Review of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – The Complete Screenplay’ by J K Rowling and Steve Kloves

I really enjoyed reading the previous screenplays, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Crimes of Grindelwald. The third instalment, The Secrets of Dumbledore, was no exception, a quick and easy read which allowed me to catch the dialogue that I missed when watching in the cinema (I wish the actors wouldn’t mumble so much…) This edition has extra material, such as costume sketches, renderings of sets, graphic designs and commentary from a few people involved with the film. I liked these, although they were sprinkled throughout the screenplay and tended to weaken the magic a little by reminding you that it’s not real. Maybe they should have been at the end of the book.

All of this did not make me forget what a disappointment the film was after waiting so long to see it. Not as good as the second one, which in turn was not as good as the first. It was so obviously a bridge between the second and fourth films without much of a story in its own right. I hated the animal sacrifice element. The character of Nagini was absent without explanation. Tina, one of the main characters, only appeared at the end. There are various inconsistencies with the rules of Rowling’s Wizarding World. Grindelwald is now played by Mads Mikkelsen, who seems more authentic perhaps but I still prefer Johnny Depp in the role. I don’t find Jude Law’s portrayal of younger Dumbledore very convincing and this is probably why I found the Dumbledore-focused scenes lacking, which is a pity as the whole film is about him (and his secrets!)

However, reading the screenplay has made me appreciate the film more and perhaps revise my opinion a little. I’m hoping to like the next one more – and fingers crossed there will be a next one (it hasn’t been confirmed yet). Despite everything I’ve just said, there are some elements that I enjoyed and I would be very sad if the series were left incomplete.

Published in 2022.

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