Review: Fantastic Beasts, The Crimes of Grindelwald (4K)

Welcome back to Hogwarts when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second of five all new adventures from the Wizarding WorldTM created by J.K. Rowling, arrives on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD Special Edition and Digital.

The 4K UHD Combo Pack and the Blu-ray Combo pack include an extended cut of the film with more than seven minutes of deleted scenes added, available as a digital download. Also featured is an audio introduction by director David Yates and over an hour of fantastic special features.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will also feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

Plot: At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA, with the help of Newt Scamander. 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 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.

Director:  David Yates

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Runtime: 134 min

Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 37% & IMDB 6.8/10

Unboxing (See below)

Review:

This movie was shot with ARRIRAW camera’s in a 6.5K format and given a 4K Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in Dolby Vision.

The presentation of this film carries a very clean image and there is little to no grain on this disc. The only time you will see that slight grain is with the heavy use of CGI (to help mask it) — and yes, the CGI still holds up nicely. The black levels steal the show as they are really impressive throughout the course of the film. You will see this on the very initial scene with Grindelwald — blacks are so deep they flow off the screen. You will see this again and again, whether it’s inside a dark carriage, at Newt’s debriefing inside the Ministry, various scenes with silhouette shots — down to dark rooms, details like tiling on the Ministry walls, cracks in the streets, etc. It truly is impressive.

With those very strong black levels it will naturally enhance the effect of HDR contrasting every color and adding depth to every scene. HDR, a really clean image, plus great black levels… that’s a win. You will see this detail and color on the fabric of men’s suits and in the textures of women’s dresses. For example, it could be seen on the mustard yellow in Newt’s wool vest or the hint of red in Jacob’s jacket — the silky gown of Leta Lestrange or the the blue accents from Nagini’s wardrobe. The costume design team on this film really nailed it and the clarity of 4K brings it all out in the limelight.

Furthermore, you will see great detail and color in the gorgeous sweeping shots of Paris, London, Hogwarts & Austria. Scenes in the rain looked great with noticeable transitions from dry to wet clothes — even being able to discern individual droplets coming off umbrellas and rain hitting puddles on the street. On top of all this you will still get those detailed close-ups that 4K does best; pores in the skin, facial hair, beard stubble, makeup, etc. I could have sworn I even saw some dandruff too.

Some highlights I jotted down include Chapter 5 when Newt and friend use the illegal jump bucket at the White Cliffs of Dover. The different shades of green grass fill the screen with color even under an overcast sky. This scene continues as Newt is tracking Tina in the streets of Paris. Little details like the smoke effects and gold speckles reflecting from the sunlight on the sidewalk and street look great. You will also get some shots inside the French Ministry of Magic which is housed in a building under a lot of glass — there you will get great detail and contrast from the light pouring through.

In Chapter 7 you will get your first look at the Zouwu, a powerful feline beast with multicolored ruffled tail. When all the commotion stops and Newt attempts to calm it down, you’ll get some great CGI against a dark backdrop. Finally, in Chapter 12 you get the climatic scene filling your screen with fire in the form of a blue dragon. As you can imagine, any sort of flames in the format + the use of HDR is always a great look.

Side note: There’s some great effects in the credits to check out too.

As you can see, there’s nothing negative to say on the visual side of things. It’s a great addition to the format with some added reference material. Great disc! Highly recommended!

My two cents on the movie? I’ve talked to people who live and breath this world since the first Harry Potter book launched that both loved and disliked this movie. I bet there were even people that walked into this movie with no prior knowledge… that must have been rough. There is so much Wizarding World lore being thrown at you, it’s hard to keep track if your not fully invested. This is the second movie in what is set up to be (I believe) a five movie franchise, so if it needed to be used for character development to drive home the details to carry us on forward — I think we can look back on this as being a necessary part of the series.

That could just be my bias talking because I grab up every bit of Wizarding magic I can get my hands on. There’s never enough — I’m already looking forward to the next one.

For now, you can own Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition March 12th, or you can own it early on Digital right now! Like I mentioned above, this is an easy pickup and a ‘fantastic’ addition to your UHD collection. See what I did there? 😉

Cheers,

Matt.