My name is Yennaedo Balloo, Gryffindor is my Hogwarts house, Thunderbird for Ilvermorny; my patronus is a siberian cat and my wand is a 13” English Oak Wood with dragon heartstring core (powerful, and best suited to “natural magicks”).
I love Harry Potter.
It’s a brilliant series filled with heart and wonder, and I’m far from alone in my appreciation of it. That said, I’m going to move at a steady clip in discussing this trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald under the assumption that you’ve either read the books or seen the original film series, because at this point there are only maybe ten people in the developed world who haven’t, and this is PopLurker so I think it’s a safe assumption. Le’go.
Despite my fandom, I was only cautiously optimistic when the first Fantastic Beasts came out. Sure, more time in the world of muggles and wizards was a good thing, but could the world really hold up to scrutiny of its history being stretched out in such a way? Newt Scamander had, until that first film, been known only by name as the wizard responsible for an oft referenced textbook used at Hogwarts (which became the name for this series of films).
I was impressed with Fantastic Beasts. Eddie Redmayne is a charming delight as the somewhat awkward magical animal lover and does so with an ease of deeper sense of character than I think people give him credit for. He wasn’t just “awkward” he was a scientist who was infinitely more comfortable with the creatures he studied than other people, so I’m allowing myself to be more than just cautiously excited for the continuation of Scamander’s adventures.
Not that I’d have much control, because there’s a lot here to be excited for. Whereas Grindelwald was a “secret” villain of the first film, revealed only at the end to be Johnny Depp in an unpublicized turn as the legendary villainous wizard Grindelwald. Not much is known about Grindelwald except tertiary accounts in the Harry Potter saga of his being a powerful and evil wizard that Dumbledore had, at one time, been friends (or possibly more) to, but who Dumbledore ultimately defeated.
That we’re launching headfirst into getting to see that battle first hand is all kinds of exciting. My motto for these reactions is always: trailers aren’t products, they’re promises, and this one is making some great promises.
First off, young Dumbledore. For another actor, this might just be a “pop” role to cash a paycheck on, but Jude Law is clearly coming from the McKellan school of thought and already shines just the right amount of charm for me to believe he’s young Dumbledore. This is some 70 years before the events of Harry Potter putting Dumbledore around 40, so “young” is relative.”
There’s all the right beats for it: the shirking of authority to handle things outside of the bureaucracy, the mischievous glint in the eyes Law has down pat- and the echo of the Dumbledore we know in his being asked about whether or not he’s sent Scamander on a mission, and Dumbledore himself referencing Scamander’s rebellious streak (an unusual trait for a Hufflepuff, but Scamander’s house assignment may indicate the loyalty Dumbledore values).
Considering the stakes, a fugitive Grindelwald on the march for power and terror, Dumbledore would need to be crafty- but I’m also intrigued to see the emotional stakes in this particular fight for the wizard. With Voldemort, Dumbledore felt he had failed as a teacher, and even confessed that it might have been his own impetuousness and arrogance that led things to go as far as they did before he acted. This is the Dumbledore of a time before Tom Riddle’s enrollment at Hogwarts, there’s an interesting character there- one not wounded by failures of the world and people around him, but still arrogant thanks to his tremendous skills as a wizard and burdened by love even for a demented wizard.
There’s more to be excited about than just Dumbledore, of course. One of the most charming parts of the original Fantastic Beasts was the motley that formed around Scamander on the adventure, and it looks like we’re back to it. Dan Fogler returns as Jacob Kowalski, who honestly felt like the warm heart of the original Fantastic Beasts (I may have cried when he lost his memory in the rain at the end), so perhaps Alison Sudol’s Queenie did jar his memories when she found him at the end after all.
I said up above: the big thing with Harry Potter is the wonder, the joy of seeing magic and creatures that make the world feel so much bigger and more spectacular than we imagine and I love the style Fantastic Beasts struck that the trailer seems to be consistent with: on the one hand there’s the art deco majesty of the 1920s:
On the other we have the eponymous Fantastic Beasts:
But amid all of that we have a story laced with intrigue as we see ominous shots of Katherine Waterston’s Tina alongside Grindelwald while he speaks of choosing side, (and only see Scamander paired up with the likes of Dumbledore, Jacob, and another wizard at the 1:38 mark I can’t identify. Perhaps the trailer is misleading me to think there could be this kind of drama in this series, that Tina who helped capture Grindelwald in the first film could be swayed to join is cause, or perhaps there’s an Imperius curse at work…
But whatever it is, this is a mystery, an adventure and a world I’m excited to get to dive back into.
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