THE UNIVERSE: Harry Potter Series or The Potter-Verse
THE MOVIES: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them.
THE BIG PICTURE: Based on the uber successful book series by J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter films follow the adventures of a boy wizard from age 11 to 18 and slowly unravels the mystery of his importance to the wizarding world. The first few films are very much children’s films and then like the book series, as Harry gets older the films get more mature complex and darker. If you’re ready to introduce you kid to this series, make sure they can handle the last few before you start. And a piece of advice, if you are debating watching the movies first or reading the books first, my advice is watch the movies then read the books. When you read the books first you just find yourself watching the movies waiting for the scenes you liked in the book and upset about the parts of the book that got cut out. If you watch the movies first, the things that got cut are just bonus content.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
PG | 2h 32min
In memory of Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher:
RECAP – After being left on their doorstep, Harry Potter is living a terrible life with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and their son Dudley. On his 11th birthday, Harry is visited by a giant named Hagrid who reveals that Harry is a wizard and has been enrolled at Hogwarts School of Magic. On the way to Hogwarts he also finds out that he is famous in the wizarding world, his parents left him an ass load of gold and he meets his new besties for life Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Once at school, Harry and his new friends stumble on to a series of mysteries involving a three-headed dog, a mirror that lets you see your heart’s desire, an escaped troll and something called a Sorcerer’s stone which can grant eternal life. Convinced Professor Snape is out to get the stone for himself, Harry, Ron and Hermione track him through the bowels of Hogwarts only to the reveal it was Professor Quirrell who was after the stone. Quirrell needs the stone to help bring back to life Lord Voldemort an evil wizard living on the back of his head who was thought destroyed when he killed Harry’s parents and then tried to kill Harry as a baby. Harry through luck manages to defeat Quirrell and keep Voldemort away from the stone. He and his friends are hailed as heroes, and Harry realizes he has finally found where he belongs.
REVIEW – Really quick: I’m not sure how, but my Blu-Ray is “Harry Potter and the PHILOSOPHER’S Stone”, not the American version “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. I checked and I ordered “Sorcerer’s Stone” from Amazon years ago, but when I put in the disc, the title said, “Philosopher’s Stone” and every time the “stone” is mentioned in the movie, they say Philosopher instead of Sorcerer. So that’s cool /odd.
On the rewatch itself, I think because everything that’s come after, it’s kind of forgotten how good the first movie is. It’s a solid kids movie, and I will stress that, it was made for kids. Yes, adults can enjoy it and I certainly did, but nothing is too scary for a child and the amount of danger Harry and his pals get in, never feels like it could REALLY kill them. It’s also such a pleasure to see “old friends” like Alan Rickman as Snape and Richard Harris as Dumbledore. The world that is set up for Harry seems so nice and magical, and fun, despite everyone dressing like they are still in Dickensian England (that’s never really explained). What’s not so great are the kids, I hate to say. The leads at times seem a little wooden. I don’t know if it was because this is consciously trying to be a kid’s movie, but there are a lot of “open mouth moments of shock” and mugging and “funny” faces that seems out of place especially considering the number of Oscar winners and nominees they are working with. And some of the computer effects are just bad, especially the three-headed dog, and the troll which is so bad it looks like it was either half-finished or was supposed to be in much lower budgeted movie. But aside from that this is a very solid and entertaining foundation to the Harry Potter World.
Minor Gripe: Its weird seeing Game of Thrones’ Walder Frey playing Argus Filch. They even dress him exactly alike. You can almost imagine Filch between scenes going off to plan the Red Wedding.
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? Pretty much everything. This film sets up the rules of wizarding world. But the biggies are not all wizards or wizard families are good, and the Voldemort smoke-monster-thingy will be back in one form or another. Ron has a rat named Scabbers. One of Harry’s school books is called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
PG | 2h 41min
In memory of Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher:
(Amnesia due to self-inflicted Memory Charm)
RECAP – Harry’s had no word from his wizard friends all summer, because a rogue house elf named Dobby doesn’t want him at Hogwarts due to impending plot that might harm him. Soon after Ron arrives with his flying car, and its off for another mystery filled adventure at Hogwarts. Once there, they find the “Heir of Slytherin” has opened the Chamber of Secrets and unleashed a magical creature that his “petrifying” the students, including Hermione. Harry gains some insight after a flashback via an old student named Tom Riddle’s diary to the last time the chamber was opened and Hagrid’s spider friend was thought responsible. But a final message from the Heir reveals Ron’s sister Ginny has been taken to the chamber to die. Harry and Ron team up with new teacher and famous author Gilderoy Lockhart to get her back, only to find Lockhart a fraud. Harry makes into the Chamber to find Ginny, almost dead, and Tom Riddle, a ghost of the evil wizard Lord Voldemort the true heir of Slytherin. Riddle has been controlling Ginny all year via his diary which contains part of his former self, in the hopes of using her and it to bring himself back to life. After a fight with creature that was harming the students, Harry destroys the diary, destroying Riddle’s ghost and saving Ginny. After Harry and Dumbledore confront Draco Malfoy’s father Lucuis, as the person who gave the diary to Ginny and set this whole plot in motion. As a bit of revenge Harry frees Malfoy’s elf Dobby by giving him a sock.
REVIEW – This movie feels long. Its only about ten minutes longer that the first one, but that movie has so much “universe” to set up to fill the time. In this one, it’s all set up so now all the extra time just feels indulgent. The movie drags spending a more time in scenes than it probably needs to. And because it’s a mystery you think those things are important and then they end up not being. There is a whole sequence with Harry and Ron in the dark forest where the result, is: “Oh I guess that’s not the monster”. With that said the performances by the kids are so much better this time around. I could have done with more of Jason Issac’s Lucius Malfoy and less of Kenneth Branagh’s Lockhart. Lockhart is a character you’re supposed to find obnoxious, but Branagh never seems to make him likable. Although it is nice noticing how all the teachers already know he’s a fake. Issac’s Lucius Malfoy, is so slimy and evil, he becomes so much fun. Sadly this is last time we see Richard Harris as Dumbledore, which has always made me wonder what Harris would have done with the next six movies, or what his replacement Michael Gambon would have done differently in the first two. The effects are so much better in this one than the last film. Dobby seems much more photo real than Sorcerer’s Stones Troll or 3 Headed dog. With all this going on, the movie still feels kid friendly, maybe a tad darker, but if the kids could handle the first one this should be okay.
Minor Gripe: The Whomping Willow plays such a huge role in the next movie, and in that movie its clearly away from the campus. But in this one its right there in the court yard. Somebody should have talked to someone about that.
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? Well the Whomping Willow is back in a big way. This is not last we’ve seen of Dobby or Malfoy’s Dad. Voldemort’s real name is Tom Riddle. There may be more things out there like Tom Riddle’s diary. One day Ginny Weasley might be more to Harry than just a girl he saved in the Chamber of Secrets.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
PG | 2h 22min
In memory of Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher:
(Outed as Werewolf)
RECAP – Harry’s trip back to Hogwarts is made more perilous due to escape of alleged Voldemort follower, Sirius Black. Everyone believes Black betrayed Harry’s parents to Voldemort and is now out to kill Harry himself. As a precaution Hogwarts now has Dementors, magical being that suck the very life out of their victims for protection.But for some reason they keep attacking Harry. Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, takes it upon himself to help Harry find a way to fight off the dementors. Harry and Lupin grow close and he reveals that he was friends with Harry’s parents and Sirius Black. After Ron is attacked by a black dog that has been following Harry all the secrets get revealed. The dog is Sirius Black, and he is not out to kill Harry but Ron’s rat Scabbers aka Peter Pettigrew, who was the one really betrayed Harry’s parents. Everything looks like it will work out, Pettigrew is caught and now Sirius can get out of prison and if Harry wants he can live with him, since he is Harry’s godfather. That is until Lupin’s secret is revealed, he’s a werewolf. As the moon comes out, all hell breaks loose, Pettigrew escapes and Sirius and Harry are nearly killed by the Dementors. Harry wakes up in the hospital and learns Sirius’s death is imminent. Dumbledore suggest Harry and Hermione go back in time, retrace their steps and see if they can save Sirius. They are successful, but Siruis must now go into hiding.
REVIEW – My favorite of bunch. It was also my favorite book. There is a frenetic energy that director Alfonso Cuaron brings to this that is missing from the first 2 films, that makes the almost 2 and half hour film feel like half of that. The movie is very loose which gives it a sense of fun. Harry, Hermione and Ron get better as each movie progresses. Michael Gambon’s debut as Dumbledore, gives much more life to the character. Harris most likely due to his illness was more of still presence, where as Gambon’s Dumbledore, can move and crack jokes, yet still come off as wise when he needs to. You also have to love seeing Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and David Thewis all in the same scene together. I’m also a sucker for time travel, so Harry and Hermione getting to “redo” one of the more exciting parts of the movie is a treat. The downside, I love the mystery of the film I just wish it had been shown a little more rather than explained. And I guess they spent all the CGI money on the dementors, because the CGI Werewolf is awful. If it was just fake looking that’d be one thing, but it gross too bearing no resemblance to actor he’s transformed from.
Minor Gripe – I know Hermione and Ron end up together in the books. But Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliff have so much more chemistry that for the movies Hermione and Harry as a couple seems to make a lot more sense.
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? Sirius Black is Harry’s Godfather and technically his legal guardian. Peter Pettigrew is still out there and still very loyal to Voldemort. Harry has been taught some spells that a wizard his age usually doesn’t know.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
PG-13 | 2h 37min
In memory of Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher:
Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody
(Revealed to be Barty Crouch Jr in disguise)
RECAP – After a quick trip to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry and his friends arrive at school to find out Hogwarts is hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament. One student at least 17 years old from each school will compete, except somehow 14-year-old Harry, has been entered in the tournament. After the first event, where Harry fights a dragon, the whole school is upset to have to attend a dance. Harry and Ron are awful at asking girls out, and insult Hermione when they assume she doesn’t have a date either. But at the dance they discover that she does have one, it’s rival wizard school champion, Victor Crum, and they also discover Hermione is actually really pretty. (Ron acknowledges this be being mean to her.) After the second event where Harry does well, everyone’s eyes are on him for the final event in a maze. Harry and fellow Hogwarts champion Cedric (TEAM EDWARD!) make it thru and agree to get the Triwizard Cup together. When they do both are transported to a graveyard trap set for Harry, by Voldemort. Cedric is killed, Harry is captured and used to help regenerate a new body for Voldemort. After torturing Harry for a bit, Voldemort prepares to kill him, but a mishap with their wands allows Harry to escape. Harry returns to Hogwarts in tears with the terrible news, Lord Voldemort has returned.
REVIEW – I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I got at the end of this movie. This is truly the end of “The Fun Adventures of Harry Potter and his pals” and the beginning of the mythology that will define the rest of the series. And you just feel that the second Harry escapes from Voldemort. It’s heart breaking as you watch the characters realize the “care free” existence they have been enjoying is over. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is truly terrifying switching instantly between spoiled child and murdering psychopath. Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore continues to impress, realizing he nearly got Harry just to try and solve the mystery of how he got entered in the first place. He also has my favorite line of the series, “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Beyond that, the tournament events themselves make for some fun sequences. My only gripe is some of the more “character moments”. Everyone seems REALLY concerned about the dance, and then all of that is quickly forgotten once it’s over. And Harry and Ron’s “fight” is so short, it seems almost unnecessary. But after the showdown in the cemetery between Harry and Voldemort all of that seems like quaint little anecdotes from a simpler time.
Minor Gripe – So Moody was a fake the whole time? Then why is he so beloved by the kids later on? They never met the real guy. And Cedric’s Dad didn’t show up to any of the events except the one where he dies?
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? Voldemort is BACK, and the Ministry of Magic may not want everyone to know that. Beauxbatons champion Fleur Delacour will one day marry a Weasley.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
PG-13 | 2h 18min
In memory of Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher:
(Dragged away by Centaurs)
RECAP – Harry is threatened with expulsion after using magic outside school to defend himself and his cousin Dudley from Dementors. After Dumbledore helps clear him, he is off to Hogwarts where Ministry of Magic Undersecretary Delores Umbridge has been made new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. Since the Ministry refuses to believe Voldemort has returned its Umbridge’s job to make sure everyone keeps believing that, and at all costs, including stopping Harry from spreading his “lies”. Also since Umbridge won’t teach them any spells to fight against the dark arts, Harry’s friends create Dumbledore’s army, and have Harry teach them. Meanwhile Harry has visions of Voldemort looking for something in the Ministry. Dumbledore’s ACTUAL army, the Order of the Phoenix, believe it’s a weapon he didn’t have the last time. Umbridge exposes Dumbledore’s Army, and begins ruling Hogwarts with an iron fist. She is driven over the edge by Ron’s brothers’ prank and is prepared to take it out on Harry. In the middle of this Harry has another vision of Voldemort hurting Sirius. Hermione tricks Umbridge into going into the forest to find “Dumbledore’s Secret Weapon” where she is attached and taken away by Centaurs. Then Harry and his friends are off to the ministry to save Sirius only to find it was a trap, set by Voldemort to get Harry to find a prophesy about himself and Voldemort. The Death Eaters attack but are soon met by Sirius and the members of the Order. During the battle Sirius is killed. Harry runs off to attack his killer but is met by Voldemort. Dumbledore arrives and duels with Voldemort, exposing him finally to the Wizarding world. As Harry prepares to go home, Dumbledore tells him about the prophecy. Harry is the chosen one, and only he can defeat Voldemort.
REVIEW – Tonally this movie is very different, very dark. Gone is the wonder of seeing new magical things. Those moment have been replaced by the overwhelming feeling of dread. This is the first movie that feels less for kids and more for adults. It does have its light moments, but its between Harry being attacked, his being on trial, the adults not trusting him, his fellow students thinking he’s a liar, Umbridge abusing him. It makes you yearn for days of bloated 20 minutes Quidditch sequences. The new tone takes some getting used to, and it’s probably why this is my least favorite movie. Even the more “up” events like Harry teaching Dumbledore’s army are intercut with Umbridge, Malfoy and the rest of the bad guys trying to find them and stop them. The final act of the movie LITERALLY takes place in the dark at the Ministry of Magic. But it’s awesome watching Dumbledore and Voldemort duel. Imelda Staunton does such a great job making you HATE Dolores Umbridge who, all apologies to Voldemort, is the most evil character in the entire series. The movie is still good, but after the highs of Goblet of Fire and Azkaban, this darker tone of this one takes some getting used to.
Minor Gripe – In the other movies, the kids’ parents hear about everything that goes on at the school. But Umbridge starts torturing kids and not one parent says a word?
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? The good guys are the Order of the Phoenix. Harry and Voldemort can see in each other’s minds. There is a lot more to Snape’s memories than the glimpse Harry saw. According to the prophesy only Harry can kill Voldemort and vice versa. We also may not have seen the last of Dolores Umbridge.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
PG | 2h 33min
In memory of Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher:
(Murdered the Headmaster)
RECAP – Dumbledore has asked Harry to help recruit former Professor Slughorn back to Hogwarts to get a memory he needs to defeat Voldemort. At school Harry finds an old potions book owned by the “Half Blood Prince” and becomes Slughorn’s prize pupil. Dumbledore is also giving Harry private lessons looking at old memories regarding Voldemort in the hopes of finding a way to defeat him. Meanwhile Malfoy has a secret mission to carry out on behalf of Voldemort that Snape has vowed to help him complete. Harry through a luck potion reminisces about one of Slughorn’s favorite students, his mother, and gets the memory. It is of Tom Riddle having a conversation with Slughorn about making Horcruxes, the ability to split a wizard’s soul into an object in the hope of living forever. After hearing this Dumbledore and Harry go off to retrieve a locket they believe to be a horcrux. Upon returning, Malfoy reveals his assignment to kill Dumbledore. Unable to do it Snape intervenes and kills the Headmaster. Snape escapes but not before telling Harry that he is the Half Blood Prince. Knowing now they need to destroy the Horcruxes to defeat Voldemort, Harry, Ron and Hermione decide next year they will not be returning to Hogwarts.
REVIEW – So I guess this is the tone now. This movie is just odd. It starts odd, with Harry and some waitress in a subway diner, that goes nowhere. Usually in the 2nd to last movie, you get a lot of wheel spinning but that is not the case here. We get some big reveals like the horcruxes, Snape’s past, and Dumbledore’s lessons to Harry on how to defeat him. It’s just none of them seem to land with much of punch. I will say any scene with Dumbledore, especially his and Harry’s adventure to get the locket are the best in the movie. Luckily this movie has a lot of them. There are other parts that are good as well, but when you put them together as a whole it feels very disjointed.
Minor Gripe – Anyone else bothered that our heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are going to be basically high school dropouts? I mean what kind of jobs are they going to be able to get after this without a magic degree?
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? There are seven horcruxes. Harry destroyed one, Tom Riddle’s diary in Chamber Of Secrets. Dumbledore destroyed another before this movie started. That leaves 5 more and the locket Harry and Dumbledore found is a fake. It also may not be as important who killed Dumbledore, as it is who knocked his wand out of his hand.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)
PG-13 | 2h 26min
NOTE: If you have the time to watch Deathly Hollows 1 and 2 back to back do so. I did for the re-watch and it makes for a much better experience. The movies are essentially one “five hour” movie anyway and to separate them when you don’t have to lessens the over all effect. So watch Part 1, grab a snack, use the bathroom , walk the dog, then pop in Part 2. Trust me this is the way you’ll want to do it.
RECAP – Harry says goodbye to the Dursleys and is on his way to Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s wedding (see Minor Gripe 1 below). On the way, he and his friends are attacked by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. They also attack at the reception so Harry, Ron and Hermione all go on the run. They find out that Delores Umbridge has the real locket Harry and Dumbledore got in the last movie and break into the Ministry of Magic to get it. They narrowly escape with it, but now Ron is injured, they don’t know what the other Horcruxes are, where they are, or how to destroy them. Fed up, Ron leaves. Harry and Hermione go to where Harry was attacked as a baby and are nearly killed by Voldemort’s snake, but not before Hermione notices a symbol that keeps appearing everywhere. One-night Harry finds the sword of Gryffindor in the bottom of a frozen lake. He jumps in to get it and is saved by Ron. After Ron, uses the sword to destroy the locket horcrux. Hermione wants to find out more about the symbol so they go see Luna Lovegood’s father, who tells them about the Deathly Hallows, which are a stone that brings people back from the dead, an invisibility cloak and the Elder wand, the most powerful wand ever. The trio are captured after and brought to Malfoy Manor. Dobby, the freed house elf arrives to help but is killed as they narrowly escape. The last shot is Voldemort retrieving the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave.
REVIEW – My biggest complaint in this movie is the same as the book, they spend WAY too much time in the woods. Half the movie feels like it’s the three of them complaining about how they are stuck out there and don’t know what to do. Ron leaving feels almost meta, in that as a character, he got tired of being out there so long. When they are not there, the Ministry break in, scenes with Luna’s Dad, the three brothers cartoon, being on the run in London, the fight at the Malfoys are all great. But it’s all before and after AN HOUR IN THE WOODS. This is also the movie where I question who these movies are made for. As part of Ron destroying the horcrux, he has a vision of Harry and Hermione naked, making out. That certainly is not for the same audience who are just now watching Sorcerer’s Stone. Aside from that I really like this movie. When it moves, it really moves and is super exciting. It’s a step WAY above the last two. Except for all that time in the woods.
Minor Gripe 1 – How in the hell is Fleur Delacour from Goblet of Fire marrying one of Ron’s brothers. I know its explained in the books, but it is NOT it the movie. It’s “Oh look its Fleur. WHAT??! She’s marrying Ron’s brother?!?!?”Never explained.
Minor Gripe 2 – Voldemort says AT THE TOP, that only he can kill Harry Potter. Then why do all his bozo followers keep trying to kill Harry only to stop and be reminded, “No, only the dark lord can kill him”. Was no one paying attention at the meeting?
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? There are 4 horcruxes left, and not all of them are inanimate objects. Harry took Malfoy’s wand before he escaped. Oh and the Wizard Voldemort sees in prison, his name is Grunewald, and he was a bad wizard a long time ago.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
PG-13 | 2h 10min
RECAP – Harry learns about wand ownership from Mr. Ollivander. After Ron, Hermione and Harry break into the Wizard bank to see if there is a horcrux in Lestrange’s vault. They find a cup and narrowly escape on the back of a blind dragon. During the escape, Harry locks minds with Voldemort. Voldemort knows they are after his horcruxes but Harry knows that Voldemort’s snake is a horcrux and another is at Hogwarts. The three go to Hogwarts as Voldemort and his minions attack. Voldemort gives the school an hour to turn Harry over. Harry finds the horcrux and destroys it while saving Malfoy in the room of requirement. Hermione destroys the cup in the chamber of secrets. They go to find Voldemort and his snake but only find Snape close to death. Snape gives Harry is memories, which consist of a lifetime of loving Harry’s mother, Lilly, his pain over her death and his role in secretly protecting Harry out of his continued love for her. After that and seeing the people who have died trying to protect him, Harry turns himself over to Voldemort, who quickly uses the killing curse on him. In the afterlife, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that he was a horcrux, and by Voldemort “killing” him, that horcrux has now been destroyed. Harry comes back but fakes being dead until Voldemort and his forces invade the castle. Harry springs to life and duels with Voldemort. During the fight Neville kills Voldemort’s snake. With the last horcrux gone, the Edler wand, which obeys Harry (because he took it from Draco, who took it from Dumbledore) turns on Voldemort and destroys him for good. 19 Years later Harry and wife Ginny Weasley-Potter take their children to meet Ron and Hermione’s kids at the train station and see them off to Hogwarts.
REVIEW – I was pleasantly surprised after watching these back to back how satisfying an end to this series this movie is. I know people complain about the “19 years later” part but for me it was nice to see that these three people who sacrificed and fought so hard, got to have a happy ending. Probably more a testament to Rowling’s book than the movie, but everything is wrapped up here without being overdone. It’s also nice to finally see the much-missed Alan Rickman get more to do than sneer. His “memories” are the heart of the film. The battle at Hogwarts is fantastic, and we finally get to see all these wizards off the leash and able to do their “thing”. We also see them deal with the loss of some dear friends we’ve come to love over the movies. This movie is kind of a blood bath. But in the end good triumphs over evil and Harry, Ron and Hermione get to go back to school. They finish their education, right?
Minor Gripe – Part 1 takes place over 6 months and Part 2 takes place over like a day and half?!?!
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? For these movies, nothing. Deathly Hallows 2 does a great job of wrapping up the Harry Potter story. Well until the Broadway show. May have to create The Hamilton Rule.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
PG-13 | 2h 13min
RECAP – In 1926 British wizard Newt Scamander has brought a suitcase of magical creatures to New York. After chasing a money loving creature into a bank, he accidently switches cases with wanna be baker Jacob Kowalski who then accidentally lets some of them loose. This gets the attention of demoted Auror Tina Goldstein of MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA) who brings him in only to find Newt has Jacob’s case. Newt and Tina find Jacob who agrees to help Newt find his missing creatures. Tina then brings Newt and the case back to The MACUSAs and a Auror named Graves who thinks one of Newt’s creatures killed a candidate for Senate. Graves also things Tina and Newt are in cahoots with the evil wizard Grindelwald and orders them executed. They escape and find Newt’s missing creature and then see the true cause of all the trouble, a young man named Credence who has an Obscurus, a magical parasite in him because his abusive mother won’t let him do magic. The creature takes over and destroys part of New York. Newt who has removed an obscurus before, along with Tina and Graves go into the subway to stop it. Graves fights for Credence to join him, as Newt tries to help him. The MACUSA arrive and destroys Credence. Graves then turns on the MACUSA. Newt subdues him and reveals him to be the evil wizard Albino Johnny Depp… I mean Grindelwald. Newt and Tina say goodbye but not before Jacob gets the money to open his dream bakery.
REVIEW – I wish I liked this movie. I should. But I don’t. The first lesson I am learning in the little project is that it’s hard to rewatch movies as part of the universe you didn’t like the first time. This is especially true for this Potter-verse entry after Deathly Hallows 2 which ends the Harry Potter saga on such a high note. In this movie, all the magic and wonder of the Potter movies has been replaced by big CGI creatures that never feel real. Eddie Redmayne’s Newt is so twitchy and odd, I keep thinking I am watching the first half hour of Theory of Everything. Wizards in America, and a Harry Potter prequel are all such a good idea but it’s just poorly executed. Plus the only Potter character, we get from the other movies is Grindelwald who was a minor character barely mentioned and seen in Deathly Hallows 1. And here we only see him at the end in the movie. The planned sequel is supposed to have young Dumbledore, hopefully that will help.
So, what do you need to know for the future movies? For future FBAWTFT movies? I guess Newt has made an enemy of Grindelwald so that can’t be good. And one-day Newt will write a book that Harry will mention in passing that you will only remember after you Google it.
Minor Gripe – From Wikipedia, “In October 2016, Rowling confirmed that the series would comprise five films.” Ugh…