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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Fantastic Beasts sequel casts a weak spell, says Rashid Irani

There’s little by way of plot in this fantasy adventure based on JK Rowling’s book, and it’s cluttered with pointless allusions to current conflicts.

movie-reviews Updated: Nov 15, 2018 17:36 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
The one saving grace is that Eddie Redmayne is back as Newt Scamander, star pupil of Albus Dumbledore and key player in the fight against arch-villains.
The one saving grace is that Eddie Redmayne is back as Newt Scamander, star pupil of Albus Dumbledore and key player in the fight against arch-villains.
         
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
  • Direction: David Yates
  • Actors: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law
  • Rating: 2.5 / 5

The sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) is so over-plotted, it’s almost incomprehensible. This is of course the franchise based on JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts… book, in which she explores what her created world was like before Harry Potter.

Returning director David Yates takes the viewer across magic-inflected realms in New York, London and Paris, circa 1927, where the forces of good and evil are constantly at loggerheads.

Elements of darkness and despair clutter the narrative, and the outcome of it all is oddly unengaging. There are clunky allusions to current conflicts along lines of race, gender and divisive politics. If it all sounds pointless, you’ve got the right picture.

Johnny Depp hams it up as the dark-arts wizard Grindelwald.
Johnny Depp hams it up as the dark-arts wizard Grindelwald.

The dark-arts wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp, hamming it to the hilt) has recently escaped from custody and is warning detractors to “pledge your allegiance or die”. It is up to a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), soon to become headmaster at Hogwarts, his star student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, reprising his role) and their allies to thwart the arch-villain’s plans.

Crammed with sorcerers, witches and non-magic beings (or No-Majs) the storyline also introduces an assortment of mischievous new critters, some cute, others creepy.

Like most fantasy adventures overly dependent on computer-generated jiggery-pokery, a feeling of déjà vu pervades the second installment of the planned five-film franchise. Here’s hoping the next three biennial iterations cast a more effective spell. 

First Published: Nov 15, 2018 17:36 IST