Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

A film that has had both cast and creators involved in controversy, does Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore manage to find its feet in the Harry Potter franchise?

Meg Howe
17th May 2022
Jessica Williams and Callum Turner star in the film. Image: IMDB
For the first time since before the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Wizarding World franchise has finally been added to. The third instalment to the Fantastic Beasts films hit cinema screens at the start of April, with The Secrets of Dumbledore. But amidst J.K. Rowling’s questionable views, and released mid-way through Johnny Depp’s court case, does this film really deserve to be given the time of day? 

Unlike the first two instalments, The Secrets of Dumbledore makes many small references to the Harry Potter franchise that ended in 2011, which shouldn’t be surprising with Potterverse veteran David Yates directing. We see Gellert Grindelwald (previously played by Johnny Depp, but replaced by Mads Mikkelsen), rise to power in a rather similar way to Lord Voldemort in The Order of the Phoenix. Whilst Aberforth Dumbledore had already played a key role in the first two films, we are introduced to younger versions of some much loved characters from the Wizarding World. A small clip of Minerva McGonagall’s loyal friendship with Dumbledore leads us to hope this could be explored in further films! 

Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Williams, and Callum Turner all star in the movie. Image: IMDB

The CGI usage however, can’t be considered amazing compared to other modern day films, however it must be said that it really brings the magic to life! Whilst the subject of the film has since moved away from Newt Scamander’s case of beasts, the digitally-created images really make the fantastic beasts just that: fantastic. 

Not only is The Secrets of Dumbledore another visually pleasing, heart-warming fantasy adventure, but it might even be able to be considered progressive, despite the problematic opinions of its author. Dumbledore’s gay identity is explored further, in a respectful sort of way. Without giving too much away, Dumbledore is seen as a trustworthy and loyal individual (but I’m sure we all already knew that!), and is willing to push aside his feelings if affection in order to save the Wizarding World from the threat of fascist rule. 

Not only is The Secrets of Dumbledore another visually pleasing, heart-warming fantasy adventure, but it might even be able to be considered progressive, despite the problematic opinions of its author.

It is hard to deny that for those who were obsessed with the Potter films growing up, The Secrets of Dumbledore takes us back to those much loved magical memories. I almost let out a little squeal as the camera panned over Hogwarts school and the iconic Harry Potter music began to play! 

Whilst any progress on the fourth film seems to be taking place, I can only hope that more connections to the original franchise continue to take me back to magical world I’ve always adored. 

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AUTHOR: Meg Howe
Passionate History student and Educator

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