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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. 11/16/18

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Wayne_j, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    The title of the next film of the Fantastic Beasts series has been released.

    Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

    http://ew.com/tv/2017/11/16/fantastic-beasts-title-story/

    Official Synopsis:
    “At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, 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.”
     
  2. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I'm in...while not as rich and emotional involving as the Potter Series; I did enjoy the first one. Lots of screen chemistry. Especially with the supporting cast.
     
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  3. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    I'll be interested to see how the sequel does - the first one made money but I didn't get the impression fans really embraced it.

    I know I didn't - I thought it was a snoozer!
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I'm a big fan of the Potter novels and the films, so I was naturally in line to see Fantastic Beasts opening night (though with less enthusiasm than the Potter films). I liked it, but wasn't blown away by it. It didn't feel necessary. I was underwhelmed by the effects - a lot of them were that kind of CGI that looks good in and of itself but is in no way convincing as a photorealistic thing - the beasts just didn't look real to me.

    I'm looking forward to the sequel, perhaps more than the first one, because it seems like there may be a story of some consequence there. But I also find it hard to get too worked up to a prequel, because we know too much about what will happen in advance. We know that Dumbledore can't die. We know exactly when and how Dumbledore defeats Grindelwald, which means we know in advance the bad guy loses and doesn't die.

    I'm sick of prequels. It's not Rowling's fault that she went this way just at the moment I got fed up with prequels, and because her stuff is a cut above pretty much everyone else's, I'm more willing to give her stuff a try.

    But like the new Star Trek prequel show.... it's just not as much fun watching something when you known in advance who's important and who's not, which side wins and which side loses, who lives and who dies. With Fantastic Beasts, they're filling in the gaps for an outline of a story we've already been told. The Potter series was so wonderful, in part at least, because it was a breath of fresh air. This doesn't feel fresh in the same way. Meanwhile, had Rowling set this after the events of the last Harry Potter book, no one would know anything about where the story was going and it would be a lot more fun to watch and follow along with for five films.
     
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  5. Message #5 of 161 Nov 16, 2017
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    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    I am a big Harry Potter fan and I absolutely loved the first Fantastic Beasts, so this one is my most anticipated film for next year. It doesn't bother me that we know Grindlewald can't die, because we don't know much about him or his story, so it's really not a problem to me. We know this is going to be a series of five films, so it's obvious that they would not kill the main villain two movies in, regardless of our knowledge of the Potter films.

    I really liked how the first Fantastic Beasts did not feel like a prequel that was terribly concerned about checking off boxes to lead to the Harry Potter stories. It felt like its own separate story within the wizarding world but wasn't overly concerned with "This leads to that" Easter egging. While it makes sense that they are going to bring in Dumbledore, I hope the new film does not lose sight of the core four from the original (Newt, Tina, Queenie and Jacob), since I thought that their chemistry and dynamic with each other was the best thing about the original.

    That being said, it does seem like the Dumbledore-Grindlewald love story is being pushed toward the center of the narrative. I feel like JKR probably wanted to call the film "The Crimes of Grindlewald," and WB added the "Fantastic Beasts" part in front of it just so that it is clear to people that this is a sequel to that film. The emphasis in the title treatment suggests as much. Honestly, I think audiences are smart enough to connect films to each other even if the sequels don't have the same name as their predecessor, but this is a tactic New Line (owned by Warner) also used for The Lord of the Rings films, officially reducing the book titles to subtitles on their movies.
     
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  6. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I did like them probably the best. The thing that I'd have potentially an issue with in the sequel (which hopefully they'll deal with in a way that makes sense) is that it seems Jacob's involvement was done at the end of the story. That was the logical end to Jacob's participation in the wizarding world, and I kinda feel like bringing him back would be a little like one of those TV shows where characters stick around long past their expiration point solely because the actor is under contract and they have to find something to do with him. So I hope his appearances in the sequel will come across okay and not like "We love this actor but we really don't have a reason for him to be here."

    I think the weakest part of Fantastic Beasts 1 is that the structure seems off. When you read or watch any of the Harry Potter stories, they're beautifully assembled, and it's immediately clear what the stakes are and what the characters want. I think that's much less clear in Fantastic Beasts. (The title isn't even a great fit for the movie, because the movie isn't really about "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" - it's about Newt losing his collection of illegally-collected magical zoo animals and trying to get them back. The title implies that it's about discovering magical beasts in the wild, not about a guy trying to get back something(s) he lost. And not that there's anything wrong with what the movie's focus was, but I don't think it's great when you tell an audience to expect one thing and then end up doing something else entirely.) I wish there was more narrative clarity in the first film, that the movie was structured more in a way that it was clear who wanted what and who was trying to accomplish what. That ending scene where Newt "unmasks" Colin Farrell plays almost as a non-sequitur to me, because it's not clear to me why Newt would have guessed that Farrell wasn't actually Farrell.

    There's a lot I'm looking forward to and it could end up being riveting. But right now, I'm not yet hooked the way I'd like to me. It's more of a pleasant diversion than something wholly engrossing for me at this point.
     
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  7. Message #7 of 161 Nov 16, 2017
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    Jake Lipson

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    Josh, I get your point, but I think it's obvious that the original film was titled as such because of the tie-in with Newt's textbook which fans are already acquainted with. They wanted to make sure they got across that it was part of the Harry Potter universe. The title doesn't bother me as much as if they had called this one "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2," because here, the focus seems to be being drawn away from Newt and his case of creatures and more toward the Grindlewald story, so it makes sense that his name be in the title this time around.

    I think that the design of Fantastic Beasts was deliberate, because Newt's fun little "gotta catch 'em all" story was supposed to be the hook that leads you into this much darker and more sinister story that JKR seems much more interested in telling. That may also be why the film seems unbalanced to you because the elements of most interest to her (the Obscurial, Second Salemers and whatnot) were not presented as much in the marketing because they were intended to be surprises. Whether that worked or not is, of course, up for debate. Newt was clearly intended to be the audience surrogate going into the underbelly of the American wizarding world, and I don't think the movie was really about him -- which is why, as I indicated before, I am slightly concerned that he and his friends may become marginalized in the new film, and I very much hope not.

    If all of a sudden Dumbledore comes in and becomes the protagonist and it's all about his doomed love affair with Grindlewald and setting the stage for their 1945 duel, then yeah, it runs the risk of prequel-itis which you alluded to in your earlier post. I think if Newt and company remain in the forefront, that helps it become more its own thing and less of a Harry Potter checkbox type thing.

    As far as how they are going to use Jacob, I feel like the major hurdle will be how to bring him back into the fold after the conclusion of the last film. But once he *is* back, I assume JKR has a plan and a reason for how to involve him in the story, or she wouldn't. Hermione restored her parents' memories at the end of Deathly Hallows after Obliviating them to protect them from Voldemort, so if a 17-year-old can do that, then I'm sure there is a legitimate way for Newt, Tina an Queenie to restore his memory. The fact that we don't know why makes it all the more interesting to me. But precisely because JKR created hoops for herself to jump through to bring him back, I feel like she wouldn't bother to jump through those hoops unless there was a good narrative reason to do so. We'll see what it is next year.
     
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  8. SamT

    SamT Producer

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    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    In addition to the photo Sam just posted, WB also released this logo treatment for the title this morning:

    Crimes of Grindlewald logo.

    See what I mean about the emphasis on "The Crimes of Grindlewald" to the point where it seems as though "Fantastic Beasts" is obligatory for the studio?
     
  10. Message #10 of 161 Nov 16, 2017
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    Jake Lipson

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    Ugh. I'm not here to politicize this thread, but there are a lot of people over on Twitter who are suggesting that WB should replace Johnny Depp as Grindlewald because of his reported domestic violence issues with Amber Heard. Some people are equating this with Ridley Scott's current efforts to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World.

    I don't really want to get into an argument about Depp's personal life, but his divorce and the reasons for it were a matter of public record before he was announced as Grindlewald, and his cameo in the previous film was very much intended to set up *him* being the character for the future installments. Otherwise, why not just keep Colin Farrell?

    For better or worse, Warner Bros., David Yates and JKR have made their decision to bring Mr. Depp into this franchise in a major capacity. While it's fine for fans to voice their disapproval of him, i think they need to realize that nothing is going to change, and we can either get on board with this or not.

    Depp circa 2003-4 used to be one of my favorite actors, but his appeal has waned for me due to his consistent use of the same bag of tricks (heavy makeup, weird voice, "eccentric" mannerisms), as though he's simply playing a variation of Jack Sparrow in all of his films aimed at kids. So, he wouldn't have been my first choice for this role. But it's not our choice, and I sure as hell am not going to boycott the film over his presence. If other people wish to, that's their business, but I won't.

    It must also be said tht David Yates knows this world better than probably anyone other than JKR; this will be his sixth film in this universe counting the final four Potter films and the first Fantastic Beasts one. So, obviously he knows what he's doing and he knows what he wants. It is my hope that he will be able to direct Depp in such a way as Depp gives a new, and more grounded, performance in the role. We know that Depp is extremely capable of creating memorable, iconic film characters since he's done it before. It's just been a while since he stretched new muscles instead of playing Jack Sparrow from muscle memory. I think it will be a big problem if we get Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow as Grindlewald, but if he does something new and fresh with this character, it could be extremely exciting.

    I also don't think all of the Twitterverse realizes just how difficult moviemaking is. Even if WB wanted to replace Depp (which I don't think is in the card)s), there's a big difference between reshoots of the bulk of the film for a massive $200m+ tentpole like Fantastic Beasts and reshoots for a talky drama like All the Money in the World (which is already going to be extremely tight to get done by December.) Spacey had a showy supporting role in Scott's film on which he worked for eight days.

    Depp's character is literally in the title of the film, which suggests that he has a major leading role. I suspect he worked on it for WAY more than eight days. And if they did want to replace him, it would probably take months to do so.

    It simply won't happen.

    I'm not saying people have to like it -- and I'm certainly not passing a judgment on his personal life here -- but I do think fans have to be realistic. Johnny Depp is Grindlewald for this film and that's all there is to it.
     
  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Jake, I'm much more willing to give Rowling the benefit of the doubt than just about anyone else -- and I generally agree with everything you wrote. I agree with the idea that Newt was "the way in" - but I almost wish they had made a Fantastic Beasts movie that was a fun little romp with Newt and his magical creatures that was quick and short and lively, or made a movie that was heavily about the wizarding world. There are times when Newt is onscreen where I feel like it's taking us away from the actual story, and then there are times where the movie is telling its story and I don't care as much as I should. The whole plot with Ezra Miller did nothing for me; he's another one that shouldn't be back for a sequel as far as I'm concerned.

    (I will say, in defense of bringing people back who on paper don't seem to serve any further function to the story.... before the release of Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, I was really disappointed that Yondu and Nebula were back. I enjoyed those two characters in the first film, but they truly seemed to have run their course. It seemed very much like "well, the first one was a success, we have no idea why, so let's just round up everyone again whether or not it makes sense." I was surprised and delighted when those characters were incorporated into the new film in a way that felt wholly organic, and that expanded those characters without cheapening the impact of their actions in the first film. If Guardians could do that, then I certainly believe that Rowling could as well.)

    I happened to have liked Colin Farrell in the first one - and he looked great in that period costume, unlike some other actors who sometimes stand out as looking like a modern actor wearing period clothing - and I'm disappointed that he won't be continuing. Not because of any feelings about Depp, but simply because he was one of my favorite parts of the film.

    I think Hollywood operates on a time delay. The signing of Depp reminds me a little of how rich sports teams will sign star players as high priced free agents, not realizing or caring that those players have already given their best years to the team they were playing for previously. They're paying big bugs for past performances, not for the future. Depp hasn't had a "movie star"-like opening in ages. He was on top of the world when the first Pirates came out, but he's done the same schtick over and over (to varying degrees) and his name just doesn't open a movie anymore. Before this summer, I'd say that the only time Depp's name was worth big box office money these days was when he plays Jack Sparrow, but Pirates 5's opening suggests the public is mostly over that too. But I bet some Warner executive was still remembering the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory grosses, the Pirates 1 grosses, and thinking that this series needed some star power. I don't know when Depp signed on, but even if he signed on early in 2014 (I suspect it was closer to the end of production, but have no information one way or the other), his star was already on the decline, and if they were signing him just for being a name, they should have seen box office warning signs.

    So that makes me wonder... maybe it's got nothing to do with wanting a star. Maybe they saw something in his audition (if he even had to audition) that they wanted for their film. He's capable of delivering a great performance still, and honestly, I liked Pirates 5 more than any of the other Pirates films that came before it.

    I think Depp could be great in this, and I think Yates is a great director of actors, so if Yates can get Depp to show us something new and different, and not just "Jack Sparrow, but evil", I think the casting could be really exciting.
     
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  12. Message #12 of 161 Nov 17, 2017
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    Jake Lipson

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    Whether or not Depp had to audition is an interesting question. He might be above that now. His casting for the sequel was first announced on November 1 last year (see http://deadline.com/2016/11/johnny-depp-sequel-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-jk-rowling-1201846458/.) I remember feeling really sad that this came out so close to the release of the film, because his cameo appearance was clearly intended to be a surprise reveal, which was somewhat deflated by the fact that this information had been released early.

    How long ago the deal actually came together for him to appear is another question, but I'm thinking it may actually have been relatively late in the process on the first film, since his appearance in it was so brief and they were able to hold out the information *almost* up to the point of the release, but not quite.

    I can't speak to what they might have seen in him creatively for this role, but I think for Depp, the appeal of this series is extreme and obvious. Back in 2003 when the first Pirates overperformed, it instantly became Disney's signature live-action blockbuster franchise. They needed Depp then. Now, they've got Marvel (acquired in 2009) and Lucasfilm (acquired in 2012) pumping out blockbusters all the time. Plus, they're on their remake kick, which included Depp in Alice, but that has run its course and they're not coming to him for things like The Lion King or Aladdin. Even if Pirates 5 had been huge, Disney simply does not need to be in the Johnny Depp business anymore, and Pirates 5 certainly did not make a strong case for them to proceed with another one, either critically, financially or in terms of audience response. So, Depp knows that he is no longer Disney's golden goose.

    By coming into J.K. Rowling's previously establishished universe, Depp maintains his visibility as a Hollywood star in a big franchise. He'll get a good size check for his work and be more or less guaranteed to be appearing in a hit. However, even with his name in the title of the film, he won't have to be in almost every scene like he was with the Pirates films (especially the latter ones.) He won't even be first on the call sheet. He is attaching himself to an ensemble piece, and even if his role is very large, there still likely won't be as much for him to do as on Pirates. He will get to benefit from being there, but won't work as extensively. He also won't have to shoulder all of the promotional aspects of the job on his own because there are other major actors present who will help with the publicity as well. And in the extremely unlikely event that it does bomb, he would not be perceived as solely responsible, as he might be blamed for something like Pirates underperforming.

    And since JKR has already said this is a five-film franchise with the finale in 1945 (which coincides with Dumbledore and Grindlewald's duel, which I'm sure is the climax), he knows he'll be needed for the next several years, so the wizard world gravy train will keep feeding him for a long time to come. If they keep doing one every other year, the fifth one will wrap up in 2024, or very possibly later than that if they end up taking longer breaks between filming of future installments.

    So, for Depp, this appearance is a very shrewd business move.
     
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  13. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    For some, myself included, Depp has worn out his welcome. He's become one of those actors I cannot see beyond, so whenever he's on-screen it's *JOHNNY DEPP* and not the character he's playing that I see. Liked him at one time but not any longer. IMO his casting in this film is not a plus.
     
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    Jake Lipson

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    Doug, I'm inclined to agree with you and share your concerns. I'm just hoping that David Yates will be able to direct Depp to surprise us again. I liked him at one time too, not all that long ago, and it would be great if he could return to the height of his powers for this role, but there is an equally significant chance that he could do poorly and be distracting and annoying. I'm not going to judge on his two lines of dialogue in the first one, so we'll have to see what he does next year. I'd love to be wowed by him again, but in order for that to happen, there's a high bar he's going to need to clear.

    The really ironic thing here is that about ten years ago when he was on his hot streak, before audiences started tiring of him, if Johnny Depp had joined the cast of the Harry Potter films, that casting would have been widely celebrated in fandom corners as a major, exciting coup. Now, his casting as Grindlewald has largely generated, at best, polite skepticism, or worse, depending on who you're talking to. I'm not thrilled about it, but I certainly will not skip the film because he is in it, and I am genuinely hoping for the best, since I want to continue to love these films.

    I will say, though, that I didn't really mind him as much as usual in Murder on the Orient Express, where he was acting much more normal than he usually does. (Of course, the fact that he plays the victim probably also helped, because there wasn't very much of him before the movie lived up to its title.)
     
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  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I really enjoyed Colin Farrell in the first film - I don't even say this as a reflection on Depp, but just as praise for Farrell - I kinda wish he had continued in the role. I understand the reasons for doing it this way, but he was so good!
     
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  16. Message #16 of 161 Nov 17, 2017
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    Jake Lipson

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    I agree with that sentiment fully, Josh. I was actually kind of disappointed when Depp showed up because it seemed to mean the end of Farrell's version of the character.

    But....it's not clear how Grindlewald was transforming into Graves. If it was Polyjuice Potion, there must be a "real" Graves out there somewhere, which means Farrell could come back in the same way as Brendan Glesson appeared as the "real" Mad-Eye Moody appeared in Order of the Phoenix after Barty Crouch was impersonating him in Goblet of Fire. If there was some other, more advanced trick where Grindlewald was able to create another physical appearance from scratch, it might be more difficult to facilitate Farrell's return.

    But on the other hand, if they ever do find cause to eliminate Depp for any reason, it should be easy enough to have the character put the Colin Farrell mask back on, and there's an easy replacement that's not too disruptive to continuity. As I said before, I think the ship has sailed for this second film, but if something happens and he needs to be replaced later for the third film or later, going back to Farrell makes sense.

    It's also worth noting that this isn't even the first time that Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp have shared a role, playing different physicalizations of the same character via magic. They both stepped in to replace Heath Ledger (also with Jude Law, even, who is now the new Dumbledore!) in The Imaginirium of Doctor Parnassus following Ledger's unfortunate passing.
     
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  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I assumed he was simply disguising his appearance. We know that in the magical world, people can disguise themselves to look like other creatures using nothing but a wand; I don't see why that wouldn't work for looking like a different human if one was sufficiently advanced to cast the spell.

    Here's actually an example of why I think Rowling will "get away" with this being a prequel better than some other series. In the Potter films and books, we see the wizarding world entirely through the perspective of teenagers living in one specific country and attending one specific school; beyond that, the interpersonal interactions are often among people who are part of a relatively small group, whose families have been part of that group before them. So even though what we saw, in the context of the series, is a mindblowingly complete other world, we don't actually know as much about it as we think we do. And it would make sense why a place like Hogwarts wouldn't be in the business of teaching young kids how to easily disguise themselves as other people. There's plenty of new magic that Rowling can invent, or tweak, or tell us works differently than we thought we understood, because of how limited that viewpoint actually was. It never felt limited when reading or watching Potter, but the amount of room to maneuver that she's left herself as a writer will give her a freedom that a lot of prequel authors don't have.

    The thing that I don't understand - and I've seen the film a couple times and also have the published screenplay - is what compels Newt to suspect that Colin Farrell isn't Colin Farrell. It's not like they just walked Farrell through an anti-magic x-ray revealing device and were surprised that he was Johnny Depp underneath. Newt walks up to Farrell and uses a revealing spell on him, which would mean Newt would have to believe that Farrell wasn't Farrell to think to do that. I don't think the movie really gives Newt a reason to perform that action at that time. That's one of my few disappointments in the film, because while it's a cool visual, it feels like it's happening because the writer needs it to happen, not because the character came to it naturally.
     
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  18. Message #18 of 161 Nov 17, 2017
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    Jake Lipson

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    I agree with your point about Grindlewald disguising his appearance, and it also makes sense why that wouldn't be taught to young wizards Grindlewald is, of course, one of the mot powerful wizards ever. But, precisely because it wasn't specified what he was doing to achieve the Farrell look is exactly what would easily allow her to revert back to Farrell in case anything happens to cause an exit for Depp for any reason before the series concludes.

    As to why Newt would think to use the reveal charm, you have a point there, too. I think he was clearly getting suspicious of Graves' motives throughout his interrogation about the Obscurial, and perhaps he thought that the "real Graves" or any MCUSA official wouldn't be openly defying a direct order from the president, under whom he works, which Grindlewald was doing at that moment, which gave him reason to be suspicious that something was going on. At least, that's how I took it. I agree that it's not really the best explanation and should be further clarified, but that's how I rationalized it. Whether Newt was actually expecting Grindlewald himself to be under the Graves mask is an open question. I would think not.
     
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  19. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think it would have made more sense for someone who knew "Graves" for a while to think "He's not acting like himself; let's check that out" than it was for Newt. I mean, it doesn't make or break the film, but it feels like it happens because the filmmakers need it to, not because that's where Newt's train of thought was going.

    I hadn't seen Colin Ferrell in anything for a while, and between this and Saving Mr. Banks, I had some nice moments of, "I had forgotten what a good actor you are - welcome back!"
     
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  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, he's done some good work over the last few years so I'm glad to see more of him as he 'rebounds' a little bit. Whatever anyone thinks of the second season of True Detective, he's fantastic in it and he was also good in The Lobster and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.
     
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