(This post will contain spoilers for the newest film in the Harry Potter franchise, proceed at your own risk!)
I went to see the Crimes of Grindelwald on Friday evening, after a busy day of physiotherapy at the hospital. I have very mixed feelings about the film which are liable to change on a near hourly basis, but I wanted to be able to make up my own mind, rather than just relying on takes I’d heard from others. Bits of it I enjoyed – Eddie Redmayne was a delight, and the Niffler was adorable. I just wish there had been more of that and less of almost everything else! The thing I really enjoyed about the first Fantastic Beasts film was the inventiveness of the magical creatures, and watching Newt go around New York trying to retrieve them. This one seemed much less focused on Newt Scamander and his creatures and much more focused on Grindelwald aka Wizard Hitler. This was kind of what I was expecting but I don’t personally find it as creative, as interesting or as engaging as the first Fantastic Beasts film. Even asides from my feelings about Johnny Depp, and about Nazism-as-allegory, he had very silly hair. (A minor point, but something that distracted me nearly everytime he was on screen)
There were two main things that I found very uncomfortable about the film – the fact that Nagini was a woman of colour transformed into a snake (which to me makes her whole storyline very uncomfortable) and the fact that a woman clearly coded as Jewish (who can also read minds!) could seemingly so easily be swept up in Grindelwald/Wizard Hitler’s rally.
There were good things about it though, and it wasn’t bad enough to warrant me saying ‘the real crime of Grindelwald was that film!’ – I had genuinely been planning this if it was truly dire. Much of it was just a bit meh, and like the latter Harry Potter films, it felt like it had lost its sense of magic and wonder. I’m really not sure how they’ll be able to drag it out for three more films! Jude Law’s Dumbledore was as useless in terms of actual practical help as he is in the original books and films, offering platitudes that sound clever but don’t actually mean anything or help at all – but he is a good watch. I still have Opinions on the queerbaiting but those might be better off waiting for a later post.
It’s not a film where I would say ‘you need to see this NOW’ but neither is it one I’d warn everyone against. (As I say though, my opinion on it is constantly changing so you might get a different answer if you asked tomorrow!)
I’ll leave you with this final thought:
when did Dumbledore go from this: