Review of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (2022)

trailer from YouTube

Last night, we watched this for our Saturday night pizza and bad movie offering. The pizza and wine were good.

Plot:

In 1932, “Magizoologist” Newton “Newt” Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) tracks a beast known as a qilin in the jungles of China. She gives birth. The newborn looks something like a fawn with long mustaches and a razorback. It purrs when it’s happy. It can see into a person’s soul

Out of nowhere, three people appear. They kill the mother and chase Newt, who tries to protect the baby. He is knocked unconscious. The bad’uns, led by Creedence Barebone (Ezra Miller), disappear with the orphan qilin.

Newt revives and returns to apologize to the dead mother. He finds another living baby, which he puts into his briefcase.

In the meantime, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) meets with an erstwhile lover, Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). Grindelwald stands at the moment accused of various and sundry crimes. He also stands for election to the Supreme Mugwump International Confederation of Wizards (ICW). He must be cleared of those pesky criminal charges before doing so.

Later, the present Mugwump, Anton Vogel (Oliver Masucci), is happy to clear the villain without a trial or an apparent reason, despite a warning from Dumbledore. But this is Germany in the 1930s, so we all know where this is going, right?

In an earlier scene, Creedence brought the first qilin to Grindelwald, who explained that because the qilin can see into a person’s soul, they can judge a worthy ruler. They will bow down in front of such a one. Grindelwald isn’t playing any odds, though. He slits the qilin’s throat and, in a pool of blood, sees his old flame Dumbledore gathering friends around him in a way that could defeat him.

When they were young and in love, Dumbledore and Grindelwald swore a blood oath. Dumbledore has what looks like an old-fashioned pendant. Inside contains a drop of each of their blood. They cannot fight each other without suffering magical and painful consequences. However, Dumbledore can recruit others.

Thoughts:

This is the third installment in an expected series of five Fantastic Beasts films and the eleventh in the Wizarding World film series, which includes, of course, Harry Potter. The first two are Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). The character of Newt Scamander is the central (…maybe…) to the series, as he finds and deals with fantastical beasts of various kinds. He has about him at all times an animated twig and a platypus.

The animation of the movie is top-notch, whether it was crab people or waves on the ocean. CGI filled the film, and it was entertaining. I have no complaints there.

However, the story gave the viewer the feeling of a retread. We’ve been here before. The bad’uns open a briefcase that they expect to hold the qilin only to find pastries. The pastries multiply at an enormous rate, threatening the lives and limbs of the bad’uns, just as the disturbed treasure did in Gringotts bank.

A couple of things remain unexplained. How does the spy planted in Grindelwald’s camp survive the legilimens’ (mind reader’s) scan? Does he recover the memory of his lost sister? Or he’s happy to give it all up for the cause?

Some questions regarding the identity of Creedence Barebone are answered. Imagine the chagrin of Grindelwald: he wanted to be Supreme Mugwump but instead gets to watch the qilin pick his old boyfriend—who turns down the job! Is there any doubt Grindelwald is a crazy ex? What did Dumbledore ever see in him?

This is not a bad movie, but it is bland and something of a re-run. If you’ve enjoyed the franchise, watching this to keep up with the overarching story should be enjoyable.

There are political inferences, of course. I hesitate to spell them out, but I saw a parallel to 1930s Germany and Grindelwald’s calling for the destruction of the non-magical world in the past. Perhaps others might draw additional inferences.

This is too recent to be available for free download, but it is available to buy or rent online. We got ours from the library. The only extra on the DVD was people talking about going back to Hogwarts. Not exactly enlightening.


Title: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

Directed by
David Yates…(directed by)

Writing Credits
J.K. Rowling…(screenplay by) &
Steve Kloves…(screenplay by)
J.K. Rowling…(based upon a screenplay by)

Cast (in credits order)
Jude Law…Albus Dumbledore
Cara Mahoney…Waitress
Mads Mikkelsen…Gellert Grindelwald
Eddie Redmayne…Newt Scamander
Katherine Waterston…Tina Goldstein

Released: 2022
Length: 2 hours, 22 minutes
Rated: PG-13

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

2 thoughts on “Review of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (2022)

    1. Understand. If you couldn’t get through the second film, you definitely couldn’t get through this one. It’s a shame, because there are some great moments, but there are only… moments. No, this was a disappointment. I can’t blame the actors. It was the story.

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