REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

I’d like to think I’m a pretty good son to my mother. I moved out of her house as quickly as I could, so she could have some rest and relaxation away from me. Nothing says love quite like that, right?

If you want more examples, know that I’ve remembered at least 50% of all of the Mother’s Days since I’ve been alive. (Which isn’t bad. If you got 50% correct on a spelling test, you’d probably be pretty content with yourself.)

I also managed to take my mum to the multimedia screening of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. For as long as I can remember, she has been obsessed with both the Wizarding World franchise, and moaning that I’m spending too much money on things.

It’s just a shame that after the screening, she turned me and simply said “Meh”. Don’t say I don’t take you to nice places, Pam.

Sadly, however, I agree with my mum. Don’t get me wrong – The Secrets of Dumbledore is miles ahead of its predecessors, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but that’s not saying much, because those two were garbage fires.

That’s like saying stubbing your toe is better than getting COVID-19.

At least I wasn’t eagerly praying that The Secrets of Dumbledore would wrap after every line of dialogue; I actually quite enjoyed watching it… In comparison to the other two films. Let’s be straight; if it was between the third Fantastic Beasts film or any other film – like, any – I’d choose the other film.

In this film, Grindelwald – now played by Mads Mikkelsen; not Johnny Depp – is seeking to eradicate the human race, so it’s up to Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and their team to stop him. That sounds pretty easy to follow, doesn’t it?

And then Grindelwald kills a deer, which has a twin, and has premonitions of his future. A French man who was on Newt’s team for eight milliseconds joins forces with Grindelwald. Newt’s assistant replicates his suitcase. Newt’s brother gets arrested, and is rescued when Newt dances with crabs. Then they end up in a castle in the sky.

All of that actually happens, and while it sound confusing, know that what I just described is still 39 times easier to understand than the film itself.

What I loved so much about the original Harry Potter films is that because Harry, Ron and Hermione were still learning about the magical creatures and spells, they’d explain what they’d do, how they’d react and so on, allowing the audience to understand what was happening.

However, in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, we’re just supposed to know what spells do what. During one scene, Dumbledore spots Ezra Miller’s Credence angrily staring at him. (Presumably Albus had just played ‘Shallow’ on Spotify.) At that point, Dumbledore bends the rainfall to transport through a window and to splash Credence on the forehead, before they have a fight in an alternative, black, misty dimension.

I defy anyone to really understand why or how any of that happened.

The only thing The Secrets of Dumbledore does go into great length to thoroughly explain is Dumbledore’s sexuality. Unless Albus was repeatedly explaining that he is, in fact, gay, he probably didn’t have any dialogue. The film opens with Dumbledore uttering that he was in love with Grindelwald, and every line after that is of a similar effect. Don’t get me wrong – I want more LGBTQI+ representation in films; especially if it’s in a JK Rowling property, so every time she puts her name to it, she practically throws up down herself, the daft witch, but…

We knew Dumbledore was gay. It was about as subtle as a brick to the nose. Someone could turn around to Dumbledore and say “Alright, Albus? Lovely day, isn’t it?”, only for him to reply by screaming “It is a lovely day… TO BE GAY!!!!!!!!!1!!!!”

I just felt that they could have handled Dumbledore’s sexuality a bit classier, rather than what seemed like Warner Bros’ desperate attempt to say “Please watch our film. We know JK Rowling is worse than the villains in all of our films combined, but look… This man likes kissing other men, so we’re equal, right? RIGHT?!”

But in spite of that, it is still an enjoyable watch. As per the past two films, Dan Fogler steals every scene he’s in. It’s almost too difficult to not watch him squirm and wince his way through scenes. His bumbling Jacob Kowalski is one of the best parts of the entire franchise, and… Would you believe it? I have a whole interview here with Dan Fogler for you to watch? What a coincidence.

If things continue the way they’re going, and with each Fantastic Beasts film getting better than the last (and certainly fucking better than the first two) then by the zillionth film; at which the franchise may finally die, we might get a semi-decent movie?

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