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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
The Observer

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ should have stayed secret from the public


A long time ago, a wise man said that “Harry Potter and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race” and I'm sorry to say that the newest Wizarding world movie proves this statement true. The third entry in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, “Secrets of Dumbledore” follows the events of the last movie, “Crimes of Grindelwald” and sees magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his gang of misfit wizards trying to prevent Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) from being elected as the leader of the magical world.

While I could tear this movie apart from a hundred different angles, let’s start from the obvious: Why the hell is this movie still called Fantastic Beasts? I understand that the 2016 movie was a hit and warranted sequels featuring the characters and magical creatures from that, but there are barely any fantastic beasts here and said characters make no sense being in this story. Newt is a glorified zookeeper and his friend Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) is a muggle who realistically should’ve been blown up by some spell long ago, but the audience is supposed to believe that they are the only ones who can stop wizard Hitler instead of the actual magical authorities.

The new critter that this film introduces, the “Qilin,” can see into people’s souls, and the entire Wizarding political system depends on who magic Bambi ends up choosing. Yes, the extremely intelligent and advanced wizard society depends on an animal to choose for them who is the president and Grindelwald concocts a fool proof plan to bewitch the Qilin and make it pick him.

In case you’re wondering why Grindelwald, a known criminal and fugitive, is allowed to stand for election, the movie itself barely bothers to explain that. This takes me to the next point, how unfocused and meandering this film is. Since Grindelwald can see into the future, the heroes try confusing him through a convoluted and ultimately pointless plan that goes on equally pointless tangents that have no bearing on the plot or the characters whatsoever.

The titular Dumbledore (Jude Law) himself is absent throughout good portions of the story as it's explained that he and Grindelwald, due to a magical pact they made in their youth, physically cannot harm one another and therefore he depends on Newt to save the day. While at first this seems like a massive problem, as Dumbledore is the only wizard powerful enough to stop Grindelwald, this whole "pact charm" plotline is also pointless since this supposedly unbreakable powerful spell is broken completely by accident at end.

Speaking of pointless, all the useless characters from “Crimes of Grindelwald” are brought back for no other reason than to waste time on subplots which could have been altogether skipped. There’s Newt’s brother for example, Theseus (Callum Turner), who is imprisoned for 30 minutes of the movie and could have been entirely removed from the story with no consequence whatsoever. I am not exaggerating when I say that about half of the characters could have been absent and nothing would have changed. In fact, about an entire hour of this movie could have been removed and nothing would have changed

If I had to give positives about “Secrets of Dumbledore,” I would say that the effects are great as always and Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as Grindelwald blows Johnny Depp out of the water. Instead of acting and looking like some deranged homeless man one might find in a subway station, Mikkelsen is as cold, calculating and cruel an evil mastermind like Grindelwald should be.

Ultimately, “Secrets of Dumbledore” is the price that we as a society must pay for allowing Potter mania to continue in the year of our Lord 2022, a movie and franchise that only exists as a cash cow for Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling as evident by the fact that it was probably written in about 5 minutes with no effort whatsoever.


Title: “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen, Ezra Miller, Dan Folger

Director: David Yates

If you like: Harry Potter, wasting money

Shamrocks: 2 out of 5