Film review: Fantastic Beasts – The secrets of Dumbledore in cinemas 8 April 2022

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the newest adventure in the Wizarding World™ created by J.K. Rowling and is released in cinemas across the UK & Ireland on 8 April 2022. Find out why London Mums adored it and some exclusive gems behind the scenes with cast and film makers. 

The story

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

The film features an ensemble cast led by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley), Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, and Mads Mikkelsen. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling & Steve Kloves, based upon a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. The film was produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram and Tim Lewis. Neil Blair, Danny Cohen, Josh Berger, Courtenay Valenti and Michael Sharp served as executive producers. 

 

The trailer 

 

The verdict 

I absolutely loved the third instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series which is a transportive cinematic experience and possibly the best film of the year so far. It is a grand return to the world of Harry Potter. As a fan I have been craving more magic, whimsy and humor as well as familiar heart-stopping actions. It was so enjoyable that at the end of the two and half hours I could have watched it all over again back to back. These days movies tend to last all nearly three hours which is usually too much (unless it is a series made of short episodes). However, The Secrets of Dumbledore feels like addictive entertainment. The characters are all so incredibly appealing: From Dumbledore with his secretive dark secrets, to Newt with his candid personality and his lovable animal friends, to Newt’s brother, who has a great sense of humour and endures his eccentric brother’s antiques to escape a prison infested with ‘terrifying’ dancing crabs. 

In The Secrets of Dumbledore, I felt taken back into the familiar and immersive world of magic, fun and excitement, featuring even more compelling magical beasts in an all-new story that expands the iconic Wizarding World in surprising and unexpected ways.  

In this movie, we dive into the complex Dumbledore’s backstory. His homosexuality is revealed and we find out about the high-stakes relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore and what drove the destiny of these two legendary wizards. For the first time, we get an inside look at the complicated and enigmatic Dumbledore.

This film is an action-packed cat-and-mouse game of secretive plans, mysteries and fun twists and turns. Our unlikely heroes – Newt, Jacob, Kama, Lally, Bunty and Theseus – are brought together by Dumbledore in an attempt to defeat Grindelwald. The fun is in the chase. Newt’s sense of humour helps maintaining the audiences alert and entertained. 

Children will enjoy this movie as much as their parents, or viceversa. Kids below the age of 10 might find some scenes a bit destressing. 

The only disappointment was not to find Johnny Depp reprising his role as Gellert Grindenwald. 

 

London Mums’ rating: 9/10

 

Behind the scenes of The Secrets of Dumbledore with the cast and film-makers – highlights from the world’s press conference 

Jude Law: I have been preparing myself for this role mentally since I started reading the Harry Potter books to my kids. How these characters evolve is incredible. And they are just fictional. 

A major lure of Dumbledore for me was the opportunity to explore themes of his character which were in the books. I watched the Harry Potter movies over and over to research for the character. There were qualities that both previous actors gave to the character that I wanted to give to my Dumbledore: His humour full of life and soulfullness. The intensity of his relationship with Gellert Grindenwald. Dumbledore was brilliant and outstanding at a very young age. Suddenly he meets someone who is similarly inspiring. Only to reach the awful moment when you realise that you are moving away from each other. But nothing takes away the previous connection. Researching for this character gave me the opportunity to reflect about my own self 25 years before. 

Eddie Redmayne: Newt’s relationship with Dumbledore evolves from master to apprentice to brotherly. Newt lives in his own world of creatures. I love the fact that a band of outsiders stand up together and the leader is extraordinary. 

In terms of the scripts. we did not get the whole stories beforehand. Only snippets of the full story. Even when the script was there, the director allowed us to modulate the script. For me that was the most fun. Some of us are so good at improvising. Wonderful moments. 

We had to film many takes to do the crab swivel but delicately. I took it incredibly seriously. Then the special effects team came up with ideas. It was exhausting but a funny process. Holding the heavy lantern made my shoulder stiff and I had to have physio.

I adore Newt. I love the fact that he’s incredibly empathetic. He is very happy in his own company and stays silent a lot (I get anxious in real life). He says to Dumbledore: we all make mistakes in life, but it’s the trying that counts. 

When we filmed at Hogshead, we got to drink butterbeer – I had to pinch myself thinking ‘this is our job’. Amazing! 

Dan Fogler: Jacob and his bakery had hard times. He reflects the hard times. But he has a glimmer of hope that Queenie might come back. He does it all for his love. 

I get asked which of the fantastic beast I would like to bring in the real world. I’d love to keep the dummy guy, he can predict… The niffler could do it too… 

When Jacob gets a wand, it was an enourmous honour to get one from Dumbledore. It felt great having one. Jacob never got training so he held it like a soldier holds a gun. Previously, it was like being in Star Wars without having a light saber. 

I love how Jacob and Queenie’s relationship might go. For him the most important thing is Queenie. Their relationship makes a good story. 

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