The Crimes of Grindelwald include a serious lack of wokeness

Where is the wokeness? Where’s that same woke energy you bring to Twitter and changing the OG HP books JK Rowling? WHERE?

*Not spoiler free, but no massive twists revealed either

By now it’s likely you’ve heard at least a few of the lukewarm reviews of The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second instalment of the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts.

I definitely fall in the category of reviewers who found this film lacking something much needed, but I don’t think the universe needs yet another review about that. I’ve also already done a podcast with What I Watched Tonight all about those feelings so if you’re interested in my opinion on that then you can listen here.

Instead, I’m interested in fleshing out the films lack of “wokeness” – for lack of a better word. Now, obviously I take issue with most films lack of wokeness, but this feels especially important for one main reason:

Since discovering her wokeness, and experiencing a tirade of displeasure from Twitter, JK Rowling has made it her mission to go back and retrospectively add representation into her books when it isn’t there.

I am someone who is a huge advocate for representation in media, however when JK Rowling does this, it feels an awful lot like a cop out. I personally understand that when she wrote the books she didn’t have the understanding about representation she does now, so I understand why it was lacking in the Harry Potter series. I personally feel that a better way for her to approach the situation would have been to say “Listen, I fucked up, but I’ll try better in future.”

But the many Crimes of Grindelwald are that she then goes back on that and we’re pretty much at original Harry Potter levels of representation once again.

#1. Where’s my gay Dumbledore?


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Probably the first and most noteworthy change, or “announcement” she made in her new wokeness, was that Dumbledore was gay the whole time and was in love with Grindelwald so…. Prove it? Where was that in this film? I love me some Jude Law but boy was he so very not the gay Dumbledore we all know and love. And on that note, why suddenly is the reason Dumbledore took so long to fight Grindelwald because of some random, unmentioned blood pact instead of GAY PINING LOVE??? Missed opportunityand massive cop out.

#2. Why were the two female leads from the first film sidelined, and the other female lead FRIDGED?

giphy.gifI believe I’ve expressed my feelings about fridging before, but if not, fridging is essentially where writers kill of female characters in order to give emotional gravitas to a male characters storyline and give them a “push”. You can read more about it here, but Leta Lestrange DESERVED BETTER.

Tina also deserved better. Like, bitch where was you this whole film? Gone AF pining over Newt. Queenie also deserved better. She is NOT as dumb as this film makes her out to be. She is a strong woman who loves fiercely but she is full of common sense and I don’t believe the Queenie in the first movie would do this shit.

#3. So somehow in the 6 months between the first and second films Newt Scamander became a lady killer?


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What’s up with every female needing to be in love with male leads? I hate that trope. If they start turning him into a know-it-all Sherlock type I’m walking out. I don’t know quite where I’m going with this point but fuck this.

Ok so that’s how I feel. Actually there are a whole lot more emotions but fuck it, this film has had enough of my attention. Basically, JK IF YOU’RE GONNA DO BETTER, ACTUALLY DO BETTER WITH THE SOURCE MATERIAL YOU ARE CREATING.

A few sidenotes:

Theseuss hot AF

Dumbledore big dick energy

Nifflers ftw

Leta deserved better

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – a review of sorts, and a Harry Potter film of sorts

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – a review of a HP film which was pleasant, but occasionally missed the mark.

fantastic beasts and where to find them - a review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – a review of sorts – yes, that’s as creative as I could manage to get with this title, and actually quite indicative of how I feel about the film. Oh no! That sounds like I’m going to say bad things! I’m not – mostly – so don’t fear!

That being said, I will start off as spoiler-free as I can, but inevitably will have to give you a spoiler warning. It’s not possible for me otherwise.

Ok. Spoiler-free portion. Here we go.

This was a really well-made film, with some highly skilled actors, that situated itself quite successfully within already laid out Harry Potter canon and film universe. In saying this, it didn’t speak profoundly to my soul, or have the degree of creative flair in its storyline that previous Harry Potter films (books) had.

I want to be fair however. This can’t be viewed through the lens we might have viewed the previous 8 films. Those had books to support them, and for the most part, this worked in their favour. There are a lot of complexities within the Harry Potter universe, ones that aren’t easily conveyed in a 120 minute feature film, and without those books to back it up, Fantastic Beasts ended up falling a little flat on certain storylines and concepts that I can feel certain in believing would have been incredible in the books.

On a similar strain, the canon also went a bit wonky as well. There were definitely concepts and magicky things that I felt (should they exist) would almost definitely have cropped up and been significant in the original films/books.

But don’t freak out! These factors didn’t create a terrible film!

fantastic beasts and where to find them - a review

Nothing is going to be perfect (I would die before saying I enjoyed the film adaption of HBP) and altogether this was a Fantastic (pun intended) film that I enjoyed immensely!

The beasts were simply amazing. They were creative, loveable, slightly frightening, and captivating all in one sweep – I only wish there had been more.

My favourite part of the film however, was two characters in particular, and from here, I will announce, you will be reading SPOILERS, so continue at your own risk.

fantastic beasts and where to find them - a review

I wasn’t expecting this, and certainly when first introduced to their characters I wasn’t too impressed, but by the end I was head over heels for both Jacob Kowalski, and Queenie Goldstein. Blabbering buffoon of a short and stout white man, and an almost absurdly feminine white woman who can read minds (sorry, but am I the only one who doesn’t recall anyone having or mentioning this power in the original books or films????) seemed almost lazy. Oh, and then for them to have a romance ?

fantastic beasts and where to find them - a review

And yet, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was predictable, and yet they added some much needed personality into this film. Yes, there was Newt, a crazy, slightly deranged animal lover with a penchant for disregarding rules, but otherwise, everyone was rather uptight, and absolutely committed to a greater good, or cause.

Jacob and Queenie however, while good people, and absolutely committed to doing the right thing, were not on some great crusade, and they truly breathed some life into a rather bleak, and almost depressing film at times. They were silly, fun, affectionate, and wonderfully loyal to each other and the others in their group, it really was a beautiful pairing.

And yet, they could only carry the film so far, its storyline was, of course, not centred around them, but rather Newt, and the whirlwind of Muggle-Wizard conflict he found himself caught up in.

I’ll admit, the Muggle-Wizard conflict was a great storyline concept, as was the Obscurus (so sorry, no idea how it’s actually supposed to be spelt), and yet I could help but feel that they both were a) difficult to place within the existing canon that hadn’t mentioned them and b) underdeveloped. They could’ve been SUCH strong storylines, as could’ve the fantastic-beast-finding adventures, and yet because they were both placed within one movie, it felt like it wasn’t quite sure which one it found most important, and as a result, there was little real emphasis put on either.

However, my biggest issue was Grindelwald.

I had my suspicions that he would be in the film, and even that it all might come down to him, as he was rising to power around the time the film is set. And yet. It deviates from canon. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it was mentioned quite clearly in the books that his power trip never extended further than Europe?  So yeah, I understand that obviously he could’ve tried to enter North America and was eventually thwarted but that still places it rather strangely within canon.

Both because we know he will be stopped before rising to power in the US, so that takes the fear and intrigue out of it, but also because we know Dumbledore was the only one strong enough to stop him. So either Newt is just the appetiser for this film series, and we’ll be seeing more of Dumbledore come in (not opposed to this idea in the slightest), or we’re going to be deviating further from canon (opposed).

But.

My biggest problem with Grindelwalds’ presence is something else entirely.

Johnny Depp was absolutely the wrong person for the role.

Even if we ignore that Jamie Campbell Bower was already the actor for young Grindelwald in the Deathly Hallows, Johnny Depp simply doesn’t look the part.

fantastic beasts and where to find them - a review

Oh yes, they made him look frightening, with his bleached hair, and his mismatched contacts – Depp does unsettling quite well – he just didn’t seem like the kind of guy Albus Dumbledore could fall in love with or idolise. His face simply didn’t look “merry, wild” or with a Fred-and-George air about him at all. I’m sorry, but Depp’s face no longer conveys that, and their styling of him didn’t help the slightest.

A tattooed, Nazi-looking, 50yr old with a white-supremacist air certainly looks the part of someone who commits the acts Grindelwald did, but Grindelwald – much like Voldemort – was supposed to be attractive and charming, and this was anything but.

Oh. And it’s 1920’s New York. Where are all the African Americans? I know I should talk more about this, but I just genuinely do not feel qualified enough to do so, however if you’re interested in more about these, I could recommend this Tumblr post as a starting point.

Ok.

I’ve rambled enough.

If you don’t want to read all of this (understandably) I always put in a TL;DR at the end so you can get the gist.

TL;DR: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a perfectly enjoyable film, that sort of wasn’t sure where it was going at times, and with questionable casting choices, but nonetheless a great Harry Potter film, and one I look forward to watching again and again.

Also a great title sequence that I nearly shed an eye over.

fantastic beasts and where to find them - a review