Please note that all framegrabs are from the 1080p version
½*/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B
starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Mads Mikkelsen
screenplay by J.K. Rowling & Steve Kloves
directed by David Yates
by Walter Chaw I have watched and reviewed the first nine films in the Harry Potter franchise, skipping the first Fantastic Beasts sequel (though I think I saw it), and for my sins, here I am returning for the eleventh installment with nary a memory of any of them except that I liked the one directed by Alfonso Cuarón. And while I'm glad chief screenwriter Steve Kloves has secured his retirement a few hundred times over, I do lament that the writer-director of The Fabulous Baker Boys and Flesh and Bone didn't make more of those kinds of movies in his nearly 40-year career. Such is the suppurative contagion of the IP age that the best minds of my generation are destroyed by the madness, starving hysterical naked--as Ginsberg might describe them--as they drag themselves through bales of ignominious piffle during their prime creative years. Is this garbage really the best use of Kloves? Of Jude Law? Of Mads Mikkelsen, Katherine Waterston, or Eddie Redmayne? The only person who deserves this mess is Ezra Miller, let's be honest, though even Miller--if one can disregard the harm they inflict on seemingly every other human being in their orbit--is a gifted performer who's also and obviously too good for this. These movies aren't socially destructive in the sense that there's something offensive about them thematically--mainly because there's not a lot about them thematically. They're all second acts in competing Telenovelas: breathless melodramas in which one thing bleeds into the next like cells ravaged by Ebola. There's no hope for an end to the suffering so long as there's money to be squeezed thick from its black buboes: another amusement-park attraction, another opportunity to be relevant in an era where tentpoles are the only currency. Was a time a film with ten sequels was regarded as a cheap joke. That time is now.
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