This weekend, we saw the third installment in the series Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. There were not a lot of fantastic beasts in the third movie unlike the first. More importantly, the storyline was shaky.
If you have not seen the movie, I will try to explain my points without giving away the plot. And that is the first hurdle.
Aside from the obvious ‘Grindelwald versus Dumbledore’ storyline, good versus bad and each side has its own particulars, there are a few side-lines. In general, this is not a problem but here, it is. The side-lines are needed to mask the fact that the main plotline is thin. It is like when Bilbo, in the Hobbit, says “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
The film has wonderful moments where you find elements of the Harry Potter movies and there’s a lot of humour. The prison scene is priceless. That’s all I’m saying.
But, as my friend said “Who needs a screenplay when you have CGI?” The art is wonderfully done and the acting is good but they cannot make up for that thin storyline.
The moment that told me the movie would ultimately leave me disappointed (but I am still glad I saw it) started with a knock on the door of the Hog’s Head Inn.
Aberforth Dumbledore, one of three children to Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, runs the pub ‘Hog’s Head Inn’ in Hogsmeade village. His older brother is of course, Albus Dumbledore, and his younger sister was Ariana. Her portrait, which in the last Harry Potter movie shields the only remaining entrance through which Hogwarts can be entered unseen, returns in this movie.
Albus and Aberforth are at the pub. Despite being closed, someone keeps knocking. Albus opens the door. The person at the door gives him information that he needs.
At this point in the movie, each side is building their team. Each try to get talented and loyal witches and wizards at their side. Yet, Albus does not ask the person at the door to team up with him. It stunned me as this person is not just an exceptionally skilled witch. Throughout the Harry Potter books, she has shown her loyalty, her strength, dedication to good, and her power. He sends her away.
Later in the movie, there are scenes depicting great magic but if I recall the Potter books correctly, some magic cannot be done inside Hogwarts. The Great Hall is massively reduced in size and that was always a hallmark to me.
This third movie does not seem to be a bridge like the ‘Two Towers‘ bridged the ‘Fellowship‘ to prepare for the ‘Return of the King.’ It feels like an end, unless the money that pours in does not disappoint after all.
We get final answers to many questions in this third movie. Some we had already guessed.
It isn’t a secret that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were once lovers. We know from his loyalty and the way he looked at her, that Newt will forever be in love with Tina. And there is no other woman for Kowalski than Queenie.
We know from Harry Potter that Aberforth is a bitter man and not just in his relationship with Albus. We have also seen his loyalty when he helps Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We saw his power when he joins in the Battle of Hogwarts.
That Ariana and her death weigh heavily on Aberforth’s mind is obvious from the big portrait that he has of her in his quarters. There are no other portraits. Not from his parents, not from Albus, just Ariana. In this movie, we get the details so not discussing this further.
From Fantastic Beasts 2, we know about the blood pact between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. The moment that you see the blood pendant, the visuals will take your mind to the Potter scene where Severus Snape and Narcissa Malfoy make the unbreakable vow. And then you know what comes and what cannot happen.
I do think that we will see a fourth and a fifth movie as Dumbledore still needs to win the Elderwand from Grindelwald. And, in the first movie, the Obscurus played such a huge role, it cannot end like it does in movie 3. But there is another reason.
The movie is called ‘The Secrets of Dumbledore‘ and the biggest one that I was waiting for, is untouched: the Deathly Hallows.
If you love the magical world, I do recommend this movie as it is a wonderful visual treat and to relive some Potter memories. If you are looking for a strong story with well worked out plotlines, you may be disappointed.