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movie reviews
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

The story fails to impress.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Author J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books are based in 1990's Great Britain, but that story was finished even in movies a long time ago. Later on we got a series of other movies titled Fantastic Beasts, and this prequel happens mostly in the 1920s of the US of A, and especially in New York. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released in 2016, and later in 2018 we got Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Covid-19 delayed the third movie, but now it's finally here as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. With it's almost two and a half hour-long runtime, we get the same quality as the first two films. Meaning that technically it is a marvel to behold, but the story doesn't really do that much.

For two whole movies the audience has been prepared for an epic duel between the two most powerful wizards of all-time. These are Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), a professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and his childhood friend and old lover Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). They have a big difference in how to deal with people with no magic, or so-called Muggles. Grindelwald wants to kill them all, but Dumbledore will have none of it. The worst thing about this final epic duel is that there is no epic final duel. I'm serious.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
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In the previous two movies Grindelwald was played by Johnny Depp, but has now been replaced with Mads Mikkelsen. They didn't even try to make Mikkelsen look like Johnny Depp's character, but it's not a problem. In fact, Mikkelsen's Grindelwald feels like a real person, a charismatic leader hungry for power, instead of a semi-funny cartoon character.

Another obvious thing is that Albus Dumbledore is presented as a homosexual. If I recall correctly, this has been previously confirmed by author Rowling herself, although not made fully clear in the Harry Potter books. I suppose the idea was to create one extra layer of conflict between Dumbledore and Grindelwald: it's a lovers' quarrel. This modern twist doesn't hurt the story, but it doesn't help it either. From beginning to end, Dumbledore and Grindelwald are talking like two heads of state in an important negotiation. This way you don't get a feeling of two ex-lovers talking to each other.

On a technical level Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is as good as it gets. Special effects are great, and in terms of pacing, those slower dialog sequences are then followed by big actions scenes. Music is mighty, as you would expect, and those familiar Potter tunes are the best of the bunch. All actors are doing a great job, and the same can be said about the people in charge of dressing the actors in marvellous suits. But... all this is just a dressing on top of a great story, which is not there, including an epic final duel (which is not there either).

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a great and enjoyable movie on a technical level, but it lacks a meaningful story to make an impact.

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05 Gamereactor UK
5 / 10
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