'The Secrets of Dumbledore' an entertaining and magical journey - Albuquerque Journal

‘The Secrets of Dumbledore’ an entertaining and magical journey

Jude Law, center foreground, with, from left, Jessica Williams, Callum Turner, Fiona Glascott, Dan Fogler and Eddie Redmayne in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The third time’s the Disarming Charm.

That’s one of the classes they teach in the second year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, don’t ya know, and while we take only a brief excursion to the future learning institution of Harry Potter and friends in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” the third of the five planned prequels is a relatively lightweight but still consistently entertaining and magical journey that rights the ship after the utter convoluted disaster titled “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018) and feels more connected to the larger HPU (Harry Potter Universe).

“Grindelwald” was an overloaded chamber of confusing subplots and was the worst of the entire “Harry Potter” franchise, but in “The Secrets of Dumbledore,” the characters actually take a moment now and then to explain what’s going on to each other – and thus to the audience – and while that device can be quite injurious to an epic movie (hello, “Eternals”), it’s actually quite welcome here, as we can sit back in our seats and settle in for the adventure.

“The Secrets of Dumbledore” picks up the story in the 1930s, several years after the events of “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” with a visually stunning and heartbreakingly melancholy meeting between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp) in an upscale cafe where these former friends and romantic partners agree they’ll always disagree and there’s nothing they can do about it. The nefarious and scheming Grindelwald lusts for an all-out war against the Muggles, while Dumbledore believes the born-to-magic and the humans can coexist peacefully. These two great wizards are bound by a pact that prevents them from directly waging battle against one another – so Dumbledore calls on the magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and a somewhat motley crew of associates to do his bidding.

Newt’s team includes his older brother, Theseus (Callum Turner), a diplomat with the British Ministry of Magic; his loyal assistant, Bunty (Victoria Yeates), who is clearly in love with her boss; Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), a French pure-blood wizard of Senegalese ancestry, who is mourning and filled with anger over the death of his sister, Leta Lestrange, in “The Crimes of Grindelwald”; the charismatic, American-born Charms professor Lally Hicks (Jessica Williams), and the Muggle baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), whose love, Queenie (Alison Sudol), has crossed over to the dark side.

At the International Confederation of Wizards in Berlin, Grindelwald is absolved of his crimes and sways the masses with his fiery, anti-Muggle rhetoric. (Mikkelsen leaning into the Euro-villain role, delivers a more chilling and more effective performance than Depp’s over-the-top interpretation of Grindelwald). Meanwhile, we learn some revealing and heart-wrenching truths about the hot-headed and menacing Credence (Ezra Miller), and there’s a twist involving not one but two hatching phoenixes known as Qilins (pronounced “chillen”), who hold the key to the upcoming Wizarding World Election.

The best way to thwart the seemingly unbeatable Grindelwald is to confuse him with misdirection, and Dumbledore concocts a plan in which Newt and his team will each carry an identical suitcase – but only one of those suitcases will contain a pure and magical Qilin. This leads to some well-choreographed sequences with slapstick payoffs.

With director David Yates, cinematographer George Richmond, the production design and special effects teams, costume designer extraordinaire Colleen Atwood and veteran composer James Newton Howard adding invaluable contributions, “The Secrets of Dumbledore” is a great-looking film combining extravagant, real-world location shots with wondrous CGI. Still, the pyrotechnics never overwhelm the true joys of this story, i.e., the myriad set pieces in which wizards and witches and Muggles alike have the room and time to tell their stories, to mend old fences or renew old rivalries, to perhaps reach closure and reconciliation before it’s too late.

With Redmayne lending his considerable aw-shucks charms as the mild-mannered but steel-willed Scamander, and an outstanding supporting ensemble led by Mikkelsen, Law, Fogler, Nadylam and Williams, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” casts a number of bewitching spells, not the least of which is making us forget about “The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

Home » Entertainment » ‘The Secrets of Dumbledore’ an entertaining and magical journey

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
'Bands of Enchantment' returns with concerts set at the ...
ABQnews Seeker
"Bands of Enchantment" premieres at 4:30 ... "Bands of Enchantment" premieres at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.1.
Colorado-based band Stone Riot will make its ABQ debut ...
ABQnews Seeker
Though Robson Guy moved to Colorado, ... Though Robson Guy moved to Colorado, he knew that music would always bring him back to New Mexico.
Documentary delves into the unsolved Las Cruces bowling alley ...
ABQnews Seeker
“A Nightmare in Las Cruces” will ... “A Nightmare in Las Cruces” will screen at both Icon Cinema locations Wednesday, Feb. 8, and Thursday, Feb. 9.
Electric Playhouse places bet for second location on the ...
ABQnews Seeker
The ABQ-based company that focuses on ... The ABQ-based company that focuses on interactive and immersive play experiences is set to open its second location on the Las Vegas Strip by ...
New bar Z Lounge delivers cocktails, 'at home vibe'
ABQnews Seeker
Z Lounge inside Hotel Zazz, 3711 ... Z Lounge inside Hotel Zazz, 3711 Central Ave. NE, has a 'come as you are' welcoming with a '60s and '70s vibe.
Mesa Provisions has vaulted into the ranks of best ...
ABQnews Seeker
Mesa Provisions, set on the south ... Mesa Provisions, set on the south side of Central Avenue, is helmed by Steve Riley, former executive chef at Farm and Table.
'Dear Edward' looks at the connections formed in the ...
ABQnews Seeker
"Dear Edward," which will debut on ... "Dear Edward," which will debut on Apple TV+, on Friday, Feb. 3, is based on the Ann Napolitano novel of the same name.
Chris Stapleton sets dates in ABQ and El Paso. ...
ABQnews Seeker
Chris Stapleton is ready to hit ... Chris Stapleton is ready to hit the road with his 'All-American Road Show' in March. First, he will perform the National Anthem at Super ...
Documentary looks at connections between women and Route 66
ABQnews Seeker
'Route 66: The Untold Story of ... 'Route 66: The Untold Story of Women on the Mother Road' will be shown in Gallup on Thursday, Feb. 2, and in Albuquerque on ...
'H.M.S. Pinafore' to dock at the Popejoy stage Feb. ...
ABQnews Seeker
On Sunday, Feb. 5, the New ... On Sunday, Feb. 5, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players return to Popejoy Hall to perform 'H.M.S. Pinafore.'