After many delays, the Fantastic Beasts crew returns in the third entry, The Secrets of Dumbledore.
The Production: 3/5
Picking up several years later after the events of The Crimes of Grindelwald, a Qilin is born with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), only to then witness the mother killed and the baby kidnapped by Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller). This is a truly magical creature, one who can look into one’s soul and predict the future. Credence quickly delivers the baby Qilin to Grindelwald (now played by Mads Mikkelsen), who has plans for this creature. Sensing Grindelwald is up to something, Dumbledore (Jude Law) recruits Newt and his friends to stop Grindelwald, since Dumbledore is forbidden to do battle with him. At the German Ministry of Magic, the International Confederation of Wizards acquit Grindelwald of his crimes (including murder), allowing Grindelwald to now run for Supreme Mugwamp. But Newt has stashed away the Qilin’s twin sibling, hoping to use it to thwart Grindelwald and his plans for world domination. We also learn of Credence’s true identity, along with many other secrets.
After the disastrous Crimes of Grindelwald, this latest entry, The Secrets of Dumbledore, attempts to correct its course, and to some degree, it succeeds. This is not as overstuffed on plot as the previous film, but like that prior entry, this film is just not much fun or magical, and the number of Fantastic Beasts are minimal. It also doesn’t help that the plot mirrors our current society issues a little too close for comfort, especially for a series that many look to for escapism.
3D Rating: NA
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was captured digitally on Arri Alexa LF and Mini LF cameras and completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio and Dolby Vision HDR for its premium theatrical engagements. Warner’s 4K UHD Blu-ray features a rather fantastic 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer with both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range on a BD100 disc. At first impression the use of HDR may appear to darken the image, however it does allow for things like snowbanks to retain their fine detail, rather than appear washed out as it does in the included 1080p Blu-ray (check out the beginning of chapter four). Colors appear natural, even though they can be subdued at times. Fine details like clothing textures and facial features standout. This certainly is a fantastic transfer, a definite improvement over the highly compressed 4K HDR stream on HBO Max.
The default Dolby Atmos track does not disappoint. It is truly immersive, taking advantage of every speaker in your home theater. Atmospherics like thunder can be heard above, and surrounds are very active throughout. LFE is strong, adding emphasis to explosions and other rumbling sounds. Dialogue is clear and understandable.
Special Features: 3.5/5
There are no special features to be found on the UHD disc, but those can be found on the included Blu-ray edition.
The Dumbledore Family Tree (1080p; 8:38): A look at the backstory of Albus Dumbledore and his family.
Dumbledore Through the Ages (1080p; 7:23): Director David Yates, author/screenwriter J.K Rowling, actor Jude Law, and through archival interviews, producer David Heyman, actors Richard Harris and Michael Gambon discuss the character of Albus Dumbledore.
Magical or Muggle (1080p; 4:32): Cast members are quizzed on various items from the Wizarding World.
The Magic of Hogwarts (1080p; 5:47): A look at the production design and recreating Hogwarts for this film.
Even More Fantastic Beasts (1080p; 6:24): A look at some of the new and old fantastic beasts featured in the film.
Newt in the Wild (1080p; 4:48): Shooting the Qintin birth scene and how they had to create the forest in London after their original plans to shoot in China were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.
The German Ministry of Magic (1080p; 4:57): Creating the German Ministry of Magic sets.
A Dumbledore Duel (1080p; 4:00): Shooting the magical duel between Dumbledore and Credence.
The Candidates’ Dinner (1080p; 4:46): Shooting the Candidates’ Dinner scene.
Erkstag Jailbreak (1080p; 4:51): Behind the scenes of the jailbreak scene.
Battle in Bhutan (1080p; 5:42): Behind the scenes of the major climax in the film.
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 7:15): Five scenes are included – Hogwarts Owlery, Newt’s House, Credence Kills Auror, Wands Checked and Vogel at Nurmengard.
The Secrets of Cursed Child (1080p; 4:51): Trailer for the London stage play.
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in UHD on Movies Anywhere.
The Fantastic Beasts films continue their diminishing returns for thew Wizarding World franchise with this latest entry, The Secrets of Dumbledore. While a slight improvement over the previous Crimes of Grindelwald, it is still a rather dull story where nothing much happens. On the plus side, the presentation is excellent.
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