We round up the reviews for the newly released third part of the Fantastic Beast series.
The Guardian: *** “The Secrets of Dumbledore is another very amiable and lovely-looking fantasy adventure with some great production design and visual effects, especially in the New York scenes. But it’s not about “secrets” as much as new IP-franchise narrative components shuffled into the ongoing content and shuffled out again. Yet there is certainly something intriguing about the questions arising from the saga’s approach to the existing Potter timeline.”
The Observer: ** “But despite the ornate world-building constructed from CGI, a mid-20th-century European fascist aesthetic and lots of very nicely tailored tweed, it’s still a lumbering, unwieldy creature compared to the first film: fewer fantastic beasts, more stuffy political plotting and electoral malpractice.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Dumbledore feels like an improvement, at least, on the joyless, enervating slog of 2018’s Crimes of Grindelwald; it’s nimbler and sweeter and more cohesive in its storyline. And the cast, less trapped in a fug of half-formed symbolism and subplots, are allowed realer and more romantic stakes.”
Empire Online: *** “For all the charm here — fan-favourite Niffler, Teddy and Pickett the Bowtruckle get a heroic moment; the deer-like Qilin is totally adorable — The Secrets Of Dumbledore still feels a way off the heights of Potter. It’s tonally imbalanced, fantastical whimsy butting heads with Star Wars prequel-esque political plotting and moments of full Bambi beast-based brutality. Despite some stylish sequences, Yates’ direction (his seventh franchise entry) feels flat — embedding us in the Wizarding World often results in the magical being rendered mundane.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Secrets of Dumbledore is not without its charms, though. Director David Yates (who helmed four Potter films and the entirety of Fantastic Beasts thus far) returns with a formidable crew that includes director of photography George Richmond, production designers Stuart Craig and Neil Lamont, editor Mark Day, costume designer Colleen Atwood and composer James Newton Howard to re-create the rich, textured Wizarding World. The battle scenes — slowed down and shot from a variety of angles — add tension and show off the franchise’s technical precision and prowess. The magic creatures are carefully constructed and the world within Newt’s briefcase remains dazzling.”
The Telegraph: ** “The third Harry Potter prequel can tug the odd heartstring, but it’s lost without Johnny Depp or a half-logical script.”
USA Today: “Over on the dark side, Mikkelsen provides the Voldemort-level evil personality the “Beasts” movies have been lacking. While Depp’s take – essentially playing Grindelwald as a wild-haired freaky cult leader – was fine, Mikkelsen’s feels more dangerous, as he wields a public charm as a crowd-pleasing, manipulative man of the people while hiding his inherent ruthless cruelty. (The allusions to real-life political figures are not subtle, nor is using 1930s Germany as a locale for a genocidal would-be leader’s shenanigans.)”
The Metro: *** “Jessica Williams as Eulalie Hicks and Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski were also stand-outs, bringing the much-needed charm alongside leading man Eddie.”
Express.co.uk: “To be clear, the film still generally looks very handsome and the performances are universally strong. It’s not even a problem that the whole series is nominally based on a slim textbook. The wider story of wizard and Muggle worlds sliding into fascism against personal dramas is more than fascinating enough.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is out in cinemas now.