LA Reviews: 'The Secrets of Dumbledore’ Has, Thankfully, More Charms Than Curses - Arts & Culture

Ironically, it’s the moments of humanity that are the saving grace of this movie about magic.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ newest entry to the Wizarding World through the Fantastic Beasts films struggles to reproduce the same magic inspired by the Harry Potter franchise.

Nonetheless, it has enough quirks to hold its own as a prequel series.

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The Secrets Of Dumbledore is the third installment in the series. It follows Albus Dumbledore attempting to stop dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from seizing control of their world.

Unable to do this alone, he enlists the help of Newt Scamander to lead a team of wizards, witches, and a brave Muggle on a dangerous mission where they encounter beasts and Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.

The most difficult spell to cast here was the illusion that would suspend the audience’s disbelief.

First off, Grindelwald is noticeably no longer Johnny Depp, whom production booted over unrelated circumstances. Not enough change reflects in the appearance of Depp’s replacement, Mads Mikkelsen, so as to mend the continuity gap.

While this might seem like a negligible problem of logistics, it actually detracts from the plotline of Dumbledore canonically being in love with Grindelwald. Right off the bat and with an altered cast, it’s hard to swallow the chemistry. In this case, it’s the lack thereof.

Moreover, Dumbledore being put front and center sort of relegates Scamander as a supporting character somehow.

Muggle Magic

The magic arguably comes alive with the more “Muggle” elements. Of course, it couldn’t have taken place with the sorcery scenes as these lacked the firepower and visual appeal of even earlier entries in the franchise.

Such humanistic appeal includes the “forbidden romance” between Jacob and Queenie, to the (spoiler alert) more tragic killing of the mother-child Qilin (pronounced chillin’).

To the Potterheads, The Secrets of Dumbledore might pack just enough wizardry. Non-fans, meanwhile, could pass watching at least for now to avoid disenchantment.

Banner Photo by © 2022 WBEI Publishing Rights © J.K.R. TM WBEI

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