Oh boy. This is going to be a fun post. For the past several months, I have been working on my Masters thesis. Its a final project in the programme, where you pick your own topic to research for several months and get graded on it. It’s similar to the final year project I had to do last year, but a little longer. Anyway, I chose to do my topic on the figure of the author in literature, and chose to analyse the author, J.K. Rowling.
Yes, this woman. I’m already getting annoyed just thinking about her. Now, I dont mean to say I hate Rowling. On the contrary, I consider her one of my favourite authors and she is the main reason I started writing in the first place. Thats why I chose her for my thesis. However, my respect for this woman is dwindling fast and Ill tell you why.
For my thesis, I knew I had to watch Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. I hadn’t gotten a chance to watch it, and now was the perfect opportunity. I watched it for the first time several weeks ago and oh god. Why, J.K. Rowling?! I hated this movie with a passion. Why would you do this, Rowling?! And I came to find out, I am not the only one who hated this movie. Many people/fans hated this film. But I’m not here to talk about the collective thought on this film. I’m going to tell you why I hated it so much. Keep in mind that I watched this film a little while, so my thoughts are very all over the place and this will become ranty.
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I was excited. I loved the first Fantastic Beasts film. I loved the story of Newt Scamander, coming to New York with a briefcase full of magical creatures and going on an adventure. The characters were so relatable and interesting, that I couldn’t help but love everyone. I also loved the character of Newt. He brought so much character to the screen, without being expressive. He plays a animal lover, without the social cues of a human. He prefers taking care of creatures, than conversing with humans. So he tends not to look people in the eye, hide away his expressions and tends to more rude towards humans. But thats what makes him a fascinating change to the original protagonist of Rowling’s stories, Harry.
Newt just wants to find his creatures. He has no destiny to uphold. No sense of a greater duty to mankind. He serves himself and thats it. But seeing him warm to Tina, Queenie and Jacob in the first film, made me love him even more. I loved the integration of Grindelwald into the story, which showed that Fantastic Beasts connects the lore of Harry Potter. I was excited for what was in store in Crimes of Grindelwald.
The story and characters
The plot of this film was all over the place. We were following several perspectives of the film, such as, Newt, Tina, Queenie, Jacob, Grindelwald, Dumbledore, Credence and Nagini. There were too many perspectives that it clogged up the narrative. And a lot of the characters didn’t do anything to push the plot forward. For example, Newt was asked to become an Auror to help find Credence. (Why they asked a magic zoologist to help in an important mission, I dont know). He refuses, but Rowling needed him to be in Paris for some reason, so she made up the plot detail that Tina was in Paris. And thats the only reason why he goes there.
I ship Newt and Tina as much as the next person. But it felt like Newt was misplaced throughout this film. Why does he need to be in Paris? Why does he end up at Grindelwald’s meeting at the end? He’s just there. That infuriated me. Rowling, why put sweet Newt into a narrative he shouldn’t be in? If you wanted him in the story, give him a proper reason to be there. Just like in the first film, where he was bringing the Thunderbird to Arizona. Oh wait, Rowling discredited that information in this film, when Dumbledore asked if Newt told anyone the real reason why he went to New York. Anyway, moving on. The first scene of Jacob and Queenie in this film was awful.
Firstly, the explanation for how Jacob’s memories came back is ludicrous. He says that the potion used for the rain in the last film, only worked on bad memories. Jacob did not have bad memories since he spent the majority of them with Newt, Queenie and Tina, so the potion didn’t work on him. That contradicts the ending of the first film, when we see Jacob having no memory of the wizarding world. Also, Queenie putting a curse on Jacob so he would marry her. This was wrong on so many levels, as this is not Queenie’s character. She is too sweet to ever consider doing that to Jacob, especially if she loved him. Also, the fact that Queenie joined Grindelwald’s side. I can see it from the idea of the law against witches and non-magical people to be together. However, the fact she went to Grindelwald’s side without Jacob and with Jacob against Grindelwald, it made no sense. The point for her to agree with Grindelwald, is that shell end up with Jacob in the end. Next is Credence and Nagini.
I loved Credence in the first film. Tragic and powerful character. He had a strong storyline in this film, with trying to find his real family. That was cool. But it also felt lacklustre with Grindelwald’s involvement. The reason he was in Paris, was because Grindelwald set a path for him to follow. Okay? And Nagini, you had no purpose in this film. Her character was pushed into the trailers and promotions of the film for nostalgia points. She only spoke 5 words throughout the whole film. She had no story. There was no development in her relationship with Credence. So when Credence joined Grindelwald’s side, she was upset. Why? The film showed no relationship. Rowling didn’t make me care about these characters, which leads me onto the next character, Leta Lestrange.
I was excited for what her role would be in the story. What did we get?? Nothing! The first film eluded to her character and that was a great scene. It gave hints to a relationship between Newt and her. However, I got the impression that Newt had feelings for her and she didn’t reciprocate. In this film, it was the complete reversal. She is engaged to Newt’s brother, but the film presents us with flashbacks of Leta and Newt when they were kids. It looked like the film was going to push more of this deeper love between Leta and Newt. But that doesn’t happen. There were a couple of flashbacks, Leta seems interested in Newt, but Newt doesn’t seem to care. Also, her final scene where she says, “I love you” to the Scamander brothers. The film confused her relationship with Newt so much in the narrative, that I didn’t know who she was referring to. Maybe that was the intent, I dont know. It just didn’t work. Also the reveal of her murdering her brother, Corvus Lestrange was just cliched soap opera type.
Random Guy: Oh, Credence. You are our long lost brother, Corvus. The product of a sexual crime against this guy’s mother. (I dont remember this guys name, and since he served no real purpose to the film, except for giving this crap climatic revelation, it doesn’t matter).
Leta: No, he cant be Corvus. Because I killed Corvus. I swapped him with another baby because his crying annoyed me.
I am not joking. This was supposed to be the revelatory moment in the film, where we find out the identity of Credence. There is a revelation and then it gets taken away from us. Until it gets placed as the last scene in the film (ill get to that).
As for Gellert Grindelwald…
I actually dont have anything bad to say about Johnny Depp’s performance. He was good in the role, even though, Rowling failed to present this seductive dictator, as she claims in interviews. As discussed above, several characters went over to his side, due to his charismatic speeches. However, as a viewer, I didn’t feel like he won me over. His discussion of the oncoming war caused by humans, felt like a crap motivation for people to come to his side. He has murdered people, and has done terrible things. But oh, he predicts the destruction of World War 2 by the humans, and that gets people to forget the evil deeds he has done.
Also how does a human war affect the wizarding world? I dont know. I guess we are going to wait for the next film, to find out.
Needless Harry Potter easter eggs
Nicholas Flamel, why are you even here?
Oh cool, the Philosopher’s stone appears on screen for less than 5 seconds. Why even put this in? Oh, youre not a true Harry Potter if you didn’t see this useless easter egg appear in the movie.
Also McGonagall appears in this film. But according to Harry Potter lore, she shouldn’t be alive during the events of film. And what makes it even more hilarious, when Leta reminisces about her childhood at Hogwarts, McGonagall is there too. What is she? More than a 100 years old. Come on, Rowling.
Major mistakes on the lore
Throughout the film, its almost like Rowling doesn’t know her own world. Or she just wants to change on a whim.
First, Dumbledore is Defence against the Dark Arts teacher during the events of the film. No, he shouldn’t be. He should Transfiguration teacher. Why change it? Because its the cooler subject in Hogwarts. Jude Law tried to say that he was Defence against the Dark Arts teacher for a period of time, after he was Transfiguration professor. I love how the actor, himself, is trying to defend the mistakes of the author. Rowling never can shut up on her Twitter about meaningless information. But when it comes to a lore mistake made by her, she is noticeably silent.
Another small thing, was the fact that people can apparate onto Hogwarts grounds. According to the lore, no wizard can apparate into Hogwarts, except for Dumbledore himself. And this mistake showed up in the first trailer, before the film released. They could have fixed it, but decided to leave it in. Even after, many fans expressed their complaints about it.
Now for the biggest mistake in the film. At the end of the film, Credence discovers that he is the long lost brother of Albus Dumbledore. Now, there are so many things wrong with this revelation. How did this never get mentioned in the Harry Potter books? This would be valuable information to Dumbledore’s backstory in Deathly Hallows. How could Dumbledore fail to mention that he had a secret brother in the Kings Cross chapter in the final book. First thing, I thought was Grindelwald is lying. He has to be, because this statement makes no sense. When Dumbledore reveals all his regrets to Harry in the final book, he never mentions Credence. The only explanation is Grindelwald is lying or Dumbledore never found out.
Firstly, Rowling attempts to prove this statement is correct by the appearance of Credence’s phoenix. Albus said earlier in the film, when a Dumbledore is in need, a phoenix will come to him. So that points to Credence being a Dumbledore. However, this makes for a discrepancy in Rowling’s lore and reveals bad storytelling. Now, the next film hasn’t come out yet, therefore, answers have yet to come. But if Credence turns out to be this long lost brother, then to make the final moments in Deathly Hallows make sense, Albus must have never known he had a brother. Then where is the point of this revelation if Albus doesn’t find out he has a long lost brother??
Also I am briefly going to talk about the claimed romance between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, as I am going to get very annoyed at this point. As we understood it in the lore, Dumbledore had feelings for Grindelwald but Grindelwald never reciprocated. However, as Rowling claims in this featurette for the film:
“There was a sexual dimension to this relationship”….So did they have sex or no? But that isn’t the point. She is stating this, when the film suggests nothing of the sort. The only thing we get is a line where Dumbledore says: “We were more than just brothers.” Now, I dont want a sex scene between Johnny Depp and Jude Law. Thats not what I am getting at. But I feel like Rowling is just shoehorning information in as an attempt to make her look progressive. She isn’t concerned about her characters or her story. She just wants to maintain relevancy, by making these big claims and never proving or showcasing them. If they had such a love relationship, show it more in the films. Now, they could do it in later films, but from this sequel, I fear itll be more the same. Jumping around the subject and claiming progressive behaviour.
This movie turned into a melodrama and a hot mess, instead of a wizarding world film. And I hate it. I am sorry to Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller, Jude Law and every other actor who had to be a part of this terrible movie. You deserved so much better.
Apologies for this ranty post, but god, did this movie make me angry. This wont be the only time I say this, but Rowling, please stop. Keep the integrity of your story. Thats why I loved Harry Potter so much. Good story, good characters. You weren’t trying to make your story relevant or keep it in the public eye. I loved the first Fantastic Beasts film because it was a new story in a world I already knew. By placing too much relevance on Harry Potter lore, you ended up tarnishing the story of this film, and the lore with it. Please stop or just make sure the next film fixes your mistakes. You know what, just get rid of this film. Pretend it didn’t happen and start over.
Hope ye enjoyed this rant. I shall see ye in the next post.