Warner Brother invited me back to the magical world of Hogwarts and more with a copy of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore on 4K.
It’s been four years since Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, so the biggest thing anyone can do before diving into the beautiful 4K transfer of Warner Brothers’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is to rewatch both sequels, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Directed by David Yates, who has been helming the Wizard World films since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and featuring the return of scriptwriter Steve Kloves to the series, the third film has a lot going on, but a refresher is definitely needed to get the most out of this installment.
Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is continuing to cement his power base amongst wizards and witches and he’s preparing to assume leadership of the magical world with the help of a mythical beast that it just so happens magical zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is on hand to birth.
And while Dumbledore (Jude Law) cannot make an overt move against Grindelwald because of the magical and emotional bond they share, the professor cannot let evil rise. It will not only be a threat to the magical world but the muggle world as well.
And if the muggles are involved, then Dumbledore and Scamander best bring Kowalski (Dan Folger) back into the fold.
A team is assembled, a plan (of sorts) is laid, and the convoluted chase is on.
The magical world created by J.K. Rowling continues to play very well off being set in the 1930s. It flourishes against the art deco interiors and the blossoming cities of the world. It also looks gorgeous on the home theatre screen, the 4K image is sharp, clear, and allows for fantastic details to pop off the screen.
The stories are definitely making a commentary on a number of current situations, using magical abilities, or lack thereof, as a parable for countless problems we as a society are confronting, and Albus Dumbledore implores that we do what is right, even if it is hard.
It’s a solid tale, with some nice emotional payoffs as well as explorations and reveals around Dumbeldore, his family, and friends. The pairing of Redmayne and Law remains perfect, Newt brings a bit of the social awkwardness and humor, while Law imbues everything we know that Dumbledore is, from his own humor to loyalty, to his mistakes and regrets.
It makes me want to watch all three films back to back to really soak in the creation.
And then there are the extras. The accompanying Blu-ray disc comes loaded with a number of featurettes, introducing the new characters, showing how sequences were put together, chats with the cast, a glimpse at the stage production of The Cursed Child… all of it shows that the beloved world is still going strong, serving as a reflection of our own, and perhaps a guide to doing what is right. Even if it isn’t easy.
The film and series may have been better served to have been produced and released much closer to one another, I realize life (and COVID) happens, but I think part of the reason this one floundered a bit, especially after the critical lashing of the second film, was that it took so long to come along.
There is an audience for these films, an audience that loves them and wants them to succeed, but they also want them to be part of a cohesive whole that will fit together smoothly when they are all finished.
As much as I liked this film, I’m not sure the series does that (yet?).
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is available today on 4K and Blu-ray from Warner Brothers!