To discuss Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
That was fast
Will post full thoughts in a bit after I am off mobile
Same. Have LOADS to say.
Things I liked: The Kelpie
That’s a solid thing to like
I haven’t watched it yet but I love kelpie mythology
First, I was really looking forward to this movie. Also, I know creating is hard. Also, I usually keep my mouth shut if I don’t like something because I don’t like “yucking someone’s yum.”
Also also, I’ll admit that I even sent the final trailer to a few friends saying that the feel, the wonder, the emotion and energy of the trailer was how I envisioned the future Magiqverse:
That was not the movie I saw last Thursday.
- Do you notice something weird about the trailer? Scene after scene that ended up being cut from the movie. I think a major problem with CoG was that it was edited to death. Characters and motivations were made unclear, undefined, or radically altered, and subplots went nowhere.
• For example, I believe that Leta Lestrange’s character and history were changed entirely to make her more sympathetic when she sacrificed herself at the end. We see her deliberately swap her baby brother but her narration says she just wanted to have a moment away from him. I think there’s a draft where she was jealous of her favored baby brother and deliberately abandoned him out of spite, jealousy, and anger. Very Lestrange, but not very sympathetic.
I fear no one feels comfortable contesting Rowling’s decisions because she is the authority on the Wizarding World and ultimately I think it may have hurt this movie. Someone, either the studio or Rowling herself, felt that after building a beautiful new world in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that all we wanted as an audience was to roll it into the Potter timeline as quickly as possible but somehow make all of it boring and pointless. And even though they added McGonagall as a teacher at Hogwarts before she was canonically born or professed to working there, they could have at least found someone who SOUNDED like Maggie Smith’s McGonagall.
Characters. Wonderful things built in WTFT were entirely wasted in CoG. Queenie, Kowalksi, Tina, even Newt.
• Queenie and Kowalski were my favorite characters in the first FB, hands down. They were wonderfully written; they helped expand the world of magic while also allowing people new to the world to see it through new eyes. Their romance was sweet and central to the thematic divide between muggle and magic. And when we catch up with them in CoG, they find Newt for next to no reason, have arbitrarily come to London, and Queenie has cast an enchantment on Kowalski so that he will agree to marry her. I mean, does anyone remember the origin of Voldemort? He was incapable of love specifically because he was born of a situation similar to Q&K’s current narrative. And now it’s played for laughs. And Queenie’s narrative and eventual surrender to Grindelwald felt like no one saw the first movie. But if they’d had more time to expand and explore, and worried less about winking at fans of the previous books, her arc could’ve been really interesting.
• Newt and Tina’s burgeoning relationship in the first movie was obliterated by a newspaper misprint.
• A dozen new characters were introduced with backstories and motivations that meant nothing and did nothing. No one served a purpose, no one (except the bad guys) moved the narrative forward, no one and nothing felt like it mattered. Even Grindelwald’s pursuit of Credence was unclear, half-motivated, abandoned at times, driven by an arbitrary prophecy that no one had heard about before this film (and Grindelwald seemed to know nothing about in the previous film), but was suddenly terribly important, all to drag the final, limp reveal out to the last second of the movie. Even introducing Nagini was disappointing. Not only did they spend less than five minutes in the circus (arguably the most exciting part of the sequel) but they immediately escaped, and then Nagini spent the next two hours quietly limping behind Credence.
- The big point. Aside from the moments with the titular Fantastic Beasts, the movie was devoid of joy and wonder, and that’s unforgivable for a movie taking place in the Wizarding World. Even in Harry Potter’s darkest moments, there was light and joy and love and friendship. CoG had a cat-dragon.
I don’t claim to have the solution to what they could’ve done to fix it, but if they were going to reveal Credence’s family connection in the end with the reveal of a phoenix, then make the movie called Fantastic Beasts about the hunt and/or protection of a mysterious, unseen creature that if discovered will ultimately reveal the truth and lineage of the person the prophecy’s about.
Ok YES to all of this. I just saw it today and had so many similar thoughts.
My biggest issue was that I just felt so lost for most of it…probably because it felt like so many of the character arcs and major plot lines were unclear or barely fleshed out, but I had a hard time following what was going on and who mattered or didn’t matter, and as a result didn’t feel like I connected with anything or anybody.
Like, the movie is called “Crimes of Grindelwald,” and yet he didn’t even really commit any crimes…?? Other than escape arrest, hold some Trump-style rally in a cemetery, and persuade people to join him, which aren’t really crimes at all?? We know he’s dangerous, but he hasn’t done anything to actually pose a threat besides be generally “evil”, which makes it difficult to understand or care about the stakes in this movie.
Another thing that REALLY bothered me was the portrayal of all the women in this movie. Tina and Queenie, who were originally both so wonderful, ended up almost completely devoid of agency and acted irrationally according to their emotional responses to various developments? Please, those were NOT our same badass NYC heroines from Fantastic Beasts.
And then there’s Leta and Nagini, who had the potential to be fantastic female characters of color, but ended up merely tokenized as sacrificial figures. Leta’s self-sacrifice made as little sense as the aforementioned problematic swap (and really bummed me out because she was by far my favorite character in this movie). Then Nagini’s entire intrigue was because of her tragically doomed maledictus status, and she said maybe twenty words the entire movie. Maybe. And she had to wear that same tattered sexy circus costume the whole time?? In the wind and rain?? Somebody get this girl some real clothes because let me tell you il fait FROID à Paris.
Also this might be an unpopular opinion (or not maybe?) but I really didn’t care about Credence’s story. Like, at. all. So the ministry was looking for him because Grindelwald was looking for him? Right? Because of that random prophecy? I think? But all Credence does is whine about how he doesn’t know his birth name? Like ok sure THAT’S the big deal here?? And I can’t even think about the weird Dumbledore tie-in/reveal because it just made so little sense.
Ugh. I’m really conflicted because I wanted so badly to love it. And I did love the first Fantastic Beasts! But I feel like they’ve just strayed so far from everything we started out loving (magic, friendship, joy, and wonder) for the sake of a freaking JOHNNY DEPP plotline?? Like, really?? Of all people?? That’s a rant for another thread but still, come ON.
I think a lot of people will still see the movie despite all the lackluster reviews (and I do recommend it) because they, like me, feel like they owe it to the superfan in them who grew up loving everything associated with the series. But I also think it’s a really good opportunity to think and talk and take our idols to task a little bit here (@JKR), so that hopefully by the time Fantastic Beasts 3 rolls around, it will be better off for having heard our responses.
I see all of the previous critiques, and see that they were probably why, during the big fiery “climax,” I was mostly preoccupied with thoughts of “where’s the niffler?! You’d better not touch a hair on his sweet platypus-like body or so help me!”
The most sympathetic characters were the creatures (which one might expect with the first part of the title), but they had so little screen time and the content in the rest was kind of…lacking, for reasons that others have already covered plenty.
I feel like maybe in the grand five movie scheme of things it’ll even out, but it felt like there was too much and not enough in this particular one at the same time.
It kind of reminds me of how, generally, a band’s second album isn’t as good/well-received as the first.
I already knew about the whole McGonagall thing in advance (thanks to people sharing things in the HP running club I’m in), so I was at least appropriately braced for that, but I was definitely thrown at the end with that reveal.
There was one theory that I read somewhere on the way home from the theater that I might consider as reasonable, and can share if anyone else wants to see if it holds water.
I’ll of course still see the next one. Hopefully it’ll have more of what gave us hope for the series from the first installment.
(And @AG_Catherine, the blur option is hiding under the gear next to the emojis)
Omg yes THE NIFFLER I was so concerned they were gonna pull a Dobby on us with that one. But yeah I’d be interested in hearing the theory!!
There were a few different theories posed in the thing I read, but the most reasonable was that Albus’ sister’s issues were related to being an obscurus, and that it went to inhabit Creedence when she died (presuming, of course, that obscuruses work that way), making it so Grindelwald could call Albus his/its brother.
Interesting…I’ll have to mull that one over for a while
In addition to the critiques shown here, I’ll add my own words.
The movie I saw left me with a small headache. It wasn’t magiqal. it was…conflicted about what it wanted to be. The first movie was fun and exciting and actually involved the titular Fantastic Beasts. this movie…didnt.
I lament the story lines, from Leta to Queenie, and find that the characters were just…lackluster.
Most everyone (with a small exception of Newt) seemed to be of one note, whether it was the characters from the british ministry, or even Flamel. They were reduced to small notes of character, but even so, they deserved better.
We should have had more inclusion of the beasts, and true characterization.
my biggest gripes are
1.The inclusion of a “Blood Pact” (which should’ve been in the possession of both in my opinion) as the sole reason Dumbledore wouldn’t move against Grindelwald.
2. The exclusion of more with the beasts which was the whole fun about the last movie.
3. The misuse of all of the characters present.
4. The “Twist” at the end…which just about gave me a figurative aneurysm.
5. NO INTERNAL CONSISTENCY
(not even including Nagini and McGonagall)
honestly. the biggest issue i had was the…attempt…at ‘canon welding’ and how much is messed with the world and the movie.
Maybe it was Writer’s Remorse, or maybe it was bad editing. im not sure.
but whatever it was, made for a lackluster movie and especially one thats set in as magiqal a universe as the Wizarding World.
Honestly, To fix the issues shown. i’d have tried to keep with the idea that Newt was going to help free a beast of some kind. like the cat dragon from the circus. we could’ve used that as his ‘Reason’ for going/being in Paris. not just to follow after Tina. then the run-in with credence and nagini could’ve happened, and there could’ve been more…story? tina and newt could’ve still had some sweet moments, and actually gone over the whole fiasco with the newspaper clipping. queenie and jacob’s story…was painful, and could’ve gone a different way. maybe with queenie trying to bring him round to moving away from MACUSA (which is the subject of another rant i want to have on another day, but not right now.)
just…we deserved better from this world of wonder. not a lackluster performance that took all the best parts of the last movie and just…did away with them.
i just want there to be more…magiq in this franchise, and more magiq and hope even in the world of…progressively bad imagery and the rise of a wizard…not unlike other despotic rulers.
even in the darkest of times, we are the light that shines through. no one exemplifies that light and the power of love more than a hapless hufflepuff, who wants nothing more than to show people that the beasts they live with aren’t dangerous, just misunderstood.
Please let me know if anything needs to be blurred or changed.
I went in wanting to like this movie, I really did. I can excuse a lot in a narrative for world building. This was…nothing. It felt like the movie equivalent of an off-brand saltine cracker. I even spent the first hour after I saw it defending this movie, trying to make sense of the plot (did that qualify as plot??). I was talking with my friend and one of our main critiques (other than the main ones y’all have already addressed) was that the world was too perfect. Nothing felt lived in. The Harry Potter films had the sense of things being used. FB has none of that charm, and everything is cast in a weird sepia filter that adds nothing to the film.
I expected at least a set up for the third film, but was disappointed with the convoluted movie I got instead. No character has a reason for being where they are, there are no stakes, and every character that I had loved in FB1 suddenly became this 2D twisted version of themselves.
So I’ve just got out of the cinema and honestly the only crime was the film itself. I feel like you could remove every character except Grindelwald and the film wouldn’t change much. Fantastic beasts and Grindelwald should be two separate film series. This was probably the most pointless film ever.
So, I’m just popping in over here to say that after seeing the first scene with Queenie in it, I couldn’t event finish the movie. It wasn’t worth staying awake for. I will try again later, of course. But that was… really sad, and not in a narratively intentional way.