“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” filled with nostalgia, but lacks clear narrative


Riya Chinni and Da-Hyun Hong

Premiering on Nov. 16, Harry Potter fans flooded theaters to watch the second Fantastic Beasts movie, which encaptivated viewers with the mysterious identity of Credence, a unique Obscurial, created by the repression of his magical abilities. While the first movie focused on Newt Scamander’s journey on saving Credence from being manipulated by the powerful Gellert Grindelwald, the second movie is additionally driven by Credence’s desire to uncover his past.

The “magic,” also known as special effects, was amazing and life-like as always. For example, a scene where Newt Scamander uses his niffler—one of his “fantastic beasts”—and his wand to expel gold dust allowing him to track the whereabouts of a long-lost friend had us enchanted.

Filmatography-wise, the movie utilized many eye-level shots from the perspective of the characters. While it might have been confusing to watch at times, it was interesting to view the movie from the eyes of its actors. Another notable aspect of the film’s composition was the lighting. Scenes with the chilling Grindelwald were casted in blue and grey tones, keeping the mood dark and mysterious, enhancing the overall experience.

An appeal to Harry Potter fans, aside from being a part of the same film franchise, was the myriad of references peppered throughout to movie. Timeless characters such as Albus Dumbledore, Nicolas Flamel and Nagini were reinvented as younger versions of themselves and played key roles in the film.  In addition, easter eggs from the original series—such as the sorcerer’s stone, unbreakable vows, boggarts, the Mirror of Erised, polyjuice potion, the Hogwarts castle and many more—added a sense of familiarity and nostalgia to the movie.

However, the execution of the main plot was a bit difficult to follow and even the big reveal at the end left us with more questions than answers, although this may be an indicator of the third installment set to release on Nov. 20, 2020. It felt as if the movie rushed through the explanation of Credence’s upbringing to reach the final battle scene, which left us a little lost.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience and another opportunity to indulge in the incredible wizarding world of Harry Potter. There’s also definitely no shame in going just to watch the adorable Eddie Redmayne for two hours and 13 minutes.