Category Archives: films

Storytelling Is Not Dead: Crimes of Grindelwald – A Review

Please check out my previous Storytelling posts here.  And my 365 Reviews here.

Kori and I went to see Fantastic Beats: The Crimes of Grindelwald last night.  I was excited!  Not only have I not been going to the movies as much as I would like as of late, but the previews of this film are enticing.

We sat down in the theater, and I made the mistake of checking the Rotten Tomatoes score: 39%.  Uh oh…

Yeah, I’m one of those people.  I trust Rotten Tomatoes.  Have I liked a film with a low score before?  Sure.  BUT, most of the time, I’m on board with what Rotten Tomatoes is steppin’ in.  Still, I opened my snuck-in can of Coke Zero, and prepared to be wowed.

Knowing that I like to review films for this blog the night of or the day after seeing them, Kori asked if she could toss out some critique.  What follows is her take, and I’ll add a few bits after:

KK: JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is perhaps the first story since the Wizarding World was born which feels more like fan fiction than a true part of the series.  The film is long, many parts unnecessary to drive the plot forward.  Where as previous films have taken time to explore the whimsy of the magical world that we all love, The Crimes of Grindelwald sends the viewer on multiple paths of unnecessary exposition and introduction of new characters rather than letting the viewer revel in the fantasy of magic.

As always, casting is spot on.  Newt Scamander’s younger self is expertly cast (Joshua Shea), and Zoe Kravitz is captivating as the morally wrought Leta Lestrange.  Jude Law doesn’t disappoint as Albus Dumbledore, and Johnny Depp is believable in his role as the dark genius of his time.  However, the motivations behind the characters feels lacking, and the plot is over steeped in mind numbing love affairs with the complexity seen in most teen dramas.  Queenie in particular looses all the dimension she earned from the first film, and instead falls victim to Hollywood’s formula of transforming complex woman into dangerously stupid creatures motivated solely by the love of a man.  This is the biggest crime in Crimes of Grindelwald.

All that said, there are moments that achieve what JK Rowling is so good at, transforming her viewers to a completely different world.  However, what this film lacks most is a sense of humor that makes all the films preceding it so clever.  Nothing in this film begs to be re-watched.  And the end leaves the viewer wondering if the plot created by this film could perhaps be the atomic bomb that sets the Wizarding World a flame and leaves what we all love so much in rubble.

Me: Dang, that was good!  I’ll add that the creatures created for the film pale in comparison to those in the first Beasts film.  The seaweed horse is dope, but the rest are over CGI’ed and lacking the originality of the first set of beasts.  We get it, Japanese lion-dragons are cool…and don’t get me started on those ridiculous looking cats.

There are also many story-telling issues that Kori didn’t brush upon, but honestly, I don’t think we have the time.  I only felt what I think this story was supposed to make me feel about two-three times in the two-hours and twenty minutes.  The rest of the time, I was rolling my eyes at some bit of cheesy dialogue or asking “Wait, what?” about some absurdly developed relationship.

Also, between you and me, this film might have only been made to sell Funko Pops.

It’s a solid “C.”  Nothing more, nothing less.  The worst of the franchise but better than most films based on YA novel franchises; I’m looking at you, Divergent and TwilightHunger Games, you alright.

Happy watching!

Eric

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