Film Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

HO00005124-lgFilm Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

Release date: 16th November 2018

Director: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Zoë Kravitz

Runtime: 134 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the anticipated sequel 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Following the events of the first film, Credence is looking for his birth family in Paris, and Albus Dumbledore sends Newt Scamander to find him. Meanwhile, dark wizard Grindelwald is also seeking Credence.

Having loved the first film in this spin-off series, I couldn’t wait to see The Crimes of Grindelwald. While I absolutely loved the film and was not disappointed, I can’t help but feel it could have been even better.

This film takes places primarily in Paris, and falls short on the high standard set by the setting of New York in the first film. 20s New York really came to life in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but the sequel took surprisingly little advantage of the potential Paris had to be an equally dynamic setting. There were a couple of moments where I got a sense the characters were in France, but for much of it they could have been just about anywhere. Since the first film set such a high standard, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that the filmmakers didn’t utilise the Parisian setting more.

There are a lot of plot strands in this film, and I feel like I need to watch it again to completely grasp everything that happened. There are many new characters, a lot of new backstory to get your head around, and some surprising twists that throw up more questions than answers. At times the plot felt a little meandering, without an obvious end goal beyond finding Credence. This film, which we must remember is part of a whole being only the second in the series, seemed to set up a lot for the future films.

Newt is a brilliant character and I love that he’s not your typical hero. Though I still haven’t got a grasp on why Dumbledore chooses him to carry out the task of finding Credence. Is it because Newt met him in New York so is familiar to him? The reason is never explained, and I’m hoping it becomes clearer in the rest of the films, otherwise Newt’s involvement is a little tenuous.

As there were so many characters, many of them suffered from a lack of screen time. There was no sign of affection between Leta and Theseus, who are engaged. Perhaps it was a marriage of convenience, rather than one based on love? I certainly saw no sign that they cared for each other at all, until very near the end of the film. Zoë Kravitz played Leta excellently and Jude Law made for a great young Dumbledore. McGonagoll’s brief appearance was a little confusing, as she shouldn’t even be born yet. But I have faith Rowling wouldn’t make such a big slip up, and have assumed that this is perhaps a relative of the Minerva McGonagoll we know.

While I have said a lot of negative things above, I still loved the film. There were far more nods to the Harry Potter books than the first Fantastic Beasts film, which will satisfy fans of the series. The wizarding world remains as enchanting as ever.

Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass

18005628Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass  

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publishing Info: Kindle edition 2013 by Bloomsbury

Pages: 432

Star Rating: 4/5

 

Back Cover Summary:

She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But does she have the heart of a killer?

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. But Calaena is far from loyal to the crown. Keeping up the charade – while pretending to do the king’s bidding – will test her skills in an entirely new way. And it certainly isn’t the only point of confusion for the young girl. Because though she’s made her choice between Dorian and Chaol, the ways of the heart are never simple…

 

The final book in this series, Kingdom of Ash, was recently released, and here I am still on book two, Crown of Midnight! I have some catching up to do. Having loved the first book, I was excited to read the sequel. I was wondering where the plot would go, as Throne of Glass was focused on the competition, which finished at the end. For once, the sequel is most definitely a step up from the first book.

Crown of Midnight was slow to start. It didn’t have much direction to begin with, as the tournament from the first book was over, and there wasn’t much suggestion of where the plot would go next. However, the pace picked up as it went along. While Throne of Glass is very much focused on the competition and character relationships, this book widens the picture and focuses more on the bigger plot. There is a big turning point about half way through that I did not see coming. It turned the plot in a new direction for the rest of the book, and by the end there were even more surprises.

There were a lot of revelations in this book which seem to be setting the main plot for the series in motion. In some ways, it was information overload, as there was so much new stuff to take in. With all the revelations also came a lot of fast-paced action. I was totally gripped, especially in the second half. I had no idea how it was going to end, which made it more suspenseful than Throne of Glass, which was in some ways predictable.

In Throne of Glass, I thought Celaena didn’t come across as the deadly assassin her reputation describes. However, this book changed my view for various reasons. The deadly assassin described emerged in this novel, which made me feel better about the whole concept. In book one she had seemed too soft. After reading Crown of Midnight, the layers of her character make a lot more sense.

The development of the relationships between the characters in this book, especially between Celaena, Chaol and Dorian, made for interesting dynamics. I like that their friendships aren’t just stationary, they evolve with the plot. The individual inner conflicts for each character are also well written.

Despite a slow start, this book was full of action and plot twists that kept me gripped. My emotions were dragged one way, then another way, in the way only a really good book can do.

Top 5 Wednesday: Largest Books on TBR

This week’s topic is all about the biggest books we’ve yet to read. I have a lot of them! T5W is a group hosted on Goodreads, if you’d like to participate check it out here.

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1) A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin – I read the first book, A Game of Thrones, earlier this year and got the second book almost straight away. However, I wanted a break to read some other books, and still haven’t got around to picking this one up.

2) The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan – I made it one of my ambitions to read the whole of Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. So far I’ve only read the first two books.

3) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – This will have to stay on my TBR for a little longer as I still need to finish the Infernal Devices before I can make a start on this series.

4) Ringer by Lauren Oliver – After reading the first book in this series last year, I was keen to read the next book. It’s still on my TBR though! I’m hoping to read it soon.

5) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Having heard so many good things about this book, I went out and bought it. I hope it lives up to expectations!