Oh Jösses. What a discombobulated mess.
Something definitely went off the rails Amazing animals: Grindelwald's crime, and now the only question left is where?
Was it in the editing, because the movie is crooked and everywhere, or does it go back to the script, where indecent story hits and confusing character choices are cut into stone, which is meant to make the film?
There's only so much movie here, with about 14 subplots (but no main plot) and lots of new characters, most of you do not care, pop up screen time and try patience.
It has no focus – it is not even clear what Grindelwald's "crime" is and does not suspect he is the protagonist because his name is in the title – he is not, no one is. It jumps from a dizzying sequence to the next with little care of a coherent story or impact. It's such a frustrating experience for the audience.
The very introductory introduction of Jewish law as a young Dumbledore also hurts – not because Law is not perfect as the primary writer (he is) but because it is not enough to measure lifelong fans of the Harry Potter universe.
The character is apparently held back for a major role in one in three already announced follow-ups Grindelwald's crime which is part of an increasingly common and cynical movement from mega franchises – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was also guilty of this – where it's more busy setting up the next movie than respecting the movie's audience has already paid to watch.
A sequel to 2016 Amazing animals and where to find them and a prequel to the most important Harry Potter books and movies, Grindelwald's crime picking up six months after the previous movie.
After being captured by the American wizard, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is predictably free during the transatlantic prison transfer in an imaginative sequence that begins to be impressive – the skeleton dragons look like a Dali drawing – but then becomes harried and hard to follow.
Back in Britain, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has been banned from international travel after shenanigans in New York.
Without destroying too much, Newt visits Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler) revealing Tina (Katherine Waterston) is in Paris and chases Credence (Ezra Miller) who survived the seemingly deadly blast from the first movie.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore (Law) has also commissioned Newt to find Credence before the ministry of magic and grindelwald does.
Much of the action is centered in Paris and there is a whirlwind of new and invisible characters to keep track of, including Newt's brother Theseus (Callum Turner, a Redmayne death signal), Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), who has a complex relationship with Newt, Nagini in human form (Claudia Kim), Alchemist Nicolas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky), Grindelwald Hankman Abernathy (Kevin Guthrie) and a mysterious sorcerer, named Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), who also promises Credence.
Yes there is so much going on. And expect the audience to care about all these new people and those we already knew asked too much.
The problem may be that J.K. Rowling, whose incredible imagination carries these fruits, wrote the script, as she did for the first Amazing animals, in contrast to the scriptwriter Steve Kloves who adapted all the Harry Potter books, brought a movie.
Think about how much she packs in her books, especially the ones that stretched over 700 pages, and then think about what happens when you try to tweet a movie in two hours and 10 minutes. It does not work.
On the plus side, the production values are wonderful – you can see where they have spent the money. The design, costume and execution work is top class and, if nothing else, at least you will not get bored and take pictures.
Let us hope Amazing animals: Grindelwald's crime is a blip on it otherwise decent Harry Potter film franchise and Rowling and her movie partners right on the next. Because if there is one thing we know, it's certain that there will be another, and one and another.
Amazing animals: Grindelwald's crime is in cinemas from today.
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