FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is the third movie about a magical zoologist and a powerful wizard trying to stop the wizard’s former homosexual lover from taking over the society of witches and warlocks. In the first scene, the evil wizard, Grindelwald, tells Professor Dumbledore he’s going to lead the wizarding world to destroy the non-magic world. Dumbledore joins with Newt Salamander, the zoologist, and Newt’s friends to stop Grindelwald.
The effects in THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE are spectacular. Also, the script contains lots of jeopardy, and it’s clear who the villains are and what they want. However, the movie’s plot details, especially in the first act, are perplexing and convoluted, even for adults. THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is very clean, with little foul language and no crude content. It does have intense, sometimes scary violence. As usual with Harry Potter movies, it’s the witchcraft that’s the biggest stumbling block. The good news is that references to Dumbledore’s past homosexual relationship to the villain are minimal. In contrast, THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE has references to growing relationships between two heterosexual couples.
(OOO, B, AC, C, Ho, L, VV, A, M):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong occult worldview about a battle between good witches/warlocks and bad witches/warlocks, with an antifascist subplot, a reference to Christmas and positive references to marriage and doing the right thing, but the title male character had a past homosexual relationship with the male villain though the references are minimal and limited to two scenes and background
Two “h” obscenities and no profanities
Strong and light, sometimes scary and/or intense, violence includes small crab-like creatures with nasty claws threaten two men, people use magic to kill a creature after it gives birth to twins, people use magic to knock out a man, giant scorpion type creature attacks and chases people in a dark dungeon prison, warlocks and witches battle one another with their wands, people use magic wands to tear apart buildings, man slits a magical creature’s throat (apparently to steal its powers), villain orders a troubled young man to assassinate his rival, chaos occurs at a dinner party
Two men briefly discuss their past homosexual relationship when they made a magical charm that will kill them if they ever try directly to physically hurt one another, but they had a moral disagreement and a fight that split them apart, and four other major characters have heterosexual relationships, and they reunite, with one couple finally getting married
Implied alcohol use at a large social function/meeting
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,
Kidnapping, false imprisonment, a reference to an illegitimate birth.
In FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, magical zoologist Newt Salamander teams up with Professor Dumbledore to stop Dumbledore’s evil former lover from becoming elected the leader of the society of witches and warlocks so he can violently overthrow the “normal” world. The effects in THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE are spectacular and viewers will understand who the bad guys are, but the plot is sometimes perplexing and convoluted to understand, even for adults, and the story involves some intense violence, witchcraft, strange magical beasts, and a subplot about Dumbledore having a falling out with his former homosexual lover.
Set in 1932, the movie opens with Albus Dumbledore meeting his former homosexual lover, Gellert Grindelwald, for tea, even though Grindelwald is wanted by the wizarding world’s authorities for murder and mayhem, which is depicted in the first two FANTASTIC BEASTS movies. When they were young men, Dumbledore shared Grindelwald’s hatred for the non-magical world of human society, or Muggles. They also made a binding, magical blood pact that neither one could harm the other one directly. At their meeting, Grindelwald tells Dumbledore that, with him or without him, he intends to burn down the world of the Muggles so that he and the wizarding world can reign supreme.
Cut to Newt Salamander trying to help a mother qilin (pronounced “chillin), a scaly, timid magical beast give birth. He helps the mother to give birth to a cute calf. However, minions from Grindelwald show up, and Newt, carrying the little calf, tries to run from them. They catch up with Newt, though, knocking him unconscious and taking the calf. When Newt wakes up, he finds that the mother, who’s now dead, has birthed a twin calf.
The other calf is taken to Grindelwald’s castle, where Grindewald slaughters the poor animal by slitting its throat. The reason for this inexplicable action isn’t revealed until much later in the movie.
Newt and Dumbledore send two other witches, a man and a woman, to recruit Newt’s non-magical friend, Jacob Kowalski, to help them stop Grindewald. They meet twice to plan strategy, once at the inn of Dumbledore’s brother, where some secrets of the Dumbledore family are revealed. Newt’s brother, Theseus, who’s a member of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Grindelwald and his growing number of followers are trying to get the international confederation of witches and wizards to acquit him of his crimes. If he can, he plans to run for office as the next president. Dumbledore tells Newt, Jacob and the others they can’t approach Grindelwald directly, because the evil wizard has the power to see into the future. Instead, Dumbledore proposes that they stop him using a varied attack, with only Dumbledore knowing everything and acting secretly behind the scenes. The first order of business is for some of them, led by Newt and his brother, to attend the meeting of the international confederation and find a way to stop them from acquitting Grindelwald
Meanwhile, Grindelwald orders the troubled young wizard, Credence Barebone, to assassinate Dumbledore. However, can Credence go through with the dastardly deed, since, as it turns out, Dumbledore is his long-lost uncle?
The good news about THE SECRETS OF GRINDELWALD is that it’s a very clean movie. There are no sex scenes and only two light obscenities, though it does contain some strong, intense and sometimes scary violence. The scariest violence involves a trip to a dungeon prison where Newt’s brother is being held. Entering the bowels of the dungeon, Newt encounters a bunch of small crab-like creatures with sharp claws. This encounter leads to the movie’s funniest scene. However, lurking in the dungeon prison’s foggy pit is a giant scorpion creature that eventually chases Newt and his brother.
Also, the effects in THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE are spectacular. Furthermore, the script contains lots of jeopardy, and it’s pretty clear who the villains are and what they want to accomplish.
However, the movie’s plot details, especially in the first act, are a bit perplexing and convoluted, even for adults. For example, it’s not explained until the middle of the movie why the villain wants to steal the baby calf, and viewers don’t find out until the third act why the villain killed the calf. The plots in the first four Harry Potter movies were easier to understand and more child friendly, partly because they involved child characters. THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is written for a more mature level of understanding, however.
As with most of the other Harry Potter books and movies, the biggest problem with THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is that it involves witchcraft, necromancy, fortune telling, and other occult behavior. Also, it turns out that the baby calves in the story have magical, supernatural abilities usually reserved for gods and demigods, or the God of the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18:9-12, God tells the Ancient Hebrews, “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are detestable to the LORD.” As Paul notes in Galatians 5:19-21, people who practice witchcraft and other sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Using witchcraft is an evil practice, a sign of rebellion against God.
The witchcraft and sorcery practiced in THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE seem particularly dark. For example, the movie reveals that, in the past, Dumbledore had a magical duel with Grindelwald and, during the duel, an innocent person was made to disappear, and perhaps killed. Also, the dungeon prison that the magical authorities send Newt’s brother is rather medieval. If the wizarding world is so “enlightened,” then why do they have such a terrible prison in the modern industrial world? The use of witchcraft in the Harry Potter stories ultimately don’t make much sense. It seems to be a very unstable, unnecessary tool for addressing a person’s needs and desires. In addition, Harry Potter witchcraft has no transcendent moral, spiritual or theological foundation. Human beings on Earth are blessed because their Creator has given them a reliable written guideline for morality, spirituality and theology, the Bible. The Bible even has some sociopolitical prescriptions to follow.
Though there are no sex scenes or lewd content in THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, the first scene does contain references to the past homosexual love affair between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. The rest of the movie doesn’t contain any references, however, other than Grindelwald asking Dumbledore at one point, now that he no longer loves him, “Who will love you now, Dumbledore?” Other scenes in the movie, however, show heterosexual couples. For example, Jacob is still in love with Queenie Goldstein, and Newt is still interested in her sister, Tina. In his bakery shop, Jacob has a wedding cake representing his desire to marry Queenie, even though it’s forbidden for a witch to marry a man with no magical abilities. Turning Dumbledore and Grindelwald into past homosexual lovers adds nothing to their story or the ongoing Harry Potter franchise. It’s just cringe inducing. It would be more interesting if they had been brothers, like the WINCHESTER 73 western starring Jimmy Stewart, father and son, like the original STAR WARS trilogy, or just good friends, like the story between Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in STAR WARS.
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