So the first trailer for Fantastic Beasts: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD came out, and since I'm weirdly invested in this movie franchise for reasons I don't entirely understand, I decided to do a little deep dive analysis of the many mysteries contained within.
First though, check out that poster featuring Jude Law as Young Dumbledore (Youngbledore?) and what's-his-face as Newt Guy. I guess this implies (and the trailer seemingly confirms) that they are, in fact, trying to position Newt as the badass action hero of this story, which...okay. I'm not really sure I buy that, but I suppose that's the inevitable outcome of trying to graft a huge prequel series onto what was clearly supposed to be a simple spin-off story originally.
Also, when did the Harry Potter Cinematic Universe decide that wands constantly have little glowing LED lights at their tips? I'm assuming it's meant to lessen the feeling that the actors are toting around little wooden sticks, but it's always looked odd to me.
This is the new Brand Identity they're using for these Harry Potter spin-offs, of which there will surely be five million (it's the only sure-fire franchise Warner has now that the DC Comics stuff is floundering, so they'll keep cranking that shit out until the end of time).
I wonder how much control JK Rowling has over this stuff? By all outward appearances she's enthusiastically on board with these movies (she's writing them, after all) but I assume Warner would go ahead without her if that wasn't the case.
The trailer opens with a shot of Hogwarts, which I found strangely irritating. Prequels and continuations of big mega-franchises like this can have some real creative value in terms of using an established money-maker to try something different or risky (example: the Marvel juggernaut supporting an all-black afrofuturist blockbuster), but mostly they just go for the pavlovian nostalgia button response (assuming it's possible to be nostalgic for something that was last seen in a movie all of seven years ago).
The new crop of Star Wars movies are really getting hit hard by this; I rolled my eyes when a TIE fighter showed up in the Solo trailer.
Youngbledore in teacher mode. Did the books ever actually say what he taught before he was a headmaster? Is this sinking decades worth of fan theories or anything?
I'm kind of interested in how they're going to depict this character; I think the books implied that after he stopped being a wizard Nazi, Dumbledore immediately became insufferably twinkly-eyed and stayed that way up to the moment of his death, whereas Jude Law just seems kind of cocky here.
(And yes, I'm really curious if, or how, they're going to handle the whole "used to be a wizard Nazi" thing given the current political climate. Might want to tread carefully with that one, guys)
I thought this was a shot of some people fighting with magic, but apparently it's just Newt Guy putting out some street lights. But I wanted to make a point about how action scenes are handled in these movies, so I'm going to pretend the scene is actually about that.
So anyway, a problem that the later movies had is that the books don't really have a whole lot in the way of combat magic; wizards in the Potter-verse can't shoot fireballs or conjure lightning at will, and magic capable of harming someone is either little more than a prank or kills you instantly on contact, with not much in between.
The movies, in order to get around this, decided that wands are basically assault rifles that fire magic bullets. Although they're strangely vague on what the magic pew-pews actually do, since you almost never see anyone get hit by them.
Here we see Newt Guy, wearing one of the two expressions that Eddie Redmayne deployed in the previous movie. We'll see the other one later in the trailer.
Immediately after this there's a bit where some wizards ask Youngbledore if Newt Guy is going to Paris on his orders, and Youngbledore is like "pfft no" but the accompanying shots make it clear that he's lying to them, the scamp. This brings up one of those issues with the entire structure of the Harry Potter storyline that only becomes apparent as an adult: that the entire plot pivots around a school to such an extent that the leader of the anti-evil wizard brigade is also that school's headmaster.
When I read the books as a kid, that didn't really register as unusual (because my own world revolved so heavily around school), but as an adult it just seems kind of odd.
One of our few glimpses of Johnny Depp. Clearly, someone in the Warner marketing department was better at reading the temperature in the room than the film's director or writer. I will admit that Grindelwald's character design is perfectly acceptable when viewed from behind and at a great distance.
This scene seems to be Grindelwald promising to Make Magic Great Again* in front of a crowd of Parisian wizards. I guess Wizard Paris doesn't have extradition treaties with Wizard America or Wizard Britain.
*(You know he's going to say something like that at some point. You know it's going to happen).
Is it just me, or is that hair and coat combination totally sick
They decided to bring Muggle Guy back. I find this decision highly questionable, since his story arc was the best part of the first movie and it ended perfectly. Given that JK Rowling is writing this, there is an approximately 90% chance he will not survive to the end of the series. Pour out a glass of wizard beer for Muggle Guy.
(Or he'll end up as a teacher at Hogwarts or something. If that happens, let it be known that I was the first person to suggest it. Don't go looking to see if anyone else did it before me, I already checked the whole internet)
As you can see, they're still sticking with the whole "fantastic beasts" angle. I really wonder if that will continue for the next three installments, or if they'll just quietly drop it.
Speaking of characters who shouldn't have come back, I'm pretty sure that's the walking mcguffin from the first movie on the right. Apparently he's still alive, which makes me wonder what the whole point of the previous movie was.
No idea what this place is, but it looks cool.
Some people didn't like the fact that the locales from the first Fantastic Beasts movie were a lot stodgier and more "normal" than the mainline Potter movies, but I actually find the wizards more interesting when they're doing the whole urban fantasy thing and operating in the normal world. The David Yates movies already severely toned down how fantastical and wacky the wizarding world is compared to both the books and the earlier movies (mostly by jettisoning a lot of the medieval flair in favour of "the 1940s, but magic"), so they might as well just take it one step further.
The rest of the trailer does that thing where it has a bunch of quick cuts with no context, most of which seem to revolve around a magic circus. Judging by the "Oni" sign in the background, they're dipping into all of that international wizard stuff from the website that everyone hated.
I believe these flying horses are called Thestrels, and you can only see them if you've witnessed death. I don't know why I remember that.
Are creatures from the original canon also considered Fantastic? Are they only semi-Fantastic? Exactly how Fantastic does a Beast need to be to qualify as a Fantastic Beast?
A closer look at Grindelwald, but with much better hair. They didn't pay attention to anyone's concerns about Johnny Depp, but hopefully David Yates and J Ro listened when people complained that he looked like a boiled egg wearing a toupee.
What is up with the dilated eye, though? It does not look sinister or threatening or whatever the intention was, and it continues the series' tiresome "evil people are ugly" thing.
Here's Eddie Redmayne's other facial expression. This shot is accompanied by a voice-over of Youngbledore saying that he can't move against Grindelwald, so Newt Guy has to do it.
Which brings up something I've been wondering about: if I remember correctly, somewhere in the books it's stated that there was this long stretch where Grindelwald was running around blowing people up and Dumbledore wouldn't go and stop him because he still loved him, which is obviously what's going on here; but how long are they really going to drag that out for? Four whole movies?
Basically, I'm wondering if this is going to be a Hobbit situation where the decision to make five movies was based more on Warner's finances than the actual needs of the story. I guess we'll find out later this year!