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George At 

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Hmmm...something is amiss in the second film in the FANTASTIC BEASTS film series, THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD.

Could it be the Johnny Depp curse?

Eddie Redmayne is back as magic zoologist Newt Scamander. He's recruited this time by a very young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law, best part of the film) to battle the growing forces of evil that surround the dark figure of Grindelwald, embodied by Depp.

It's an unwritten curse of Depp's career that the more goofy wigs and makeup he wears (Willy Wonka, The Lone Ranger) the worse the film.

Suffice to say here that his hair is dyed, he's layered in makeup and contacts and an eccentric wardrobe that only feed the curse.

Are there spectacular fantasy scenes? Sure. The creatures of Jk Rowling's imagination are superb, as are the settings the breathe in. But after a whole lot of portal hopping through dimensions and animals, you're left with Grindelwald wanting to take over the world from humans like a routine Bond villain and Newt scampering around like some borderline Rainman reluctant hero.

I'm a huge fan of Redmayne's but Newt starts to wear thin about halfway through as you begin to question just how smart he actually is in relation to the events around him.

Ezra Miller is terrific as pure-blood wizard Credence, Zoe Kravitz is fun as Leta Lestrange, but everyone else just melts into the CGI backgrounds in a hodgepodge of visual noise.

A quick trip to Hogwarts only serves to make you wish you were back in the magic of those films.

This is definitely a sophomore slump for Newt and his beasts. Losing $50 million against it's $200 million production costs, it appears audiences grew as restless as I did awaiting something to actually happen in this installment.

I loved the first one, but the fantastic is gone here and you're just left with a lumbering beast spiraling around Depp's over-mannered, over wrought performance in it's hollow center.


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