Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelson) is plotting and scheming, aiming to recruit followers and legitimise himself, with the intent of using political power to start a war with the Muggle world. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) is touted as best-placed to stop him for some reason, and castigated when he doesn’t. However, we’re shown that the two were in love as young men, and have a blood pact – backed up by nasty magic – preventing any conflict there.

And so it’s up to a random group of wizards and one baker to do what Dumbledore – and the rest of the magical authorities? Where are they? – can’t.

Despite remembering very little of the first two movies (because they’re not that interesting, not gonna lie!), I settled down to watch this in a very ‘don’t care what’s on’ mood. Which is just as well, cos it’s a rather underwhelming kind of movie.

Credit where it’s due, it does look great – production values are high. But, that’s about the end of my praise.

I don’t have any huge complaints, it’s all just… meh. Bland and unfocused meh. There’s no real sense of a main character – one would assume it’s Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as per the other movies, but he’s got very little to do, really. There’s the baker from the last movie, who made such an impression I can’t even be bothered looking up his name. Or either of these two’s ‘lost loves’. Lally (Jessica Williams) is great with the swagger, but clearly a supporting role. Clarence (Ezra Miller) is back, but again, sort of shoe-horned in and not adding much, although it feels like his storyline should have a lot more impact.

Which leaves us with the former lovers, circling each other. Dumbledore is pushed to acting behind the scenes, which is maybe just as well with Jude Law’s slightly variable accent. Mads Mikkelson is always great, menacing value, but you can’t really have your baddy as the only vaguely interesting character.

There’s also a total lack of danger. We know fine and well Dumbledore has another eight movies, for a start. There’s a hugely over-done moment with Newt and his brother, with some nasty monsters and lava and all… and it still doesn’t feel remotely like anything bad will happen, even with chewed up remains thrown at the pair. Ew. Why not threatening? Well, let’s go with the dancing lobster-scorpions, and the two actors’ very strange hip wiggling o.O Suppose you can’t over-scare the kiddies.

So, yeah, not remotely impressed. Bonus marks for looking great, especially the Bhutan sets, but otherwise it just feels like an adaptation of a book where they had to cut half the stuff that would make it feel coherent. It’s not, as far as I’m aware; just a script that they chucked a bunch of stuff at and hoped enough would stick.

They’ll no doubt suggest it’s tanking at the box office because of the many, MANY controversies (the writer is a piece of @!*%, two of the actors (one on screen, one removed) are going through legal woes, etc etc), but really it’s just not a particularly good film.

Not recommended, obviously, but probably the kids who liked the first two or super-fans who just cannot wait to find out about those ‘secrets’, or see a cameo from young Minerva McGonagall, will somehow just love it. And it’s bland and pointless rather than out and out terrible, which is somehow so much worse.

Secrets of Dumbledore posterReleased: 8th April 2022
Viewed: 3rd June 2022
Running time: 142 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 5/10

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