Book review | Fantastic Beasts Fizzles

Published 2018

Dear fans of fantasy fiction,

I hate that I am going to join the critics because I think Rowling did a remarkable job with the writing of the Harry Potter series, but her latest published screenplay, The Crimes of Grindewald, was an unfortunate addition to the Harry Potter franchise. It lacked cohesion and depth, and yes you can accomplish depth within a screenplay – think Shakespeare for a classic example. It’s very difficult to understand who characters are and remember them from one scene to the next. You recognize names such as Lestrange but you are not told who that character is in relation to the characters of the same surname you remember from the novels. Basically, when you begin reading the screenplay you are met with a bunch of “snapshot” type scenes with two or three characters in each snapshot – characters you do not know or care about.

Once you reach the halfway point, it does pick up some. You begin to at least remember the characters from earlier scenes and each scene has more dialogue to it. I have read critiques from those who follow the timeline intently, that there are some inconsistencies with the ages of certain characters that you know from the novels, such as Professor McGonagal, but that didn’t really bother me or did I even notice.

Newt, the lovable keeper of magical animals, barely had a role and Grindelwald, who fans remember from the novels as being the holder of the elder wand at one point, was remarkably like Voldemort, the man who ultimately killed him. The similarities were so striking that it made me wonder if there was more of a blood connection there. Especially with Tom Riddle’s parentage being so strange and open to something such as discovering his father was not actually Tom Riddle Senior.

The ending – I won’t spoil it here – was highly unexpected and not in a good way. It creates more questions than it answers.

I did not see the movie yet and perhaps that adds more though the reviews were far from great, but the published screenplay is ultimately dissatisfying.

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