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Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore review embraces the cuddly nature of the beasties, along with the icy villainy of Mad Mikkelssen as Gellert Grindelwald.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore reviewThere’s a warm, fuzzy and familiar feeling about Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. I think viewers are more than ready for a film that cuddles comfortably in your lap, without demanding that you rewatch its predecessors in order to have even a vague understanding of what’s going on right before your eyes.

In the third installment of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter prequel franchise, a younger Dumbledore (Jude Law) finds himself drawn into a power grab by Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelssen). It seems only a reluctant Dumbledore, an engaging band led by Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his fantastic beasts stand a slim chance of thwarting the evil wizard’s ambitions.

It’s been four years since we saw the last installment, the poorly reviewed Fantastic Beasts, the Crimes of Grindelwald. The most avid J.K. Rowling fans remember the details, but most of us mere muggles certainly don’t. What many can’t forget, however, is a cold and lizardy Johnny Depp as Grindelwald.

Much ado has been made about Mikkelssen replacing him, and I think it’s genius casting. Of course, I think Mikkelssen in just about anything is genius casting. Here he’s sort of a mashup of Putin, Elon Musk and a Bond villain, giving the character extra dimension far beyond mustache twirling, and making one of Dumbledore’s more controversial secrets more believable.

The wizarding world in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a surprisingly dark, naive and ignorant place, despite the fireworks that are constantly erupting. But the good natured intelligence and crafty capability of team Scamander, plus the irresistible, suitcase encased beasties, carry the film, under the able direction of David Yates.

Rated PG-13

2 Hours 22 Minutes

If this Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore review encourages you to enter the magical world of your local cineplex, get times and tickets at

Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore review embraces the cuddly nature of the beasties, along with the icy villainy of Mads Mikkelssen as Gellert Grindelwald.




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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She recently founded the new lifestyle website, where celebrities and experts share their 5 favorite things in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, wellness, home and food & drink.

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