I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when I was sick one day during April. As soon as Colin Farrell appeared on screen with his hair – the shaved sides, I knew it was Grindelwald in disguise. But, it was cemented when Percival Graves was interrogating Newt, it did not seem as though Percival was actually trying to bait Newt into saying he was a Grindelwald follower, but rather Percival was saying it as if he truly believed it (because he did, obviously).
When it was revealed at the end, that Grindelwald transfigured himself into Percival Graves, I was so excited to see who would be playing one of the best villains. When Johnny Depp appeared, I was severely disappointed. While the cast of Fantastic Beasts is star-studded, having Johnny Depp as Grindelwald missed the mark entirely. Grindelwald is approximately in his early 40s at this time in 1926 – he looked quite old for an early-middle aged wizard. Johnny Depp is in his early 50s and the makeup made him look like he was in his 60s. At this time in a wizard’s life, he should still look quite young – a wizard’s lifespan is around 137 years old, according to Rowling. Depp looked far too old for a wizard still in his young adulthood years.
Also, because Depp has played so many iconic roles – Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, Captain Jack Sparrow, the Mad Hatter, and Sweeny Todd – I can only see him as a giant amalgamation of all of those characters. Johnny Depp has ceased to exist, but it’s rather a giant schmooey-mess of all of his previous characters that acts in movies now.
Grindelwald needs to be handsome – his teenage self was a stud. The make-up they put on Depp made it look fake, Grindelwald had naturally blonde hair and probably didn’t look decrepit until he was imprisoned in Nurmengard. Grindelwald is supposed to look natural and still young in his early 40s – not bloated and like an old windbag.
When casting Grindelwald, they should have gotten Jamie Campbell Bower to play young adult Grindelwald again. Bower was only 21 when he played Grindelwald as a teenager – he’s 28 now. He can easily be aged up a little with some light make-up because he already can pass for being in his 30s. Consistency and continuity would have been superb. However, if they didn’t want Bower, they could have gone with Stellan Skarsgård, Paul Bettany, Mads Mikkelsen, Armie Hammer, Dean O’Gorman, I could keep going, but I think you get my point. There were many actors better suited that could absolutely play the evil Grindelwald.
Depp’s portrayal took away from what was an incredible movie. I loved Eddie Redmayne (at first, I was not sold whatsoever, but happily surprised), the actors who played Tina and Queenie were fantastic and I loved the niffler. The movie had the right amount of comedy combined with the darker nature also winding throughout. But, Depp took away part of that specialness and for that, I am not looking forward to the next installment of Fantastic Beasts. I wanted the story to center on Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Kowalski, but now I fear Johnny Depp and now Jude Law have hijacked it. For me, I wanted a new world – one where I had never really read about the characters or know their story – I wanted to see that on screen with Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Kowalski. They created wonderful characters for Fantastic Beasts and they should follow through will keeping them as the center of the series.
For now, I wait until the next installment, depending on the plot and what is revealed about the movie – I may do what I did with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – refuse to watch because it was so far from what I wanted and desperately desired.