Adventure Blu-ray Review

Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Casts Its Spell on 4K

April 3, 2019Ben MK

Ever since the Harry Potter film franchise came to a close, fans of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World have been clamoring for further adventures. Now, what began with 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them continues with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Set one year after the first movie, we once again follow Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), as he embarks on what ought to be yet another spellbinding journey. This time around, the story revolves around orphan Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who leaves 1927 New York City behind for London, England, where he sets out to find his birth mother and to find out more about who he really is. But little does Credence realize that the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who's intent on waging war with all No-Mages, has also traveled across the pond, and that their paths are about to collide.

Written by Rowling herself, the result ends up getting somewhat lost in its own narrative, however, as returning director David Yates tries nobly but still can't help the film from feeling a little too long-winded and a tad convoluted. Suffice to say, not even a trip to Hogwarts Academy can save what is ultimately a downgrade from the first installment, and one can only hope that the filmmakers learn from this movie's foibles and address them in the inevitable followup.

Despite lacking some of the magic of its predecessor, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald still manages to conjure up a spell on 4K, and J.K. Rowling fans may still want to add this film to their collection based on its technical merits alone. The 2160p image quality is pristine, accurately reproducing the movie's theatrical presentation and highlighting the often times intricate production and costume design, whereas the disc's Dolby Atmos audio mix does an excellent job immersing viewers in this wizarding world, from the sounds of spells and incantations to the roars and squeals of fantastical creatures big and small.

Warner's two-disc 4K release includes a digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray disc:

  • J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed (10:15) - Author J.K. Rowling talks about writing Fantastic Beasts, its themes, its characters, and the freedom it allows her to go beyond Hogwarts and tell the story on a grander scale.
  • Wizards On Screen, Fans in Real Life (19:22) - Actors Ezra Miller and Evanna Lynch provide commentary as they watch select scenes from the film.
  • Distinctly Dumbledore (9:31) - A look at Jude Law's portrayal of a young Albus Dumbledore.
  • Unlocking Scene Secrets (49:09) - A series of six featurettes that delve into the making of key scenes ("The Return to Hogwarts," "Newt's Menagerie," "Credence, Nagini and the Circus Arcanus," "Paris and Place Cachée," "Le Ministère des Affaires Magiques: The French Ministry" and "Grindelwald's Escape and the Ring of Fire").
  • Deleted Scenes (14:23) - Ten scenes ("Credence Reborn," "At the Docks," "Walk n Talk," "Ballroom Dance," "Tina and Skender," "Newt's Basement," "Murmuration," "Newt and Jacob Walk to Kama's," "Nagini and Credence in Alley" and "Dumbledore and McGonagall").

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of March 12th, 2019. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 hrs. 14 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on November 15th, 2018.

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