‘Fantastic Beasts’ series proves to be unnecessary continuation of ‘Harry Potter’

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Photo courtesy of Wizarding World.

Defne Onal managing editor 

As a long-time die-hard Harry Potter fan, I still go to every screening of the “Fantastic Beasts” movies. Unfortunately, I grow more disappointed with each movie’s premiere, and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” was no different.

The movie continues the story of Scamander and his friends from the previous movies as they try to foil the plans of the wicked Grindelwald and his plan of starting a war with the non-magical muggles. 

The opening scene of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is the only satisfying part of the movie. Past-lovers and present enemies Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) are having afternoon tea. They share lingering glances, reminisce about their past love and discuss their ideological differences. It’s everything that fans of Harry Potter expected from J.K. Rowling since she first tweeted about the duo

Then the movie rolls downhill from there, albeit with a few thrilling appearances of Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) fantastic creatures.

The “Fantastic Beasts” movies are, to put it simply, not good. They’re never truly inspiring or serve the purpose of escapism–which the series is known for. One reason why the Harry Potter series was so successful was because writers and directors had hundreds of pages of source material in the form of Rowling’s books. On the other hand, “Fantastic Beasts”, however,  did not have an established base from which to launch a series. So, the series’ writers overcompensate, creating films that are overstuffed and overly lengthy. 

Amidst the overstuffed plotline, “Secrets of Dumbledore” is about election rigging, which would be acceptable for any other film; however, these movies are supposed to help people escape real life. The link between the faulty election in “Fantastic Beasts” and the ones existing in our reality is depressing and doesn’t serve the purpose of a “moment of recognition” scene that the writers were going for. 

In particular, Rowling is forgetting what made us fall in love with her characters. The Harry Potter series had a diverse but well-developed ensemble, each character had significant characteristics and loyalties. However, the “Fantastic Beasts” movies do away with consistency and character development in favor of shock value. New characters enter and exit the plot without any coherency; in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” Newt’s love-interest Tina Goldstein appears only in the end.

From any addition to the already-great Harry Potter movies, I wanted more stories, not more plot twists. It’s hard to imagine children waiting in line at a Harry Potter theme park discussing the downsides of how populist candidates rise to prominence. Besides, a screenplay hasn’t even been written for a fourth “Fantastic Beasts” film. If the series were to end, that would be a relief. The magic has been long gone from the wizarding world. 

Highlights rates this movie 2/5.

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