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20 November 2018 @ 08:05 pm
It being the middle of term, dark, cold, and tiring, I took myself to the cinema to see this yesterday evening - Monday's being cheap and my expectations low - and massively clunky title notwithstanding, I enjoyed it very much. Indeed I enjoyed it more than the first film, when I felt the various animal chase sequences went on a bit. Its principal weakness is that it is clearly the middle film of a series, with a lot of set up and limited resolution, and cramming too much plot into it so that some characters are not developed.

The costume designs are a wasted opportunity, leaning very heavily on the Muggle side of the equation (and if you're going to have Muggle school uniforms, then Hogwarts in the 1920s would have been gymslips and dresses for the girls, not tartan skirts), and I was unclear as to why Leta Lestrange had such a plunging neckline and Tina appeared to be cosplaying Herr Flick. I have decided to rationalise this in my own mind by saying that the WW's sudden adoption of Muggle clothing is a sign of a cultural crisis of confidence in the aftermath of the Great Muggle War. A crisis on which Grindelwald is able to capitalise.

Speaking of Grindelwald, Depp was OK, if not more than OK. He reins in the batshit almost too much, considering the character. Really Grindelwald ought to have been played by the most charismatic German native-speaker actor available who was aged between 45 and 50 who both able to act in English and carry off a very blond wig. Jude Law as Dumbledore, on the other hand, is excellent and comes across very warmly. I liked the Dumbledore and Grindelwald backstory very much and assume that this something we'll be drip-fed more of as the series continues, because why use it all up early when you know that you've got your Big Dramatic Fight coming? Darth Vader doesn't say "Just so you know, I am young Skywalker's father" in his first scene.

And now, because much as I am enjoying Lyndal Roper's recent biography of Luther it is not exactly a bedtime read, I think I'm going to reread the original series. It's been a while. I should get myself to the play, too, and stop having to dodge spoilers.

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