I really am in two minds about this film. I liked … no, I loved the first one, and I say this as someone who’s never read a single book of the Harry Potter series.
I have to say though, I did struggle a bit with The Crimes of Grindelwald. On paper, this should’ve been a corker of a movie: Johnny Depp, Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, a massive budget for sets and special effects … this thing should have been stratospheric, and to be honest, the opening sequence was fantastic – like James Bond, but with wizards.
And yes, the special effects were excellent and the sets and the costumes and the acting were spectacular, but the whole adventure was let down by a story that seemed to be suffering a multiple personality disorder.
The point of view shifted from one person to another way too quickly; characters appeared, and then just as they became interesting, they vanished never to be seen again. And many of the characters who took the bulk of the screen time sometimes seemed a little strained to find something to do.
Grindelwald himself seemed intent on building an army which was going to put muggles in their place one and for all. All very noble, I’m sure, but I wonder if that’s the piece that was missing. Usually, in Ms Rowling’s stories, there is the notion of the quest, something that has to be achieved: an artefact to be found, a wizard to be destroyed, a crime to be solved. I think that building an army just wasn’t enough. Building an army is something you do while you’re looking for the spell, or the magical tome, or whatever, which you need for world conquest. Grindelwald didn’t seem to have a clear purpose, and so there was a lot or striding ominously and the occasional bit of spell casting. But I didn’t get the sense that he was aiming for something great, and that’s probably why the film didn’t work so well for me. There was no real sense of building excitement, because everything just rolled along, burst of action, and then back to just rolling along.
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of high points: as I said, there was the acting, and the dialogue was well above average, and the jaw-dropping opening scene was matched by mesmerising final sequence, so well done on that. But all in all, I was a little bit disappointed.
Five out of ten … unfortunately.