Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – The DVDfever Review – Eddie Redmayne

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore follows on from 2018’s The Crimes of Grindelwald, and it was originally intended that there would be five films, and they’d be released two years apart from the last.

That stood true with the first two films, but after the second one underperformed at the box office, it was speculated that they’d cut the series down to four movies. Now, it seems back on to make five, although sadly, they’ve taken it out on Johnny Depp, removed him from the role of Grindelwald – despite having to pay him the cash for it anyway, and even though it was the fault of… well, let’s not go there.

So, Mads Mikkelsen was given the role, but as well as getting rid of his white, spiky hair, they’ve also got rid of whatever the issue was with his funny eye, as Mads doesn’t have that problem, and his hair is flat.

But as well as having to try and retool the franchise and scripts a bit, everything was delayed by the Chinese Communist Government releasing a virus to try and quell the riots going on in cities like Hong Kong at the time, in late 2019. And then it got out of control as we all experienced.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Mads Mikkelsen as Gellert Grindelwald.

And so to April 2022, and while reviewing a lot more of what’s available on streaming services than the cinema in this time, I’ve lost track of when big films are coming out, so this one rather sneaked up on me. I was in two minds about seeing it, since it’s been three-and-a-half years since the last one, and I wasn’t really feeling it, but… I had the time spare.

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald were lovers many years ago. Yes, when I first signed up to watch the this prequel series, I didn’t have ‘gay love drama’ on my Fantastic Beasts bingo card. It just seems such an odd thing to throw into a fantasy movie largely aimed at children. I still haven’t seen the Harry Potter films, so I don’t know it was an element in there. After all, JK Rowling only ever seems to get into hot water when she wades into gender and relationship issues on Twitter, so you think she’d put all that aside for the day job.

They were lovers, and now are enemies, so the whole world has to suffer as they kick up a stink. However, thanks to some bizarre blood-bonding issue where the liquid ends up in a pendant, they can’t fight each other, as they would end up in great pain, as is shown early on, when we’re given a demonstration.

But before long, I knew I’d be looking up the plot on Wikipedia to fill in some gaps, because it wasn’t at all obvious what was going on for a lot of the time, and there was the customary mumbling as it went.

I did note that at the start, for the creature Newt was with, which was giving birth (which I now know is a Qilin – but it sounded like Chillin), one of its offspring was stolen by Grindelwald’s henchmen and delivered to him, one of these men being his accomplice Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who now sports long hair.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Theseus (Callum Turner) and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)

Since it’s been so long since the last film, I’d forgotten that Queenie wanted to marry Jacob and he turned her down. As such, she crossed over to the dark side and now works alongside Mads, who wants to wreck havoc on the world, but Newt has a plan which requires the help of Jacob (Dan Fogler), witch Eulalie ‘Lally’ Hicks (Jessica Williams) and a guy who presumably has some magical power, Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) – the late Leta’s brother (and he’s a wizard – Thanks, Wiki!), but for the life of me I can’t remember what. However, Newt explains that since, for plot reasons, Mads can see shortly into the future, he’ll see them coming, so they can only win by finding some way to… confuse him. Yep, this plot doesn’t get any better, really.

The whole thing feels like it’s shot in the dark. Even the daytime scenes look poorly lit, as if it’s overcast the whole time.

In addition, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is ridiculously plot-heavy (like the last one), yet there’s very little in the way of actual magic. There’s also precious little humour in the film, making this – at 2 hours and 22 minutes, the longest of the Fantastic Beasts films – quite a chore to sit through, especially when it’s such a meandering mess.

Obviously, I won’t say how things turn out, but whereas the trailer makes a big thing about Mads wanting to wipe out the Muggles, this speech doesn’t come into play until the third act. They should’ve brought that up early on, and spent the film dealing with that. Then, it would’ve had the entire film to play out, but from what I gathered, this isn’t going to be part of the next film, so it was just a wasted opportunity. I’d heard this film brought up subplots which go nowhere, but that’s definitely a major one of them!

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Aberforth (Richard Coyle)

And of my end credit adventures, I had not one but two interruptions. There are no post-credit scenes, but soon into the credits, one of the cleaners came in, clearly didn’t bother to check that there was still at least one audience member in there who was watching the credits (i.e. me) – even though they have CCTV outside for each screen – and whacked the big lights on. I asked him to switch it off while the credits were on, although I did have to ask twice, so I’m not sure if he heard my request at first, although I did also motion to switch the lights off, so I thought that was pretty obvious.

And then a couple of minutes later, a female cleaner came in, and they went back on again! I had to ask her to switch them off as well. It’s pretty obvious, I’d have thought?

Oh, and for quite a lot of the way during the film, it was freezing cold in there. Have they had the heating cut off?

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is in cinemas now, and is available to pre-order on 4K Blu-ray Steelbook, 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD.

You can also pre-order Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – The Complete Screenplay, released on July 19th, and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – Movie Magic, released on April 14th.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – Official Trailer #2 – Warner Bros

Detailed specs:

Running time: 142 minutes
Release date: April 8th 2022
Studio: Warner Bros
Format: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Rating: 2/10

Director: David Yates
Producers: David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Tim Lewis, JK Rowling, Lionel Wigram
Screenplay: JK Rowling, Steve Kloves
Music: James Newton Howard

Newt Scamander: Eddie Redmayne
Albus Dumbledore: Jude Law
Gellert Grindelwald: Mads Mikkelsen
Tina Goldstein: Katherine Waterston
Jacob Kowalski: Dan Fogler
Eulalie ‘Lally’ Hicks: Jessica Williams
Yusuf Kama: William Nadylam
Vinda Rosier: Poppy Corby-Tuech
Carrow: Maja Bloom
Credence Barebone: Ezra Miller
Zabini: Paul Low-Hang
Queenie Goldstein: Alison Sudol
Theseus Scamander: Callum Turner
Aberforth: Richard Coyle
Bunty Broadacre: Victoria Yeates
Vicência Santos: Maria Fernanda Cândido
Horst: Lucas Englander
Waitress: Cara Mahoney