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Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (PG)

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By Funnyvot Auditorial - - 5 Mins Read
JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts film franchise, for those who have been living under a rock since the turn of the century, is her way of expanding her Harry Potter universe while also keeping David Yates employed - after all, he directed the last four Potter films and directed the first two Beasts.  The third episode, The Secrets of Dumbledore, has a lot of buzz surrounding the film because one of the primary characters, Grindelwald, is being played by Mads Mikkelsen instead of Johnny Depp. We finally receive this third installment, which I believe is part of a projected five, after being delayed by the COVID pandemic - and the issue that nags me is if it's worth the wait. It's enjoyable to watch, but it falls short of the magnificence of the Harry Potter flicks. To get Harry Potter fans to queue for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, you don't need a magic wand. For those unfamiliar with JK Rowling's Wizarding World (a trademark held by Warner Bros. and JK Rowling), Mads Mikkelsen is the main incentive to see this lackluster picture. The Danish actor replaces Johnny Depp as the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the first two Fantastic Beasts films, which are prequels to the multibillion-dollar Harry Potter franchise. Warner Bros. dropped Depp from the part after his tumultuous divorce from fellow actor Amber Heard, which included charges of domestic violence. I like Depp as an actor, but Mikkelsen, who was recently featured in the Oscar-winning Danish film Another Round as a tippling high school teacher, is a wonderful replacement. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, whom he portrays in the engrossing TV series Hannibal (2013-15), is basically transported to the magical and Muggle (that is, human) worlds. Because this film is set in the 1930s, he borrows his vintage attire from Hannibal, which is set in the 1990s: magnificent three-piece suits and colorful ties tied in a big knot. Grindelwald makes his feelings about Muggles chamomile apparent early on, over cups of tea with Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), the good wizard and future Hogwarts headmaster. “Can you smell it?" he inquires.  "The stink," says the narrator. "Is it truly necessary to abandon your own species in order to save these creatures? ” That immediately transported me to Shakespeare's Coriolanus: "You common howl of curs! Whose breath I despise" - and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen. Sadly, nothing much happens in the next two and a half hours. This film is directed by David Yates, and it was co-written by Rowling and another Harry Potter regular, Steve Kloves, who, outside of the magical franchise, wrote and was nominated for an Academy Award for the great 2000 drama Wonder Boys, starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire.  The fundamental plot thread is that the leader of the magical world is up for election. Grindelwald succeeds to get himself on the ballot paper despite the fact that he is a wanted fugitive. "The world will hear our voice, and it will be deafening," he promises his fans. Dumbledore and the other good wizards, notably Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the Keeper of the Fantastic Beasts, know that if Grindelwald is elected, he will darken the magical world and wipe out the human one. They assemble a ragtag army to combat Grindelwald and his fascist-looking allies, which includes Muggle baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler, who is well worth watching). Dumbledore says, "Dangerous times favor dangerous men." With its 1930s background, this film is advertised as a look at how wizards joined the war effort as World War II loomed. Now might be a good time to look at a possible link between magic and human disputes. Was Alan Turing, the codebreaker, a wizard? Was Mata Hari, a covert agent during World War I, a witch? This possible historical interplay is, however, underplayed aside from a few apparent hints like Grindelwald's followers donning black shirts. The script is mediocre, which is disappointing given the writers' abilities. Overall, this film feels like just another unmagical installment in the Harry Potter franchise, which has grossed over $US9 billion worldwide. What are Dumbledore's secrets, as the title suggests? I believe the main – and possibly only – one is revealed over Grindelwald's cup of tea. It's significant, but it's also something we all already knew or suspected. It's also worth mentioning that Grindelwald exits the London tea shop empty-handed.