Thursday, November 15, 2018


Eddie Redmayne    Katherine Waterston     Dan Fogler     Jude Law     Johnny Depp
Zoe Kravitz     Allison Sudol          Ezra Miller     Credence Baregone     Carmen Ejogo

     The second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series tells about the renewed threat from the dark wizard Grindelwald, who has escaped from the custody of the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) and has a devious plan to create a new world wherein non-magical beings will be subservient to the wizards who have pledged loyalty to him.  In this framework, one is either for or against him, and he demands a declaration of loyalty.
     The alarm goes out in the wizard world about this new threat, and Dumbledore (Law) charges Newt Scamander (Redmayne) with joining forces to stop him.  Newt is handicapped a bit by MACUSA’s forbidding him to travel internationally, but he is managing to get around that in his and friend Jacob’s (Fogler) journey searching for their loves, sisters Tina (Waterston) and Queenie (Sudol)
     One of the drawbacks of the film is in the script with its multiple plot lines involving so many people it’s hard to keep track of everyone and all the sub-plots involved.  There are the relationships between Jacob and Queenie, Newt and Tina, and Credence and Leta; there is the historical relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald; there is the relationship between Newt and his beloved beasts (quote:  “Newt has never met a beast he didn’t love”); there is the question of the true identity of Credence (Miller); and, finally, there is a question of who among all these characters will take up with Grindlewald and help him in his master plan.
     Director David Yates has collaborated with J. K. Rowling (author of the books on which all the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films are based) on the last six productions, and she has written the screenplays for the two Fantastic Beasts films.  This partnership, along with other consistent members of the team (Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, Production Designer Stuart Craig), returning actors Redmayne, Waterston, Fogler, Sudol, Miller, and Depp, and the visual and special effects artists contribute a kind of consistency in quality that make the series popular with general audiences.  However, many viewers—possibly more discerning—are picking up on the repetitiousness and “tent-pole” characteristics of these creations.
     Eddie Redmayne’s talented acting is a plus in the Fantastic Beasts series, although whether it can endure the number of upcoming productions remains to be seen.  It’s been agreed that he will remain in his role.  In this film, he, Waterston, Fogler, Law, Kravitz, and Sudol pull off their roles admirably.  

This latest offshoot of the Harry Potter series is attempting to hold onto its popularity with the general public.

Grade:  C+                                    By Donna R. Copeland

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