Mar 042019
 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is another lackluster movie of this new franchise that, especially when we go to Hogwarts for a short time, made me wish I was watching the Harry Potter franchise instead of this one.

 

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
(2018)

Genre(s): Fantasy, Family, Adventure
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 134 min. – $44.95 | March 12, 2019

Date Published: 03/04/2019 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: David Yates
Writer(s): J.K. Rowling  (characters); J.K. Rowling (written by)
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller,  Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Johnny Depp, Jude Law
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD): English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 1.5/5


I wanted to have some hope that despite a rather ho-hum beginning with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, that The Crimes of Grindelwald might correct the course of this uninspiring spin-off from the successful Harry Potter franchise, sadly even with some low expectations, this sequel shows it’s in the running alongside the Habbit trilogy of being entirely unnecessary, but worse, not all that entertaining and pretty dull.

The film, taking place in 1927, opens with dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (JOHNNY DEPP) escaping while in transport to be tried for his crimes in Europe. Being unable to confront Grindelwald himself, Albus Dumbledore (JUDE LAW) enlists the help of Magizoologist Newt Scamander (EDDIE REDMAYNE) to find his trail. Meanwhile, there are others in search of Grindelwald as well, including his own brother Theseus (CALLUM TURNER) working for the British Ministry of Magic, and Tina Goldstein (KATHERINE WATERSTON), on the behest of the MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America). Also entering into the mix are Jacob Kowalski (DAN FOGLER) and Queenie Goldstein (ALISON SUDOL), the former’s memories retained due to some BS reasoning that only his bad memories were erased. Sure.

So basically this ensemble, which also includes the return of Leta Lestrange (ZOE KRAVITZ) also working for the Ministry and whose back story is developed a bit more and her relationship with Newt that began back at Hogwarts, has them traipsing around Paris in search of not only our villain, who has developed a cult-like following, but also Credence (EZRA MILLER) as he is searching for his birth mother while Grindelwald himself wants Credence for his own nefarious purposes.

As I mentioned, the first Fantastic Beasts, despite the technical aspects, was a rather underwhelming experience, a film that did a clunky job in world-building (compare that to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which felt far more natural) and gave us characters that frankly weren’t all that interesting, including our main character, Newt. Now with this sequel, we get the same people as before and we’re given even more back story to a few others, including Newt’s brother, Credence, Lestrange and Grindelwald himself… and yet I still could not give two hoots about any of them, Newt especially who seems like someone, as quirkily portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, is better suited as a supporting player than the focal point of this franchise.

Beyond the lackluster characters and the actors playing them, the plot, as complicated as it might appear while watching, doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot going on except for the final 10-minutes and a soap opera-esque reveal that is supposed to launch viewers into part three, which as of this review, hasn’t even been written, though supposedly the studio is taking their time to “get it right” (a lot of that going around for Warner Brothers, i.e. their DC properties).

In terms of performances, not sure there’s any true standouts. Dan Fogler probably comes out the best of the ensemble in spite of the lazy way his character was brought back but he easily has some of the better scenes; Eddie Redmayne was okay but with such a boringly, albeit quirky, person, isn’t all that interesting, though Redmayne has shown himself to be a hot and cold kind of actor; Jude Law enters the fold as a young Dumbledor and I’d give him a bit of a pass for a limited role, will judge him more in further installments, although there is some “controversy” concerning his age as Dumbledor during this period was 80; Johnny Depp is very Johnny Depp here, gladly however he doesn’t go overboard like he did with Alice in Wonderland, but frankly, he doesn’t exactly deliver anything approaching either menacing or charismatic playing someone who can inspire others.

Once again, returning the direct is David Yates who has now spent most of his career in the “Wizarding World” helming 6 of his 8 movies in that realm (with 3, 4 & 5 coming up… supposedly coming up). Yates is entrenched in this universe and in terms of his direction, it’s not bad as the bulk of the problems with both Fantastic Beast movies laid at the feet at the screenplay written by author J.K. Rowling. It would seem that maybe, if this series is to make it to a fifth movie, perhaps another writer could come in to aid and maybe even another director to interject some new blood.

In the end, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is another failure and unless  the studio, with Rowling, come up with some way to make the necessary corrections, specifically on the writing, I’m not sure if the fourth and fifth movies might not end up on Warner’s streaming service. On the upside, I will say the technical aspects like the visual effects, costume and production designs were all well done and there is passion behind-the-scenes, shame the rest didn’t come together.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5


This release comes with a glossy slip cover and inside is the redemption code for the Digital HD copy of both the theatrical and extended versions, which is the only way to watch that cut as it’s not present on either discs. Wave of the future with these digital exclusives, I guess.

J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed (10:15; HD) is an interview with the author and screenwriter on creating this offshoot set in the Wizarding World and the challenges of writing the sequel and the collaborations with the filmmakers in crafting the story.

Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life (19:22; HD) – This featurette finds Ezra Miller and Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood in the last four Harry Potter films) come together to watch scenes from The Crimes of Grindelwald and discuss it as both are superfans of the franchise.

Distinctly Dumbledore (9:31; HD) looks at the casting of Jude Law as the younger version of the iconic character and what the actor brought to the role.

Unlocking Scene Secrets (49:09; HD) is a set of six featurettes: “The Return to Hogwarts”, “Newt’s Menagerie”, “Credence, Nagini and the Circus Arcanus”, Paris and Place Cachee”, Le Ministere Des Affaires Magiques: The French Ministry” and “Grindelwald’s Escape and the Ring of Fire”.

Deleted Scenes (14:23; HD) – There are 10 scenes that failed to make the final cut but presumably some were re-incorporated to the Extended Cut.

 


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 4.75/5


Warner Brothers releases Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers respectively. The picture looks fantastic throughout, detail is amazingly crisp and sharp while colors, even with the darker look of the film (like the others in this series from Yates), does look quite good. The picture is aided by the HDR (Dolby Vision is also available), most noticeable during Depp’s Grindelald’s scenes and his albino appearance. Black levels meanwhile are stark without seeming crushed. As for the Blu-ray, the picture is almost equally as impressive also sharp though I did tend to notice a slight difference compared with the 4K UHD disc; otherwise it’s still an excellent transfer.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


Both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs come equipped with a Dolby Atmos track and while I would not call it a feast for the ears or anything, still was relatively impressive coming to life from the opening escape sequence to the action scenes during the Paris chases while the quieter moments do show off the slight ambient noises for the rear channels and dialogue come through the center speaker with good clarity.

 


OVERALL – 2.5/5


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is another lackluster movie of this new franchise that, especially when we go to Hogwarts for a short time, made me wish I was watching the Harry Potter franchise instead of this one filled with bland characters whom I could care less about. As for this 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack, both the video and audio transfers are fantastic and there is at least a fair amount of bonus features to check out.

 

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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