Movies & TVReview: Secrets of Dumbledore

Review: Secrets of Dumbledore


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Spoiler Free Review


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Secrets of Dumbledore is finally out after a rocky path to release. It’s not often a main character is removed from a project and it’s a natural worry that it won’t be quite as good. Well, in Secrets of Dumbledore we see Mads Mikkelsen take over the role of Gellert Grindelwald from Johnny Depp. Mikkelsen does a fantastic job in making the character his own and providing us with a nuanced and menacing performance. Mikkelsen has a natural charisma that works perfectly for this role and in the shared scenes with Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore) you can really believe the characters shared history and turmoiled love.

Dumbledore and Grindelwald at odds in Secrets of Dumbledore
It’s a little more than a lover’s tiff!

As well as Mikkelsen Law also provides a standout performance, as a younger Dumbledore. Let’s face it, he’s a much beloved character from the original Harry Potter stories which means it must be right. What Law has developed is a version of the character that you can believe is the younger version of Harris and Gambon. In certain lines you can almost hear the same accent coming through. This is exactly what long-time fans of the Wizarding World franchise deserve and I’m pleased to see the care Law has given to the role. The film, as hinted at by the title, is very much focused on the Dumbledore family and we learn a lot more about events hinted at in Harry Potter and detailed more in Crimes of Grindelwald.

The lead, Eddie Redmayne, as everyone’s favourite (and let’s face it only!) Magizoologist; Newt Scamander is as fantastic as ever. He bumbles about in this charmingly geeky and awkward way. In this film, much like the previous two, Newt is working with Dumbledore to try and stop Grindelwald’s nefarious plans.

Newt does a dance in Secrets of Dumbledore
Newt does a dance!

Along the way he employs the help of old characters like Jacob, Theseus, Yusuf Kama, and Bunty. We also get a character that was a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in Crimes of Grindelwald, Eulalie Hicks. It’s great to see a more diverse ensemble come together in this action-adventure plot. Jacob, as you would expect from the previous movies, continues to be the comic relief.

Jessica Williams, the actress who plays Eulalie Hicks, is superb. She has some great dialogue and action sequences that are vital to the story. Although this is the first proper appearance of the character, she quickly became one of my favourites during the 2-hour 23-minute runtime.

Eulalie Hicks in Secrets of Dumbledore
Jessica Williams as Eulalie Hicks in Secrets of Dumbledore

The film has received a lot of negative reviews for being a slow, political, and lumbering mess. I must disagree. Thankfully, there are still an abundance of fantastic beasts in Secrets of Dumbledore as you would hope and expect. The plot is a globetrotting adventure with themes that reflect the rise of a truly evil person under the disguise of making things better. Perhaps those who feel this is ‘too political’ can make more modern associations other than that of World War II and Hitler’s rise to power. While the ‘Hitler-Like’ villain is tried and true in fiction for decades this doesn’t detract from the enjoyable movie where good is trying to outwit evil.

Secrets of Dumbledore has fantastic CGI elements that showcase some nostalgic parts of the Harry Potter world while introducing us to new and exciting locations. Fantastic Beasts is really delivering on the Wizarding World aspect of the franchise. The music is also a delight throughout as it harmonises with the rest of franchise while still feeling fresh.

Is Secrets of Dumbledore worth a cinema trip?

Simply, yes. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Secrets of Dumbledore is a strong entry to the series and while not as good as the first, isn’t bad by any means. It’s defintiely one to watch in the cinema. The story is furthered, the characters are developed and most importantly – it leaves you wanting more. Accio sequel!

Hogwarts in Secrets of Dumbledore
A stunning vista of Hogwarts in Secrets of Dumbledore
James Refelian
James Refelian
When I was seven years old I tried to write a spy novel. It was terrible; in case you wondered, but I’ve always loved stories. Then I got to play videogames and suddenly here were stories that could be told in so many ways, coming to life in front of my eyes. I’ve been hooked ever since and have enjoyed games on pretty much every platform you can imagine. If you love stories too then I hope my reviews help you discover something new. You can always celebrate storytelling with me on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube - @Refelian66.

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