The Secrets of Dumbledore is a 2022 fantasy film directed by David Yates from a screenplay by J. K. Rowling and Steve Kloves. It is the sequel to The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), the third instalment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the eleventh overall in the Wizarding World franchise.
The Secrets of Dumbledore is not meant to be the end of the Fantastic Beasts film series by any means as Warner Brothers will want to milk the Wizarding World franchise for as long as possible. However, unlike the Harry Potter franchise, there are no books to be used as source material, instead these films are derived directly from screenplays co-written by Potter creator Rowling.
It is easy to see the entire Fantastic Beasts film series as a cynical move by Warner Brothers to retain Harry Potter fans with this prequel franchise and the various off-screen problems it has faced seems like some kind of twisted karma for their greed and avarice but there you go. What worked in the first movie – the charm of Eddie Redmayne and the wonder of the fantasy world within quirky wizard Newt Scamander – was overtaken in the second movie by the rivalry between the evil Gellert Grindelwald and Arbus Dumbledore, the latter being the main link to the original Harry Potter series.
Of course, since the last movie, Johnny Depp has been ‘cancelled’ and replaced by Mads Mikkelson in the role of Grindelwald though the impact of that change is arguably minimal to the enjoyment (or lack of) of this film. The real problem with The Secrets of Dumbledore is that it is difficult to envisage the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald as there is little development of this in the movies themselves and thus the audience will not be able to feel any of the tension or conflict that this is supposed to engender.
In fact, The Secrets of Dumbledore comes across like a superhero movie with magic – the plot itself is serviceable but the characters lack an emotional core which was fundamental to Harry Potter’s success. As usual, as a prequel, there are no real stakes to engage the audience as anyone vaguely familiar with the Harry Potter books would be aware that Grindelwald’s plans for the Wizarding World to attack the Muggles never materialised.
The Secrets of Dumbledore is superficially entertaining, visually spectacular but filled with first rate actors stuck with a lame screenplay that they just cannot do anything with. For hardcore Harry Potter fans only.
Now showing in cinemas.
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