2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved
+++ Opinion +++
The fact that the “Harry Potter” films continue to enjoy such popularity is not only due to the magical world, whose wonders and dangers we as viewers together with the protagonists Harry ( Daniel Radcliffe ), Ron ( Rupert Grint ) and Hermione ( Emma Watson ) are allowed to explore again and again. Just as elementary for the success of the series is the heartbreaking interpersonal relationship, which has been developed in a more nuanced way from part to part and has given deep insights into the inner lives of the various characters.
The Fantastic Beasts series suffers from both aspects. David Yates , who has staged every single entry in the Harry Potter universe since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, not only seems to have become a bit operationally blind and no longer has any real access to the wondrous world of wizards, to get witches and muggles. It’s also not particularly human anymore, which only reveals emotional highlights in theory. With one exception.
Even if ” Fantastic Beasts 3: Dumbledore’s Secrets ” didn’t turn out to be a successful film for various reasons (for example because of its incredibly anti-democratic tendencies, as you can read here ), it still comes up with a sequence that is among the most beautiful and most haunting of the entire Harry Potter franchise.
» “Fantastic Beasts 3” DVD, Blu-ray & 4K at Amazon *
Here love plays with open cards
It’s right from the opening that I had hope that “Fantastic Beasts” would finally do what the “Harry Potter” adventures did at least once in every film: emotionally engage me. Albus Dumbledore ( Jude Law ) and Gellert Grindelwald ( Mads Mikkelsen ) meet in a nearly deserted restaurant. Instead of blaming each other for how things could have gotten so out of hand, here we see what Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald is ridiculously screwed up about: two men mourning the loss of their love .
The nice thing about the scene is not only that what was actually already more than obvious in the second part is finally said. Rather, it is the way that moves here, because Dumbledore and Grindelwald are completely self-evident about their former love. This means that the former homosexual relationship between the two powerful magicians is not presented as a surprise for the audience, but as an organic part of the exchange. A surprise would have been out of place here either, because both men know what they had in each other – and both know what they have lost since they were no longer a couple.
Was that it or is “Fantastic Beasts 4” still to come?
Here “Fantastic Beasts 3” manages to unleash real emotions and speaks to the characters something that they lack most of the time: momentum. After Dumbledore and Grindelwald discuss how it wasn’t beliefs that once held them together, but love, Dumbledore’s restaurant bursts into flames.
The Hogwarts head understands here that he cannot save his great love, but must stop it. While the flame metaphor may not be terribly subtle, it is effective and closes off a scene that is remarkable, making it exceptional in a film that is primarily notable for its rigorous squandering of potential.
By the way: In order for “Fantastic Beasts 3: Dumbledore’s Secrets” to be released on the lucrative Chinese cinema market, Warner has now removed exactly the crucial lines of dialogue from the opening scene. Here you can read more about what it’s all about and how the studio justifies its decision in a statement:
Gay moment in “Fantastic Beasts 3” censored: This is how Studio Warner now takes a stand
In our new podcast episode, we discuss Fantastic Beasts 3: Secrets of Dumbledore, including how Mads Mikkelsen is doing as Johnny Depp’s replacement.
*The link to the Amazon offer is a so-called affiliate link. If you make a purchase through this link, we will receive a commission.