MOVIE REVIEWS

REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ a big step in the right direction for ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise

Apr 14, 2022, 12:26 PM
(L-R) JESSICA WILLIAMS as Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, CALLUM TURNER as Theseus Scamander, JUDE LAW a...
(L-R) JESSICA WILLIAMS as Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, CALLUM TURNER as Theseus Scamander, JUDE LAW as Albus Dumbledore, FIONNA GLASCOTT as Minerva McGonagall, DAN FOGLER as Jacob Kowalski and EDDIE REDMAYNE as Newt Scamander in "FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
(L-R)

SALT LAKE CITY — How far the mighty have fallen.  At one point in time a movie taking place in the world of Harry Potter created by J.K. Rowling probably would have generated much more anticipation than Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore currently seems to have.

Dumbledore is the third of what was originally planned to be five movies in this particular story arc, which takes places during the younger years of the great wizard Albus Dumbledore, years before Harry Potter was born.

Yet for those fans who have drifted away from the franchise, this movie could give you a little bit of hope that all is not lost.

THE STORY

This new movie picks up where the less-successful-than-the-studio-hoped Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald left off in 2018…with the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald gaining followers of wizards and witches who’d like to go to war with the non-magical humans of the day.  Opposing Grindelwald is his former best friend—and as the movie directly references for the first time in the series, more than that–Albus Dumbledore, at this point just a teacher at Hogwarts Academy.

Dumbledore (Jude Law) is bound by a magical pact that he and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp in the role) created years ago that physically prevents each one from directly opposing or attacking the other.  So Dumbledore has been forced to recruit allies and ask them to risk their lives to stop Grindelwald’s quest.

First and foremost among these is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne).  Newt is an expert in magical creatures, aka Fantastic Beasts, and has been Dumbledore’s most important helper so far.  He is joined by his brother Theseus and some other powerful witches & wizards, as well as the non-magical guy Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) to undertake a dangerous mission that none of them fully understand but hope will stop Grindelwald’s plan.

THINGS I LIKED

I’m happy to say I felt like this movie gets the Fantastic Beasts series back on track.  Crimes of Grindelwald was really convoluted, dark and honestly just not very enjoyable.  But Secrets of Dumbledore does a great job mixing some humor, heart and fun back into the story, one that I actually became interested in watching again.  Actually having the “Fantastic Beasts” play key roles in the plot also helped.

Jacob Kowalski is definitely the movie’s comic relief, but Fogler plays him with such genuine sincerity that he also really is the beating heart of the series.  He’s actually helps me as a viewer care about the story and the other characters. Alison Sudol as Queenie, the woman who broke his heart, is also a favorite of mine.

I also think the change from Johnny Depp as Grindelwald to Mads Mikkelsen helped to substantially improve this film.  Maybe it’s because Mikkelsen has played an evil wizard before in Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

The special effects were top notch.  Magic in the Harry Potter world has never looked better and been more amazing on screen.  They’ve really come a long way in 20 years.

WARNINGS

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is rated PG-13 for some fantasy action and violence. It might be a little intense for 6-10 year olds, but nothing your teens and tweens can’t handle.

If for some reason you really liked Katherine Waterston‘s character in the first two movies, you’ll be disappointed to find out she’s barely in this movie at all.

Secrets of Dumbledore is a bit long, at 2 hours and 22 minutes (including the credits). But the good news is that because there is no mid-credits or post-credits scenes, you don’t have to stay that long.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Whatever you may think about J.K. Rowling’s views in the real world, she’s still a pretty good storyteller.  It probably helped that , who also wrote the first 8 Potter movie screenplays, co-wrote this one with her.

Director , who’s directed Potter movies in the past as well, also seemed to know what would help get the movie back to the roots of what made the franchise so enjoyable in the first place.

In my opinion, this is how you get the series back on track.  Yates has made a movie with more heart, fun, and magic that actually makes me want to see more in the series.

Even if for some reason Warner Bros decides to abandon the Fantastic Beasts series and not make the final two movies they originally planned, Secrets of Dumbledore has an ending that feels like a story arc has been completed, while also not closing the door to any future sequels.

Andy’s final rating: THREE out of FOUR stars

WHERE TO WATCH

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is playing exclusively in theaters.  It likely won’t be available to stream at home until at least Memorial Day, based on Warner Bros. 45-day theatrical window they’ve used with other releases this year.


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Movie Reviews

Young Gru (Steve Carell) dreams of being the baddest villain of all time in MINIONS: THE RISE OF GR...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Solid story, setting, voice cast lift animated sequel/prequel ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ above its predecessor

MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU brings back everyone's favorite little yellow troublemakers from the DESPICABLE ME franchise, this time in a tale of how Gru began to be a super-villain. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's a much more enjoyable entry from start to finish over the first MINIONS movie, with clever villains, a great voice cast, soundtrack, and just the right amount of Minions hi-jinks mixed in.
5 days ago
In Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear,” Buzz (voice of Chris Evans) returns to the planet he’s b...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Latest Disney/Pixar movie ‘Lightyear’ is a better-than-average sci-fi tale helped by its ‘Toy Story’ connection

In the new Disney/Pixar film LIGHTYEAR, fans get a chance to see why the toy Buzz Lightyear did some of the things he did in the TOY STORY movies, and why his owner Andy wanted the toy in the first place. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's a very meta concept and a better than average sci-fi movie with some hilarious characters and moments that will please many, but definitely not all Disney fans.
19 days ago
(from left) Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura D...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ brings 30 years of story and two blockbuster trilogies together for one final adventure

JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION brings to a close 30 years and two movie trilogies of big screen dinosaur action. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's an enjoyable summer movie that hits mostly the right notes of nostalgia and balances the human and dinosaur stories better than the previous movie in the series.
26 days ago
(L-R): Bob Belcher (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), Linda Belcher (voiced by John Roberts), Louise Belc...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is a hilarious must-see for fans of the long-running TV show

THE BOB'S BURGERS MOVIE finally brings the animated Belcher family from TV to the big screen. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says the movie will no doubt be a hit for fans of the long-running and award-winning TV show, but the quirky nature of the characters may be a little off-putting and less funny for those who haven't seen it before.
1 month ago
Tom Cruise on the set of Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer ...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a near-perfect, crowd-pleasing movie sequel and well worth a trip to the theater

After 36 years of waiting, TOP GUN: MAVERICK returns audiences to the high-speed aerial adventures of Tom Cruise as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, ace fighter pilot. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says the movie is everything fans could have hoped for and is one of the best sequels he's seen in many years, if not ever.
1 month ago
Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) and Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) in Disney's live-action CHIP N' DAL...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: “Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers” movie is a fun mess of nostalgia and contemporary humor with a lot of cameos thrown in

The easter eggs and cameos are fast and furious in the new CG/animation/live-action hybrid movie CHIP 'N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, streaming exclusively on Disney Plus. Decades after their cartoon series went off the air, Chip and Dale must put aside old differences to search for a missing former castmate. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it had some very funny moments and his kids definitely liked it.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ a big step in the right direction for ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise