My son and I were invited to a very special screening and Q&A with the cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – the second of five all new adventures in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World™. The movie opens in theaters this weekend, November 16, 2018 and is rated PG-13.
This review and the following Q&A are spoiler-free, so read on without fear of ruining the movie! Many thanks to Warner Bros. Entertainment for the opportunity to see the movie ahead of time! Amazon affiliate links are used below. All thoughts are my own. #WandsReady
If you haven’t seen the trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, let’s start there. But really…if you haven’t seen this yet, where have you been hiding the last few months?
About Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
The film features an ensemble cast led by Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, with Jude Law and Johnny Depp. The cast also includes, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Carmen Ejogo, and Poppy Corby-Tuech.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. The film is produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.
If you are a fan of Harry Potter (or any part of J.K Rowling’s Wizarding World™) then this movie is a must-see. Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them (yes, we totally had to order it on Amazon last month so we’d be ready for Crimes of Grindelwald) was a fun, well-made movie, but the second installment tied Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter together so well. It was the ultimate backstory, giving as a peek into where our beloved Harry Potter characters were before we met them.
I love how this trailer focuses on the connections between Fantastic Beasts and the Harry Potter stories:
This movie is much darker than the first, as we get to know Gellert Grindelwald and his plans. However, in my opinion, if your kids have seen any of the Harry Potter movies, they should be just fine seeing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
My 13-year-old Son’s Experience
My youngest is a huge Harry Potter fan. He creates hand-made replica wands in his free time. So when I received the invitation to go to the screening, AJ told me “If you can bring someone, it HAS to be me.” He spent the morning before the screening re-watching Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts videos from two of his favorite YouTubers, Super Carlin Brothers. On our way to the theater, he actually wondered out loud if they would be sitting in a theater somewhere at the same time seeing a screening that day, too.
Imagine his shock when he saw them in OUR theater.
I challenged him to go up to the brothers and talk to them before the movie. They were kind enough to suggest taking a picture together, and AJ supplied them each with a wand for the shot.
AJ loved the movie, especially the addition of the new characters, and he’s already excited to see it again. He’s also eager for his friends to see it so he can finally talk about the movie with someone other than me.
Q&A with the Cast
I have to start off by saying that the Fantastic Beasts Q&A was broadcast live in our theater and dozens of other theaters throughout the US. The actors were at Universal Studios Hollywood and I was sitting in a theater in Virginia. And, while I did take notes throughout the Q&A session, I don’t have a recording or a transcript of the interview, so quotes are not necessarily word-for-word accurate. It’s still fun to hear the actors’ reactions to the movie.
Eddie Redmayne spoke about what it was like to return to the magical world in his second Fantastic Beasts movie. He said, “I had so much fun on the first film, and then they got some fresh blood and they raised the game.” Newt Scamander is (and always has been) an outsider, but you see him opening up in this film. “Love is what bring him to Paris. Love opened him up.”
Zoë Kravitz, who played Leta Lestrange, was one of those newcomers to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. She commented that she was “nervous, like the first day of school. The best moment is when they give you your wand. The worst day is when they take it away.”
Speaking of wands, the “newbies” let us know that the actors were each given the chance to choose their own wands (except for Gellert – his was already chosen for him!). Before even getting to the set, Jude Law spent time on a family vacation “practicing” wand work with a twig. After all of his practice, he only got to use one spell in the entire movie!
Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander) apparently could have used some extra wand practice. He broke his wand the very first time he used it.
Jude Law addressed the pressure and responsibility of portraying a younger Professor Albus Dumbledore. He said he felt the great responsibility of playing Dumbledore, but appreciated that he was given the freedom to interpret his character himself. He spent a lot of time with author J.K. Rowling before filming the movie, which I’m sure helped
Eddie chimed in, referring to the first time he saw Jude on the set, “Jude encaptured in one look everything Dumbledore is.” He said that Jude had the Dumbledore “twinkle” in his eye.
I agree: Jude was a perfectly magical Dumbledore!
Are you excited to see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald?
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