July 10, 2022
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:
Box office $95.85 million;
$34.98; $39.98 Blu-ray; $49.98 BD UHD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for action/violence fantasy.
With Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, William Nadylam, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Victoria Yeates, Mads Mikkelsen.
The third “Fantastic Beasts” movie will be of most interest to die-hard “Harry Potter” fans, but won’t warrant much more than a quick glance for the majority of viewers.
Continuing the plots of the first two “Fantastic Beasts” films, Dumbledore’s secrets finds the villainous Grindelwald plotting with corrupt forces within the hierarchy of the wizarding world in the early 1930s to clear his name of all crime, so he declares himself a candidate for the head of the International Confederation of Wizards.
That Grindelwald will now be played by Mads Mikkelsen highlights a few controversial casting choices that weigh on the film. Mikkelsen is doing well in the role, having replaced Johnny Depp, who was forced out due to legal issues related to his marriage to Amber Heard. Yet one of the central characters remains played by Ezra Miller, whose own bizarre PR nightmares have lit up entertainment news channels lately.
Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), knowing of Grindelwald’s plan to declare war on Muggles, the non-magical side of humanity, recruits a team led by franchise regulars such as Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), his brother Theseus (Callum Turner), and their muggle friend Jacob (Dan Fogler) to prevent his election. Dumbledore himself cannot move directly against Grindelwald since the two were once lovers who made a blood pact to stop one from attacking the other.
Given the global stakes and wizarding politics involved, it just raises more questions about why these “Potter” prequels are still focused on Newt and his circle of friends instead of, say, Dumbledore himself. But since they continue to carry the title “Fantastic Beasts,” Newt’s adventures will remain, and the script (from “Potter” creator JK Rowling herself), strives to fill the screen with as much ” fantastic beasts” as possible. This time, at the center of the story is a mythical Chinese deer-like creature called a qilin (pronounced like “chillin”) that can peer into a person’s soul and detect their goodness. Grindelwald wants to capture one he can manipulate to convince the world’s magic users that he is most worthy to rule them.
This then makes Newt, as the world leader in magizoology, an ideal choice to uncover Grindelwald’s plan. Naturally, he spends most of his time trying to free his brother from a magical German prison, while Dumbledore confronts Credence (Ezra Miller) about his true heritage as a member of the Dumbledore family.
The movie’s new creatures are inventive and done with dazzling visual effects, but at this point it seems like these movies just conjure up random creatures to give them whatever abilities they need to advance the plot or create a fun scene.
While Rowling would have planned five of these prequel films, this third encapsulates the ongoing storylines enough in case dwindling box office returns don’t convince the studio to move forward with the final two.
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The Blu-ray includes five deleted scenes totaling just over seven minutes, mostly providing more world-building but not necessary for the plot.
The bulk of the extras are nearly an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, made up of 10 different videos that might better explain what’s going on in the movie than the movie alone.
The seven-minute “Dumbledore Through the Ages” examines the character’s history through the “Wizarding World” films, while the eight-and-a-half-minute “The Dumbledore Family Tree” examines Dumbledore’s lineage and the “A Dumbledore Duel” watches the unfolding of a battle between Albus and Credence.
The five-minute “Newt in the Wild” watches the film find ways to return the character to her roots of studying and helping magical creatures, while the six-and-a-half-minute “Even More Fantastic Beasts” examines how creatures of the film came to life.
“The German Ministry of Magic” is a five-minute featurette on the production design of a key location in the film, while the five-minute “Candidates’ Dinner” examines the filming of a sequence there, while the five-minute “Erkstag Jailbreak” focuses on the prison setting.
Six-minute “The Magic of Hogwarts” offers actors and filmmakers a chance to weigh in on the possibility of revisiting Hogwarts’ iconic wizarding school as seen in the other films.
Finally, the six-minute “Battle in Bhutan” focuses on building the climactic showdown between all the characters.
On the fun side, “Magical or Muggle” is a four-and-a-half-minute game in which cast members must guess whether a nonsense term refers to something magical or not.
Rounding out the extras, “The Secrets of ‘Cursed Child’,” a five-minute promotional featurette about the stage production of “Harry Potter” that serves as the sequel to the books and is the film adaptation that most “Potter” fans ” want at this point. point, rather than other “Fantastic Beasts” episodes.
In the 4K combo pack, all the extras are on the standard Blu-ray, not the UHD disc.