Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – rated PG-13
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is the third film (out of a planned five), in the Fantastic Beasts series, a prequel to the Harry Potter series, taking place decades earlier, and based on characters created by J.K. Rowling. The film was entertaining, with creative production design, music by James Newton Howard, good special effects, some magic, and of course the beasts. However, the biggest of Dumbledore’s secrets (that he is gay) will not please some filmgoers. In addition, there were perhaps too many characters and subplots to keep track of.
The film was directed by Emmy nominee David Yates (The Girl in the Café). Yates has directed all three of the Fantastic Beasts films and also directed the last four of the Harry Potter films. The film was written by J.K. Rowling and Oscar nominee Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys). Kloves was the screenwriter for all but one of the Harry Potter films. The film cost approximately $200 million.
The film opens with magical zoologist Newt Scamander, played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl), witnessing a mother qilin (pronounced chillin), a rare deer-like animal, giving birth. The qilin are valuable for reasons we will find out later in the film. Immediately, there are those who try to steal the qilin baby.
Then we see Albus Dumbledore, played by two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley), meeting Gellert Grinderwald played by Mads Mikkelsen in a restaurant. Mikkelsen replaces Johnny Depp as the Grinderwald character. They refer back to a romantic relationship they had years ago. Grinderwald has plans to take over the magical world and wage war on the Muggles (non-wizards), and tells Dumbledore, “With or without you, I’ll burn down their world”.
Because of a blood oath Dumbledore took not to harm Grinderwald, he recruits others, including Newt Jacob, Newt’s likeable Muggle baker friend, well-played by Dan Fogler, who again adds some comedy relief, Newt’s brother Theseus, played by Callum Turner, Newt’s assistant Bunty, played by Victoria Yeates (Call the Midwife), and American magic professor Lally Hicks, played by Jessica Williams.
Credence Barebone, played by Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), who looks remarkably like a young Professor Snape from the Harry Potter films, is also one of the “secrets” of Dumbledore in the film. Jacob’s girlfriend Queenie Goldstein, played by Alison Sudol is now on the dark side.
Although I had a hard time following the different plotlines, and keeping the characters straight, the main story is about an International Confederation of Wizards election to determine who would preside over the magical world. There are two candidates and then Grinderwald is added.
Content concerns include some violence and Dumbledore being identified as a homosexual, which impacts the plot of the film. Themes include sacrificial love, doing what is right, not what is easy,