(First Look) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald

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So this is the first time, I’m really doing a “First Look” type of thing with a movie coming out. I kind of did it with Beauty and the Beast with the trailer but this time I’m doing with the first picture they released.
But I think it’s important to note first, that I thought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was fine. Check out my review here. But I had my issues with it, mainly with it being unfocused and boring. They tried to do too many things in one film and I didn’t really like that. Now, I’ve seen comments about how they felt that these movies were “shoe-horning” the Harry Potter-isms in the movie and this one is going to be even more of that, mostly with Dumbledore being involved, but I think that’s silly because it’s a prequel universe to the Harry Potter timeline… so why wouldn’t they put things we’re already used to seeing in this movie? I mean…?
The Title
Regardless though, I think it’s the whole “fantastic beasts” thing that is being “shoe-horned”. The beasts felt like a subplot in the first one and that bothered me with a film called “Fantastic Beasts and WHERE to Find Them”, I mean I get it. But it felt unimportant compared to everything else going on. I thought the film was going to focus on Newt trying to capture these beasts and what not but it didn’t really focus on that. It was part, but it felt sporadic. Why is this one called Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald? Why can’t it just be called “The Crimes of Grindelwald“? That makes much more sense to me than putting the Fantastic Beasts in front of the title. If it’s going to be about them catching Grindelwald, then let’s leave it at that. It can be argued that “fantastic beasts” refers to Credence (Ezra Miller) and the unnamed girl in the picture next to him (Claudia Kim) being that he’s a Obscurus and has somehow survived from being attacked in the last movie. Not that I thought he actually died. He seemed to powerful for that. Claudia Kim is supposed to be a Maledictus, a person who turns into an animal, so maybe that works but it just seems odd and doesn’t fit together “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald“. It doesn’t roll of the tongue lol.
The Picture Itself
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So I like it. I don’t think it looks weird or anything. I like the feel of it and it definitely fits into that 20s theme. I like how in the stagnant picture how everyone kind of have their own thing going on.
  • Albus looks great in his long coat, I wonder though he long it takes him to become the eccentric Dumbledore we know as an older adult.
  • Grindelwald also looks great, I don’t care what anyone says, but I think Johnny Depp looks great in this picture and I’m excited for him.
  • Tina and Newt are close together and she is leaning towards him but Newt is just looking awkward as always.
  • It’s cute that Jacob has his hand on Queenie’s arm and she’s leaning into him.
  • Theseus almost looks a bit… scary in the center but I also think it’s interesting how Newt is behind him instead of being center himself. Anyway, Theseus and Leta look like a pure blood couple lol.
  • Credence and Maledictus (I’m sure that’s not her actual name, it’s unknown right now) look interesting in the corner. I mean, honestly, my eyes go to them first. But Credence is hunched over but not in the way he hunched in the first movie, in the first movie, he hunched because he was always scared or sad but here he’s hunched (it really seems like a natural state for him really) and has this look like “mess with me but I’m also trying to control myself” lol, plus with Maledictus hanging on him and she has a sad look on her face too and I love her outfit.
Now if you look at the picture with the YouTube video and how it moves. I can’t find a gif so just look at the video lol.
  • Albus immediately turns his head and look at Grindelwald, which I think is so interesting. Obviously they have a history and it looks like Albus can’t help himself… plus he’s chasing him. So double entendre lol. Make note that Albus does NOT have the Elder Wand yet.
  • Grindelwald doesn’t really move, the only thing I thought moved was his expression. If you look closely, he looks like he’s smirking but the smirk goes away. Not sure what that’s about. Does he feel bad about what happened between him and Albus? Meh, I doubt it. Maybe he feels bad about what happened with Credence since he worked so hard to make him trust him. Dunno but it’s interesting. Also make note that Grindelwald has the Elder Wand (one of the Deathly Hallows).
  • Jacob and Queenie don’t move position, but they both sort of look at Grindelwald. Queenie’s smile goes away when she looks at him and Jacob’s eyes look at Grindelwald.
  • Theseus and Leta look at each other. That’s about it.
  • Credence doesn’t move but Maledictus’s expression saddens and she leans on Credence more. I can’t help but wonder Credence does for her what Tina did for him previously, and in a way what Graves did for him.
  • Tina immediately turns and looks at Newt. However, before he awkwardly looks at her, she turns away. I don’t know how long it’ll be before they *spoiler alert* get together and married but maybe that’s foreshadowing that they keep dancing around each other.
  • Lastly, Newt shifts awkwardly before turning to look at Tina (who just looks away), he does an awkward double take before slightly glancing at Leta and Theseus.
The Characters Involved.
So we have returning characters but also a good group of new characters. I wanted to go a bit more into them from what we know and to what we might find out.
Returning Characters.
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander: He is a self-proclaimed Magizoologist. He has finished his book about magical beasts. He works in the Ministry of Magic in the Beasts Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures (whew a mouthful). In this film, he is supposed to be working alongside Albus Dumbledore in apprehending Grindelwald who has escaped from MACUSA, because he has thwarted Grindelwald before. I liked Newt fine, he’s definitely odd but I also don’t think I got attached to him at all because he just felt like he was there. I hate to compare but Harry Potter is so loved because he felt like a real person, regardless of him being new to magic the first time we meet him, he still felt real. Newt doesn’t feel that way yet.
  • Katherine Waterston as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein: I’m trying to figure out why she went back to MACUSA after they tried to execute her without any real evidence or trial. That’s weird. But anyway, she’s a MACUSA Auror who works mostly with the Major Investigations Department. Spoiler alert again… she’s Newt’s love interest because they get married down the line. Tina was kind of meh in the first movie, so hopefully they’ll allow her character to be more likable here.Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski: I really liked him in the first movie, he was a great addition. But… why is he here? To be Queenie’s love interest? I like them but I hope he has more to do than that otherwise he’ll feel useless.
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein: I really liked Queenie, she reminded me of Luna Lovegood. I know that she and Jacob will be reunited even though his memory was wiped at the end of the first movie. I also hope she has more to do because I did really like her. She’s also a Legilimens.
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone: I love Ezra Miller. LOVE HIM. I knew his character wasn’t dead even though the attack on him at the end of the first film, seemed pretty final but he seemed way too powerful to be destroyed like that. So, somehow he’s returned and I wonder what his role will be like. In the first one, he was so abused that he violently repressed a lot, including his magic, which made him powerful. But, I want to know what happened to him, how he came back etc. Apparently his role will continue to expand in the series which I’m down for because his character was interesting.
New Characters.
  • Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald: He is a Dark wizard who commits violent attacks throughout Europe and causes mass chaos in US. He wants to build up his forces and create a New Wizarding Order (similar to Voldemort). Apparently he escapes from MACUSA. He shares a long, deep and mysterious relationship with Albus Dumbledore until they got into a big fight. I think Johnny Depp looks very good in this photo. A lot of people have talked about him, and while I agree he looked weird at the end of the first one, he looks much better here. He looks healthy and in his right mind. He looks mysterious and kind of sexy, it’s kind of weird lol. Grindelwald is supposed to be sleazy and that’s what he looks like, he’s the opposite of Dumbledore. I’m very interested in seeing what happens with him. I really want Johnny Depp to get a win, I’ve always loved him and I want him to do well in this movie. I wonder if Grindelwald will get back in contact with Credence as himself this time since he’s been outed and no longer Colin Farrell.
  • Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore: He is an extremely and powerful wizard in the British Wizarding Community. He is known for his academic excellence and is currently the Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts. He believed in Newt when he was expelled from school which makes sense why he goes to him for help in catching Grindelwald. I think Jude Law also looks FANTASTIC as a young Albus. I’m really interested in seeing how he plays him considering we’ve had two older Dumbledores both being very good at different parts of the character in the Harry Potter films. I can’t wait to see how things turn out when he comes face to face with Grindelwald.
  • Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange: She’s shown very briefly in a photograph in Newt’s possession. It seemed like they had a thing in school, mostly where Newt liked her. I don’t know much about her but according to the wiki “she is a damaged and confused young woman who still exerts a large amount of control over Newt, who might still be in love with her”. She risked the life of a student at school, responsible for Newt being cast out of a lot of British wizarding society circles, all because he took the blame for some of her crap. She of course is related by marriage to Bellatrix Lestrange. In this film, she is engaged to Newt’s brother Theseus Scamander. As I said, I don’t know much about her but I really like Zoe Kravitz and I know she’ll do a good job, but I’m curious as to what her character will be like in the film. I’m also interested because it’s Zoe Kravitz! So are the Lestranges black or what? That’s so exciting lol.
  • Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander: The older brother of Newt. They have an interesting relationship in which they don’t really understand each other but they’re nice to each other. He is described as a “war hero” in that he fought in WWI (so did Newt) and works in the Auror Office. He has spent the year hunting Grindelwald and is engaged to Leta Lestrange. I don’t know much about him either. I don’t know if Pottermore goes into detail about him but for one I’m curious to see how he and Newt interact (especially since Eddie Redmayne is older than Callum Turner) and if their relationship is actually a strained one that they pretend isn’t, not to mention, with Newt probably still having a thing for Leta. If you look at the moving picture, Newt does kind of look at her before looking back at Tina (who looks away before he looks at her), so maybe Newt and Theseus don’t really get along. I mean Theseus looks like a douche.
  • Claudia Kim as a Maledictus: Nothing is really known about her, I’m sure her name isn’t Maledictus but she has a blood curse that causes her to transform into a beast. In this film, she is the main attraction of the wizarding circus and freak show. That’s definitely interesting to see, we already know that the wizarding world can be cruel, especially when it comes to “blood impurities” so I’m curious to see how she and Credence meet since in the picture, she is draped over him. I’m interested in her period. I want to know how she got caught, how long she’s been in the circus and I’m assuming she escapes, so I want to know how.
The Costumes/The Look
So one of the strong points of the first film was definitely the costume and the design. I really liked how the film looked a lot. I think this photo embraces that as well. Yes, I can get this all from a photo. Now to go down the line.
  • Albus is wearing an AWESOME coat. I want it. I love long coats. I do wonder when he stopped wearing those awesome coats and started wearing those long robes. Don’t go to the dark side Albus! Keep the swanky coat! Plus that beard! He also looks a far cry from the man we end up knowing. Dumbledore has had a lot of sadness in his life so I’m not surprised. Again, he’s not holding the Elder Wand.
  • Credence really looks different. First of all, you can cut glass on Ezra Miller’s face but this is a big difference to the black coats in the first movie. I can’t help but wonder if he works in the circus and that’s how he meets Maledictus. He looks like he’s wearing worker clothes but the expression on his face is also an extremely new one. It’s angry.
  • Maledictus looks beautiful. I love her outfit. I wonder what she turns into, maybe some kind of bird due to the detail on her leggings. Or what if she turns into a Occamy!? The design on her leggings kind of look like the scales of an Occamy and her hair style looks like the feathers on its head. Oh man, what if I call that? That would be so awesome!
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  • Leta Lestrange as I said looks nice, I really like the color on her and while I’m sure Leta and Newt are about 29 (Zoe Kravitz is 28) it just makes her look too old. Maybe it’s the type of dress and the hairstyle. She looks beautiful as always but there’s something I don’t like lol.
  • Theseus Scamander first of all, looks like a douche but he’s wearing a standard three-piece suit. It looks nice but it looks sharp and severe.
  • Tina looks soooo good here. Her hair really annoyed me in the first film, even if that was the style, but I think this looks much better. I guess going back to work for MACUSA did her good. Her coat is amazing, it looks like silk but hard to say.
  • Newt looks just like he did in the first film, with that yellow vest and that long green jacket. I like his look. It’s frumpy lol but it works for him. I really like his coat.
  • Jacob looks the same and he looks nice. I really like his suit too, I think it’s blue and the little detail of his tie is really nice.
  • I LOOOOVE Queenie’s dress! Oh my goodness that thing is amazing! Her shoes! Wow! It’s quirky and sexy just like her.
  • Grindelwald is wearing a GREAT coat. It’s kind of like Albus’s but he’s too cool that his  is open. I like the pockets of his pants and his vest. He looks like a gentleman but at the same time, he doesn’t because he’s wearing a lot of layers and it seems a bit overkill but it works for him. Plus, the hair, lol this look kind of fits Johnny Depp.
My Hopes for the Film
As I said before, the first one is fine, I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t really like it either. I really want this film to be:
  • Focused. That was my biggest problem with the first film is that it was unfocused. There was a lot of storylines going on that the movie didn’t seem to know which one it wanted to follow and by time it figured it out, the movie was already ending. There already seem to be a lot going on with Albus and Newt going after Grindelwald who has escaped. I’m sure Tina will be helping in some way as well. Theseus will probably show up as he’s been chasing Grindelwald for a year. What will Queenie and Jacob be doing? Just connecting? Will Leta actually be around or is it really in flashbacks? What about Credence and then Maledictus? There already seems like a lot going on, I just hope that they can handle the multiple storylines and make it come together for the film. I love that J.K. Rowling is writing the screenplay but I think you can tell she’s a novelist.
  • A Strong Story. This goes hand in hand with it being focused, but I don’t doubt it will be an interesting idea, but I want it to be STRONG. I want to care about what’s going on, not to be bored. It will never replace the Harry Potter stories, but I want these movies to build on the huge and ever-expanding Wizarding World and make me love it even more. The first one didn’t do that, it just felt unnecessary. I want this film (and the ones coming after) to feel necessary. I want the story to be intriguing that I can’t wait for the next one.
  • Interesting Characters. I don’t doubt that the acting will be good as I thought the acting was fine in the first film, I didn’t dislike any character, I just didn’t really much about a lot of them because they didn’t have a lot to do, or they were just there because the script said they had to be. But I really want everyone, including the new characters to be interesting. I’m not asking for the script to go into so much detail about everyone, I mean that’s almost impossible for a movie like this (if it was 3 hours long then I’m sure it could), but at least give us enough that it feels satisfying. I also hope that the returning characters are built upon and not just continuing the story without any real reason of being there.
  • Good Music. Let’s keep the good music flowing around here! I like good movie soundtracks! It sounds shallow but that’s what I want lol.
So that’s all I got for now. There’s a lot to be said from this one picture and that little video. I think there’s a lot of potential but I also think it could be along the same vein of the first one where it’s just… okay. I don’t want a movie that belongs to the Harry Potter Wizarding World to just be okay. I didn’t get around to reading The Cursed Child but I didn’t hear many good things about it and I don’t want this set of prequels to be thought of collectively like that book(play) is. There’s so much in the Harry Potter world that there is room to be explored and be built upon without having to worry about a set of books to go by, there’s room for new stuff but I hope that doesn’t ruin things.
I’m not really excited from the one picture (trust me, first look photos for other movies have gotten me freaked before) but I’m hopeful.
  • What do you think of the photo?
  • The video?
  • Do you think this cast looks good?
  • What do YOU want to see be explored in this movie?
  • What is your favorite Harry Potter book/movie?
Let me know in the comments! Please don’t forget to like this post and follow this blog!
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) Review

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Summary: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.
So anyone who knows me knows that I love Harry Potter, pretty much everything surrounding Harry Potter. I even ran a fan forum site for quite a long time, various ones. My latest one ran for about four years. Anyway, when I heard about this movie, I was curious more than excited. I of course know about the book on which it’s loosely based as it’s a textbook and not an actual novel. So I was excited about it and at the same time I was like meh. But I wasn’t going to pass any type of judgement before I saw it. But below are my thoughts on the film.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. Eddie Redmayne is a great actor. Newt is adorable and awkward and sometimes he comes off really strange. I’m not sure whose idea that was but Eddie pulls it off, almost too well to the point where I kind of cringed lol. He’s very soft spoken, he kind of walks a bit hunched but that’s just his personality. He’s loyal to his beasts and his friends and I liked his whole vibe. I can see why he’d say people thought he was annoying but I think he’s endearing more than annoying. I’d listen to him teach about the beasts. I liked that when he was being brave outside of his actions, his face showed a different emotion, like he was trying to be brave but he was nervous about being brave. He’s eccentric and introverted and he’s just so interesting. I hope he’s in the later films.
  • Katherine Waterson as Tina Goldstein. An American witch, she is grounded “down to earth” and desperate to get back to the position she was in before. She witnesses Newt trying to get back his Niffler and tries to take charge but she’s only treated like a reject. She is very much rule orientated and a lot of times that gets in the way of what’s trying to be accomplished and she has to learn how to be a more flexible. I liked her enough, I don’t think she was all that interesting as a whole but there were interesting parts. The actress is British and I thought her American accent was believable, being that it’s 1926 in New York that helps because the twang is slightly accented, at least to my North Carolinian ears lol.
  • Dan Folger as Jacob Kowalski. He is a muggle or nomaj (American word), who works in a cannery but he wants to be a baker. He is accidentally exposed to magic and brought into this whole thing which helps build a nice friendship with Newt, which I think is one of the strongest aspects of the film. He’s funny, a bit charismatic, he kind of reminds me of Jack Black just not as funny or over the top. I liked that he even though it was all so weird, that he stuck it out and stayed by Newt’s side, a willing participant. There are some emotional things with him though. I liked the way Folger portrayed him, he wasn’t a bumbling idiot like he could have been, he may have been a little “silly” but what muggle wouldn’t be when dealing with magical elements, outside of immediately finding them cool.
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein. I actually really liked her and I wanted a bit more of her. She is Tina’s younger sister, a legilimens, which helps her kookiness, she is a free spirit in the way she talks and presents herself. Also very kind with a big heart, she takes to Kowalski pretty easily and I feel like she would have a great friendship with Newt but we don’t see them interact with him enough but I wanted it. I liked her interactions with Kowalski, so cute.
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone. I love Ezra Miller, I think he is a great young actor and I’m glad he’s being in more films. I think he was a little standout in here even though he wasn’t in it that that much. He’s part of the “Second Salemers”, his adoptive mother is the leader and he’s just hunched over, quiet, kind of mysterious and weird. He’s working with Graves to an extent (not going to give much away there) and he was just so interesting. His whole story was interesting but… it was a lot.
  • Colin Farrell as Percival Graves. He is a high ranking Auror, almost seems like the Magical President’s right hand man. He was also an interesting character, mysterious, kind of a closet mean person. I think Farrell was great in this role, where you want to be on his side but at the same time you’re unsure at his overall plans.
  • Other Characters. There are a lot of characters in this movie, as per a Harry Potter world film. I’m not even going to begin to talk about them all but all of the characters were handled well enough I’d say, as this is going to be the start of more films, characters like the President better be more prominent. Zoe Kravitz had a cameo lol, I would like to see some flashbacks lol.
The costumes. Colleen Atwood is amazing. I always love the costumes for movies she does,  I knew she did the costumes here too. I think she has a certain style that she manages to keep even though she does it for the atmosphere of the film. Newt’s jacket alone is amazing. I loved Carmen Ejogo’s entire look, same with Queenie. I just think she does such a great job. They’re always so lovely.
The Fantastic Beasts. The animation on them… wow. A bowtruckle is a tree guardian that looks like a little twig man, oh my goodness, so cute. I love Newt’s relationship with Pickett, it’s just so cute. The demiguise is a beast that can turn invisible, also adorable. Erumpent is an elephant/rhino like creature that has some pretty funny moments in the film. Niffler is a little fur ball that likes shiny things, he also brings in a lot of laughs and I love the animation on his expressions and movements. Occamy is a snake like creature with wings… it’s so pretty, the only snake I like. Swooping Evil is a bird like creature and I love how Newt uses him in the film. Thunderbird is my favorite, similar to a griffin, they have the ability to control the weather, their rain even wipes memories. Handy.
The connections. Of course with films like this, I love when there are hints to the Harry Potter world we know. There is a lot of information out there thanks to the books, Pottermore etc but the fact this new HP themed movie keeps all of that in mind just made me smile. Newt’s love of Hogwarts (he’s a Hufflepuff), the mention of Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindlewald, the Lestrange family, the Ministry and the nods to the future textbook that Newt is going to write respectively. I love it all.
The relationships. I mostly liked Newt’s relationships with Kowalski and the creatures. His friendship with the muggle was cute because it started off a little rocky and it was subtle but I think it was evident that Newt really cared for him. Not to mention, his relationships with the creatures. I wanted to see a nice friendship with him and Queenie and I’m glad that while it was going into a romantic relationship with Tina, it didn’t end on one. That allows for them to spend more time together. I also was interested in Credence and Graves’ relationship but again, there was so much going on in this film, I don’t think that connection was fleshed out as well as it could have been.
The musical score. James Newton Howard (Pretty Woman, My Girl, Space Jam lol, The Dark Knight) wrote the music for this film and there are some hints of Hedwig’s theme in there but otherwise it’s original stuff. I really liked it.
The story. Now I’m going to talk about another side of this later but I liked the story. Newt makes a stop off in New York on his way to Arizona to free his Thunderbird but because that pesky Niffler escapes, he ends up having an adventure he wasn’t expecting to have in New York. That’s cute, it’s simple but it allows for some fun. However, there’s other things going on, something is destroying parts of New York and without giving it away… it makes for a bit more of a layered story. It’s fresh compared to the Harry Potter story we’ve come to know and love which makes it fun!
The Magic. I love magic.
Cons:
Overcrowded. I think the movie is cool and I liked it but I think there is just way too much going on. I know it’s going to be expanded with four more films which is fine but I think there’s a lot going on here that it could have waited for the sequel.
Slow in some parts. Even though there is a lot going on in this film, there are a lot of places where the film lags. The pace slows and a few times it lost my attention which never happens to me in a movie, especially a Harry Potter like film.
Lacks Heart. I don’t know what it was but I felt like this movie lacked the depth it should have had. It had a lot in it that I enjoyed but overall, a lot of what makes Harry Potter great is the heart and while Harry and Newt are vastly different, there’s just something missing about this film. It’s supposed to be the first of a string of films but it just got bogged down by trying to set up other films that the heart got lost. I think this is also why I got a little bored in there too. There are really no stakes, especially emotional ones.
Overall, I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but I don’t think it’s of the same caliber of the previous Harry Potter movies and I’m saying that strictly as a film series and not as book adaptations. I liked the characters enough, especially Newt Scamander and Kowalski, everyone else were likable enough but almost unnecessary. I could much rather watch Scamander finding and rescuing/catching these beasts (which is what I thought it was about) than what the end result turned out to be. I feel like this film missed the mark of becoming the beloved start and “revival” but I mean, it’s fine I guess.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Did you like it? Do you agree with my rating? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.
Which is your favorite Harry Potter film?
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