Thanks to advances in our patented Cracked Time Phone technology, I was able to contact my past self in the year 2003 for a brief discussion of the Harry Potter franchise, and the recent Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Hi JM, how are things back in 2003?

Pretty good. I’m super-psyched for the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Perfect, I actually wanted to talk to you about the newest Harry Potter movie that just came out here.

Wow, they’re still making Harry Potter movies in 2022?

Sort of, they’re making a series called Fantastic Beasts –

Based on that, like, 30 page pamphlet J.K. Rowling wrote?

Yeah, exactly.

Is Rowling still writing stuff in the year 2022? How amazing is it?

I mean … she’s definitely still writing stuff.

You didn’t answer the second part of my question.

She’s writing these new movies that no one seems to like, and before that she wrote a sequel play that’s basically Back to the Future II, but also involving Voldemort’s sex life.

What?

That’s not counting all of the lengthy blogs attacking trans people.

Are you sure we're talking about the same author?

Or the social media posts detailing how wizards constantly poop themselves.

Okay, I don’t understand any of what you just said. 

In any case, we’re here to talk about the latest “Wizarding World” movie: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Well, that sounds pretty incredible! What happens to Harry, Ron and Hermione in this new adventure?

Sorry, they’re not in it.

Okay … What about Neville? Or Hagrid?

No, it takes place in 1932.

Oh. 

Dumbledore’s in it though.

Sweet! I love Dumbledore! 

Me too! In this movie you get to learn about how he used to date the wizard equivalent of Hitler during the rise of magical facism.

(Long pause)

The villain, Grindelwald, is now portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, taking over from Johnny Depp, who played the part in the preceding two films. 

Why would they replace Captain Jack Sparrow, everybody loves that guy!

It’s a long story.

So I guess they explain his change in appearance using a spell, or maybe polyjuice potion?

Nope, he’s just a different dude all of a sudden. Obviously roles in long-running film franchises are often played by multiple actors, but weirdly, Grindelwald also ditches the whole “albino swingers club regular” vibe for absolutely no logistical reason.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Mikkelsen could play this part in his sleep, but he’s still a vast improvement. And Jude Law is good as young Dumbledore.

Sounds like you enjoyed it?

Dear god, no. 

Oh.

Most of the movie still focuses on “magizoologist” Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and a bunch of other characters whose names immediately vanished from my mind the moment I set foot back in the theater lobby. Scripted by Rowling and former Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, the story is a bore; a nearly plot-less exercise in tedium that only exists to rob you of two hours and twenty minutes of your precious life on Earth.

There must have been some plot …

The closest thing to a plot involves the machinations of the Wizarding World’s election process, which is surprisingly undemocratic. If you thought this society was flawed before, wait until you meet the Qilin, the magical creature (cribbed from Ancient Chinese mythology) who selects the new “Supreme Mugwump.”

You’re making this up. Are you even from the future?

It’s true. This movie is a mess. It’s almost impressive how someone who became famous for creating a world full of new ideas could churn out such a snoozefest, completely devoid of any imagination or wit. 

Director David Yates even finds a way to, perhaps inadvertently, visually represent the franchise’s creative degradation; when we briefly visit Hogwarts, the once lush, candlelit Great Hall, looks depressingly dreary and entirely uninviting. It’s as if the filmmakers somehow believe that light and color were rationed in the ‘30s.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Wow, this is really bumming me out.

Sorry about that. Are you still going to line up at midnight for The Order of the Phoenix?

I don’t even know anymore. 

Whatever you do, don’t get too attached to Sirius Black.

Wait, what? Why?

Will you stay on the line, I have like twelve to fourteen other massive regrets I’d like to run through with you quickly.

Why are you like this?

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter

Top Image: Warner Bros.

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