Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Parent Guide
It might not be as enchanting as the first film in the series, but at least it's more convincing than the second.
Parent Movie Review
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is having a peak experience for any magizoologist: midwifing the birth of a qilin. This rare deer-like creature holds a special place in the wizarding world due to its ability to see into a person’s soul. Traditionally, qilins were used to pick leaders of the magical community by determining their goodness and worthiness so the timing of this birth is fortuitous. The International Confederation of Wizards (a magical version of the United Nations) is choosing a new leader and having a qilin confirm character would be helpful. Unfortunately, as Newt watches the mother greet her baby, they are attacked by dark wizards determined to seize the infant qilin for their own twisted purposes.
Arch-villain Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is back and soon to be cleared of charges relating to his evil deeds in the earlier films. Once exonerated, he declares his candidacy for the international leadership of the magical world, with a plan to declare war on Muggles, who he describes as “animals”. Obsessed with pure wizarding blood, he declares his intention to burn down the non-magical world and establish a new order ruled by wizards and witches.
Only one person knows Grindelwald well enough to stop him…but he is magically bound in such a way that his hands are tied. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald were lovers in their youth and swore a blood oath so neither could hurt the other. Horrified by Grindelwald’s violent xenophobia, Dumbledore reaches out to Newt Scamander to save the day. Fortunately, Newt knows a few things about qilins and he also knows how to pick his friends.
Fans of the Harry Potter universe will have one question. Is this movie as disappointing as the second one in the franchise or does it regain the magic of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? The answer is “sort of”. The Secrets of Dumbledore is mercifully better than Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald but it doesn’t achieve the enchanting wonder of the first film. This is partially due to the darkness of the plot, as Dumbledore family secrets intertwine with an increasingly authoritarian magical community. It’s also because the movie feels a bit overstuffed thanks to the multiple plot lines weaving through the story. At one point, Dumbledore warns his colleagues that Grindelwald now has the ability to see the future, so they are going to have to employ “counterthought”. This is apparently the use of “many overlapping plans to confuse Grindelwald and his future sight”. At times it feels like the movie has overlapping stories that can confuse audiences, but, thankfully, the narrative arcs all resolve by the end of the film.
As with other films in Rowling-related franchises, the major concern in this production is violence. There are frequent wand duels which result in injuries and massive property destruction. This film also features a horrifying monster which resembles a gigantic, multi-stingered scorpion, accompanied by scores of smaller critters. This ravenous creature will definitely frighten younger viewers. Parents with traditional views of sexuality will also be unhappy that Dumbledore’s homosexuality is front and center in the plot but it should be noted that there is no romantic activity of any kind.
Content issues aside, this movie is a serviceable outing for a franchise that is expected to run to five films. It’s true that the “Queenie on the dark side” (Alison Sudol) subplot has always been unconvincing. It’s not always clear what’s going on with Newt’s assistant, Bunty (Victoria Yeates). And Lally’s (Jessical Williams) accent is intensely annoying. However, even if this film isn’t mind-blowingly magical, it’s at least absorbing. It doesn’t amplify the series but at least it doesn’t destroy it. Sometimes that’s as good as it gets.Directed by David Yates. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler. Theatrical release April 15, 2022. Updated April 14, 2022
Watch the trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Rating & Content Info
Why is Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore rated PG-13? Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some fantasy action/violence
Violence: There are frequent scenes of fantasy violence. Wand duels involve large scale property destruction and see people injured, thrown around, knocked unconscious, and almost killed. A magical animal is hit with a dark spell and is later shown crying as it dies. A magical beast that looks something like a giant scorpion grabs and kills people; the remnants of their corpses are eaten by other scorpion-like beasts. A man compares humans to animals and complains of their “stench”. A political leader says that if people can’t vote on a candidate the streets will “run with blood”. There are attempted assassinations with poison and spells. A man imagines sitting in a building that catches fire. An important character is tortured with the cruciatus curse. A wizard kills a baby animal.
Sexual Content: There are allusions to a past homosexual relationship. There is mention of an illegitimate pregnancy and sending the mother away to give up the child.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man drinks alcohol in a meeting. Adults drink alcohol at a banquet.
Page last updated April 14, 2022
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Parents' Guide
Why is Dumbledore unable to attack Grindelwald in person? What changes? What do you think Dumbledore will do in the next film to stop Grindelwald?
Why do the wizards seek out Jacob Kowalski? He has no magical powers so what does he contribute to their efforts?
Dumbledore tells Newt that his honesty is a great gift, albeit a painful one. What do you think he means? Do you have any gifts that you sometimes find difficult? Do you see their benefits?
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J.K. Rowling’s magical universe is also explored in the Harry Potter movies which begin with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (released internationally as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).
If you’re looking for more stories about magical creatures, you can try The Spiderwick Chronicles, in which a family finds itself in a house surrounded by unusual creatures, some of whom are extremely dangerous. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children sees unusual youngsters pursued by creatures determined to destroy them.