Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (The Original Screenplay) - J.K.Rowling

Summary: The powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald has been captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander.  But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers,most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise up pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.  In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second screenplay in a five-film series to be written by J.K. Rowling, author of the internationally best-selling Harry Potter books.  Set in 1927, a few months after the events of Fantastic Weeks and Where to Find Them, and moving from New York to London, Paris, and even back to Hogwarts, this story of mystery and magic reveals an extraordinary new chapter in the wizarding world. (Summary from book flap - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  Ladies and gentlemen, you've got a die-hard HP fan, right here.  I figure I'd better state that out of the gate.  Full disclosure.  I adore the universe that JK Rowling creates with Hogwarts, Harry and his pals, Dumbledore, the Dursleys of Privet Drive, the Burrow, and the Ministry of Magic.  I love her characters, backstories, and even her villains!  I mean, who didn't/doesn't want to punch Dolores Umbridge straight in the nose, am I right? And the way she can just blow your mind with a sudden revelation that completely changes how you think about a person or their motiviations?  She is amaze-balls.

That.  Having. Been. Said.

I don't think I will be rushing to see this screenplay acted out on the big screen.  I enjoyed reading it, but I think I'm going to have to take a little time to recover from his one.  It's not "end of Book 6 sad" (because what is, really?), but Crimes of Grindelwald is a great deal darker than its predecessor and has a much higher body count.  Gellert is a big bad villain pretending to be a freedom fighter, but he can't seem to enter a room without he or one of his cronies Avada-Kedavring the nearest muggle or muggle ally.  Indiscriminate of age.  Towards the end is another young death that is so vividly described I could hardly handle it on the page, let alone desire to see it in film.  It's definitely not for the the faint of heart or the far-too-emotionally-invested.  However, it is worth the read.

Where the first Fantastic Beasts book brought a whole new depth to the wizarding community, exploring the New York City with Newt, Queenie, Tina, Jacob, the MACUSA, and No-Majs,   Crimes of Grindelwald brings even more to the table.  Heck, it kicks over the table and sets it on fire.  This time, Newt travels to Paris at the behest of Albus Dumbledore and his own heart.  The story is simply brimming with a suspenseful storyline, fantastic new characters, creative beasts (and baby versions of old-favorites), and some truly badass backstory.  I was so excited to hear about Nagini and look forward to hearing more. I didn't even think I needed Creedence's backstory until I got it and the then *BAM*.  What was that?  Oh, that was my head exploding.

Crimes of Grindelwald is also a really fast read.  As in, my eldest daughter, second daughter, and I all read it in the same day.  Less than that, really.  More like 12 hours.  And you know what?  That's three minds blown in one evening.  Because, J.K. ROWLING, WHAT DID YOU DO?!?  I won't spoil it for you, but towards the end of the book you get fast-pitched a series of reveals that just smack you in the face.  Hard.  My head is still reeling from the final pitch and I don't know how I'm going to wait for the next book.  Impatiently, I imagine.

My Review: 4 Stars.

For the sensitive reader:  Grindelwald and his minions rack up quite the body count.  While the writer does a good job of keeping those deaths from being graphic, we all know what a flash of green light and the thud of a body means.  Some of the deaths in the story are young and those are the ones that I had the hardest time with.

For those sensitive readers who are worried about the Dumbledore-Grindlewald relationship I have a wee SPOILER.   There are three subtle allusions to their relationship, with Dumbledore claiming that the two were "closer than brothers," a flashback to them making a childhood pact, and the  reflection of Grindlewald as Dumbledore looks into the mirror of Erised. As it is written in the screenplay, I felt their relationship could be interpreted as either romance or bromance basically depending on how you choose to read it. I am not sure how it will play out in the actual movie.


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