Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Parent Guide
The second installment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise provides an absorbing story and lots of heart-pounding action but is a darker and somehow less enchanting film than the first.
Parent Movie Review
In 2016, the Harry Potter fandom celebrated the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a new film series by author JK Rowling. Set in New York City in the 1920s, the movie gave Rowling the opportunity to once again demonstrate her ability to create a complete magical universe, packed with adventure, humor, astounding levels of detail, and a sense of wonder. The second in the series has now opened, and while it provides an absorbing story and lots of heart-pounding action, it is a much darker and somehow less enchanting film.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in New York in 1927. Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is being transferred, under heavy security, to Europe to be tried for his crimes there. The dark wizard manages a daring escape (with such frenetic, dizzying visuals that it can be hard to follow) and makes his own way over the Atlantic to pursue his own plots in Paris. Those schemes involve another alumnus from the first film, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller). Credence is an obscurus (a violent, destructive magical force) towards whom Grindelwald has particularly sinister intentions.
Meanwhile in London, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is embroiled in a bureaucratic stalemate with the Ministry of Magic, which has banned him from overseas travel. Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), significantly younger than in the Harry Potter films, is teaching at Hogwarts and is being treated with deep suspicion by the same Ministry functionaries. Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), now an American auror, has pursued Grindelwald to Paris. And her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) and her non-magical love interest, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) have traveled to England for the chance to marry legally, since marriages between witches and non-magical people are banned in America. But the course of love doesn’t run smoothly…
Newt and his friends very quickly wind up in Paris, trying to track down Credence and uncover the mystery of his origins. But this proves to be neither simple nor safe. There are abductions, attacks by violent magical animals, exploding buildings, lethal spells, enchanted fire, and disturbing flashbacks involving a blood oath, a forced marriage, and the death of a baby. There is also the death of a significant character and betrayal by another.
Despite the steady diet of fantasy violence, the film contains little else to concern parents. There are a few other problems with the movie, however. First is the grey filter that director David Yates appears to have used in most of the film, making everything drab and sometimes difficult to see. The second weakness with this production is its comparative paucity of comedic moments. The previous film was regularly punctuated with Rowling’s trademark humor and this one feels heavier without it. Finally, this instalment of the franchise doesn’t have nearly enough of the “fantastic beasts” that enlivened its predecessor.
Parents looking for positive messages will be pleased that this film provides the same messages found in other parts of the Potterverse, particularly the importance of courage, love, loyalty and sacrifice. In the Newt Scamander series, JK Rowling has created a character who exemplifies moral courage: Newt is a man who does what is right, not for power or popularity, but simply because it is right. Newt doesn’t seek rewards and he persists despite danger and great personal cost. This is the brightest spot in a series that is growing increasingly dark.Directed by David Yates. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol. Running time: 134 minutes. Theatrical release November 16, 2018. Updated November 15, 2018
Watch the trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Rating & Content Info
Why is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald rated PG-13? Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some sequences of fantasy action
Violence: An official mentions that a prisoner’s tongue has been removed because he was too persuasive with prison guards. A prisoner orchestrates an escape in mid-air from a coach being pulled by thestrals (flying horse-like creatures). This involves attacks by violent magical creatures, stabbing, driving the coach into the river and filling it with water, and throwing men and animals out in mid-air. A large magical creature is seen rampaging through Paris. Magic is used to kill two adults and a toddler: the deaths are off-screen with only flashes of green light visible. A snake attacks a man. A woman and two men are locked up against their will. A magical parasite is pulled from a man’s eye with tweezers. On two occasions, a man uses a skull to summon visions. A man tries to pull a woman into a wall. A man destroys a house, leaving a woman dead. Two young men make a blood oath: cutting their hands, mingling the blood and swearing an oath. A spell is cast that throws a man backwards onto a chair and ties him in place. Characters are attacked by dark cats which are spirit familiars. A large magical creature attacks in the defense of a friend. A lifeboat sinks at sea. A baby dies in the ocean. A woman attacks a man and he uses magic to kill her in self-defence. A character summons magic fire that kills many people. A major character dies to save others. Other characters summon magical fire to contain the first type of fire. A man uses magic to blow up part of a mountain.
Sexual Content: A powerful wizard puts a woman under a spell that forces her to marry him. She subsequently bears his child. There are hints about a youthful relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. A man and woman embrace.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Wine is poured at a meal.
Page last updated November 15, 2018
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Parents' Guide
Credence is desperate to know where he comes from. Why do you think people feel a need to know their roots? What are the benefits of knowing your family stories? How can adoptive children find their biological families? What do you know about your own family’s history?
Some resources for tracing your family’s roots:
Read books about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Newt Scamander’s textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is required reading at Hogwarts. The Muggle version is available in an edition by JK Rowling.
For more about JK Rowling’s magical universe, start at the beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull tells the story of two children who become responsible for a sanctuary for magical animals.
Cressida Crowell’s How to Train Your Dragon tells the often humorous story of how Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III earned respect amongst his Viking community when he found and trained a dragon.
All books are suitable for children 8 years of age and over. Expect fantasy violence and some peril but no gore.
News About "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"
2016 saw the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first installment of a five part franchise focusing on the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander and his briefcase full of magical creatures. Set in the 1920s, the film's events took place in New York City. Spectacularly successful, with box office earnings over $800 million, the production of its sequel was never in doubt. That sequel opens 16 November 2018 and will follow Newt's adventures in Paris. The story brings back Professor Dumbledore, but his younger self, teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Together, Dumbledore and Newt struggle to track dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald and combat his pro-wizard anti-Muggle ideology. With a screenplay written by JK Rowling, author of the iconic Harry Potter novels, audiences can expect an imaginative, action-packed story that combines fast-paced adventure with examination of deeper themes.
Despite the change in location, fans will be pleased to see the return of many characters from the first Fantastic Beasts film. Eddie Redmayne headlines as Newt Scamander and Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol reprise their roles as Tina and Queenie Goldstein respectively. Viewers who enjoyed Dan Fogler's role as Muggle character Jacob Kowalski will also be happy with his inclusion in the script. Characters new to this installment include Jude Law as a younger Albus Dumbledore and Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange. Newt's brother, Theseus Scamander, will also appear in the film and will be played by Callum Turner.
Related home video titles:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes Newt Scamander and his briefcase full of magical beasts to New York City.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone introduces us to JK Rowling’s magical world.
In Eragon, a young man learns that he has a magical connection to a dragon.