isn’t all bad though, this movie teased a young Albus Dumbledore, and that leads me into my next point.

3. Not Enough of Jude Law’s Dumbledore

If you watch the trailers for FBTCOG, you will see that the advertising makes it a very big deal that a young Albus Dumbledore will be present. I got excited when I saw this because I thought Jude Law was perfect casting, and he was the best part of the movie. Too bad he was only in the movie for 10 minutes. He was charismatic and had an extremely interesting conflict with the main antagonist of the story, Gellert Grindelwald (we’ll get to him soon). Instead of using this conflict to create some gripping character drama that the movie desperately needed to keep me awake, it is saved for a later sequel to ensure max profit. Maybe the sequel that explores the conflict will be good, but that doesn’t make this movie any better.

4. Too Much of Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald

Like Jude Law, Johnny Depp doesn’t have much screen time as the sadistic, power-hungry, Grindelwald. Despite his sparse appearance, he is still in it too much. Johnny Depp is not the revered actor he once was. His performance in the original Pirates of The Carribean film is iconic and magnificent to this day. However, he has rightfully been under much scrutiny after a slew of controversies and horrible acts. I was so disappointed when it was revealed in FBAWTFT that Johnny Depp was Grindelwald, not the far superior and not problematic Colin Farrell (seriously though, Colin Farrell is so underrated). Grindelwald is written by Rowling to be very intimidating; she wants the audience to tremble when he appears on the screen. She wants the young children in the theater to cower in fear whenever his presence graces the screen, but I just giggled at Johnny Depp’s bleach blonde everything. I mean, look at this guy, he looks ridiculous.

He shouldn’t be laughable. He should be a sadistic sociopath that will not stop until he gets what he wants. The movie is called “The Crimes of Grindelwald” so you expect him to do some kind of evil deed or villainy. Like mustache-twirling villainy. But Grindelwald commits like 4 or 5 crimes in the entire movie. Johnny Depp has committed more crimes than his bigoted wizard counterpart. Depp’s dialogue, cadence, and delivery are equally bad. Grindelwald is a pathetic villain.

5. Bad Direction

David Yates has made last 6 Harry Potter movies. His first being Order of the Phoenix 11 years ago in 2007. This franchise is in desperate need of a new voice. Every movie has the same visual style that is becoming increasingly stale. FBTCOG has glimpses of good direction with maybe 1 memorable and noteworthy visual sequence, but it is mostly forgettable and bland to look at. A 30s period piece with wizards and Fantastic Beasts should be whimsical, charming, and old-fashioned. FBTCOG is none of those. The direction of actors is poor; everyone’s (Jude excluded) emotional reactions to “powerful” scenes are laughable.

6. Bad Editing

FBTCOG is 2 hrs 15 minutes, and it still feels like it was hacked to pieces by the editor/studio. The abrupt transitions between scenes cause a sense of confusion and don’t create a sense of flow or progression. Watching this movie is extremely confusing because of the overstuffed plot, and choppy editing. The movie will bounce from location to location, character to character without any cohesion. One particular scene sees Newt, Tina, Jacob, and new character Yusuf (I had to google his name) are in the sewer. Yusuf is unconscious and the other characters are discussing an exit strategy and in the middle of the conversation, the scene cuts to a wide exterior shot of a fantastic beast running through New York. The next shot, all the characters are out of the sewer and Newt tries to calm the beast. In a state of visual confusion, I said “what just happened. When did they get on the street” and was promptly shushed by the older gentleman next to me, but he didn’t know when they got on the street and neither did the movie.

7. Bad Ending

FBTCOG has so many characters, stories, and other stuff that you’d think it would culminate into something grandiose, satisfying, and engaging. Nope. The characters all gather around and switch off delivering clumsy exposition that explains certain things to the characters and audience. After that, the good guys get together and cast one spell together to stop a large force, and after that Rowling includes a 3rd act twist so dumb, so fanservice-y, so horrible that I uttered “You have GOT to be kidding me” and was shushed by the same older gentleman once again. I stormed out of the theater, angry, disappointed, and confused. Like seriously confused as to what had happened in the movie.

FBTCOG probably isn’t the worst movie to be released in 2018, but it is my least favorite. No other movie has squandered its promise as badly as this. I left the theater angry. No other movie has made me angry by its sheer buffoonery. 3rd grade me who liked almost every movie he saw, and dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween wouldn’t like this absolute mess of a movie.

Don’t go see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

For real. Don’t.

Go see something worth your time.

Watch The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix.

See Widows.

Not this.

⭐️/5

 

 

 

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