Dumbledore’s Secretsthe third part of the saga of Fantastic beaststhe spin-off of Harry Potter blessed (and co-designed) by JK Rowling, it is a pivotal passage into the universe of wizards and wands. In the film that, among other things, sees the release of Johnny Depp, who will be worthy replaced by Mads Mikkelsen (and we’ll see in a moment why this could be the luck of this film), there’s also expectation on the part of Warner Bros.
The film, released with a long delay due to the pandemic, was to be the last chapter in a trilogy that Rowling wanted to expand by two more episodes to a total of five. There is a team partially identical to the last Harry Potter (starting with director David Yates), there is a desire to span a narrative arc that spans from the 1920s to the end of World War II (1945) and There is a desire to expand the magical playground of the Harry Potter universe. However.
Warner Bros. said all of this is under the assumption that the third chapter of the saga will also open at the box office as it opens up the sense of the story. And that this opening turns out to be sufficient to take the risk of continuing to produce two-hour films that require a budget of more than two hundred million dollars, two or three years of work and a significant bet on the market, which is always on the cutting edge is. For example, a Cancel Culture accusation like Rowling is enough to blow everything up. And we got close, although the restful film builds a backstory between Dumbledore and villain Grindelwald that can be read as deep childhood friendship or genuine gay romance.
The film survived the loss of Johnny Depp (the actor’s fans don’t worry: his contract stated he would receive his $15-20 million regardless of the film’s completion), who was fired by Warner Bros. in 2020 , after losing his libel case against the British newspaper The sunwho accused him of raping ex-wife Amber Heard in an article.
Mads Mikkelsen’s entry into the field was perhaps the ace that saved the film. All stories ultimately maintain the villain’s charisma and Depp hadn’t been that convincing in previous chapters, while Mikkelsen brings out a wave of malice and reflected hatred from the audience that we’ve remembered since the days of JR Ewing (tremble at the reference of the Upper Paleolithic).
The score on the scoreboard of Rotten tomatoes now it’s in limbo, with a 5.5, which isn’t really insufficient, but not enough either. The early days of revenue, in the US and the rest of the world, brought big money to the farm (around 285 million), but to be commercially successful a film has to cost three times what it cost, which it did in this case is third chapter is 200 million. , as mentioned.
Will there be a fourth and fifth part in the series? Maybe yes, maybe no: the future is uncertain. But if it was one last film, which film would it be? Then we come to the movie. It’s a good movie. It has bite, avoids the traps and rip-offs of the second chapter in particular, the real weak point of the trilogy so far, and opens up to breathtaking landscapes. As for Harry Potter also the saga of Fantastic Beasts, which is inundated with special effects and script tricks created by people with ancient and more artisanal crafts, has a great gift. It’s deeply cinematic. It is suitable for the big screen. Breathe well over large areas.
This film creates another slice of Rowling’s universe, adding many unobtrusive references to what’s happening in the world, with a one-stop photograph of magical Berlin in the disturbing 1930s Casablanca (for the Nazi part with the long coat) and suggests that we might be seeing a real war, provoked many times and narrowly avoided, as history actually took place.
The actors in this film withstand the blow well: starting with Eddie Redmayne, who plays a magician with convincing realism, through an explosive Dan Fogler, an imposing Callum Turner and a remarkable Jessica Williams (but Ezra Miller is also worth following).
There may be doubts about Jude Law’s interpretation, but unfortunately the sword of Damocles hangs over this actor. He’s really gifted with charisma, physical presence, an intense underlying ambiguity that can be ethical (is he good or bad?) big foe. This same basic ambiguity also ties into the fact that Law may be rigid, he’s playing himself and by changing his hairstyle and clothes and growing or trimming his beard he manages to trick people into believing he’s playing different characters , while he always is and only himself. Maybe. However, it’s an unknown that weighs in and is a little out of place.
Direction has a steady hand. The progress of the story is almost mechanical, but very coherent, as Rowling’s writing is after all, even if the really successful gags are missing. In short, it has all the qualities in the world except freshness and, above all, spontaneity
Is the movie full enough or doomed to fail? Let us tell you: it’s never easy on the eyes. Under so much smoke, as always, there is history. And also the implications, the sense of a narrative that continues to add bits and pieces of a large coherent universe that winks at our society but goes further. It’s a strong story with almost surreal aspects (thankfully the animals are only symbolic again now and don’t have to be freak phenomena with weird habits at all costs) and is destined to get the heart pumping. Love is absent, or maybe it is there, but it is kept modestly hidden so that it is understood and not understood. Would love to see a few more stories like this and then finally end the sagas with the wizards and finally move on to something else after a quarter of a century (for movies only).
Antonio Dini, journalist and essayist, was born in Florence and now lives in Milan. His newsletter is titled: Mostly weekly.
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