Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

DAVID YATES

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  United Kingdom/USA, 2018.  Heyday Films, Warner Bros..  Screenplay by J.K. Rowling, based on her characters.  Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot.  Produced by David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling, Lionel Wigram.  Music by James Newton Howard.  Production Design by Stuart Craig.  Costume Design by Colleen Atwood.  Film Editing by Mark Day.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The nefarious Grindelwald (Johnny Depp as Annie Lennox) is being held by magical authorities before he manages to escape, heading to Europe where he plans to raise up all wizards and witches to his cause of turning the “muggle” world into their slaves.  Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, still playing him like there’s a flashlight being shined in his eyes) is brought into the conundrum when Albus Dumbledore (still young and hunky and played by Jude Law) asks him to go to Paris and find Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the mysterious young man featured in the first film whose possible abilities have made him very valuable to Grindelwald.   Scamander agrees to help out but is hesitant to get too emotionally involved, constantly pressured by his clean-cut brother Theseus to take sides because that’s what hard times call for, especially when dealing with a villain whose seductive powers are taking advantage of weaker minds.  The Trump allegory is so plainly spelled out that it’s surprising the film doesn’t include writer J.K. Rowling’s political tweets popping up on screen, but unlike the first entry, this one keeps its plot moving in clean directions and bounces along with some exciting action sequences and spirited performances.  Depp seems to be anxious to get out and cash his cheque and Miller is never as bewitching as his morally unpredictable character should be, but steals the show as the pensive and glamorous Leta Lestrange, while Law provides the film’s strongest element of star quality.

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