Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?
For in-depth thoughts on Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, please see my colleague Tristian Evans’ review from its original theatrical release here.
The 4K UHD Blu-Ray of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore offers a notable uptick in quality over the already strong accompanying Blu-Ray, making it the clear choice between the two home video releases. One of the major advantages of the 4K presentation is in the stability offered with the additional space. The few instances of compression artifacts and banding present on the Blu-Ray are eliminated with this release. Elements in the film taking place in the cover of darkness are more vivid and finely delineated. The black levels are especially strong here, staying deep and inky with great detail. This is especially helpful since so much of the film is consumed by darkness or presented as a bit monochrome. The highlights in the film are more defined with whites more pure and balanced with no instances of blooming to be found.
The increased range of the color spectrum is quite a sight to behold. The Dolby Vision/HDR taps into an unparalleled depth with the colors that appear on screen, even if they are not the most vibrant from an aesthetic point of view. This film features many interesting locales and creatures that really show off the capabilities of the format, most notably in the forest where Newt escapes to study his creatures. Skin tones appear more natural with healthy doses of crisp detail apparent on faces such as pores and bits of grime. This 4K UHD presentation really delivers on all fronts including strong gains in clarity and stability. There are a variety of landscapes presented here with each location providing impeccable detail that is exciting to explore. The Blu-Ray is great, but Warner Bros. has delivered the goods with this latest 4K release.
This 4K UHD Blu-Ray comes with a stellar Dolby Atmos audio mix that is completely enveloping and ready to transport you to this magical land. This is an astoundingly active track that provides all manner of whimsical effects and a lofty score that never fails to conjure up those old warm feelings about this franchise. There is a ton of activity in the low end that radiates through you in a way that makes you feel in the thick of the narrative. Dialogue is clear and is perfectly balanced with all of the competing sounds. There is nearly always something going on in the surrounds in a way that feels seamless and not at all distracting. The height channels are used to interesting effect in some of the duels and other kinetic moments. All of the sounds are coming from the appropriate directions, and there are absolutely no technical issues with the track. Those with a formidable surround system will have fun here.
- The Dumbledore Family Tree: A nine-minute exploration of the lineage of the Dumbledore family as we go back from the Albus we knew in the Harry Potter films to the young Albus and his complicated familial connections that stretch even further back.
- Dumbledore Through the Ages: A seven-minute piece which mixes new and archival interviews which allows participants such as Director David Yates, producer David Heyman, actor Richard Harris, J.K. Rowling, Jude Law, Michael Gambon and more to talk about this pivotal character in the wizarding world. Not only do you get an overview of his personality, but you get discussions about how he has evolved and changed the world.
- Magical or Muggle: A nearly five-minute guessing game with members of the cast in which they are given the names of certain foods and items and have to decide which camp they fall into.
- The Magic of Hogwarts: A six-minute in which various cast and crew members discuss the magic of going to Hogwarts and the care put into the production design and visual effects to make the world fully realized.
- Even More Fantastic Beasts: A six-minute featurette which explores the new beasts introduced in this story and some of the classic ones that return to the screen.
- Newt in the Wild: A five-minute piece with Redmayne and others in which they discuss allowing Newt to finally spend some time in the wild where he can actually feel like himself and at ease. There are some interesting discussions of how they brought these settings to life and working in the “creatures” he interacts with.
- The German Ministry of Magic: A five-minute discussion of the new setting we get to visit in the film and how it differs from anywhere else we have been before in this universe. Once again, the production design is pretty awe-inspiring.
- A Dumbledore Duel: A four-minute look at the showdown between Albus and Credence, what it means on a thematic level, the practical realization on film and more.
- The Candidates’ Dinner: A nearly five-minute featurette which discusses the challenges of this particular sequence, wrangling the vast array of performers, what it means on a character level, the choreography and more.
- Erkstag Jailbreak: A five-minute excavation of this eye-popping setting, the practical nature of the construction, the visual effects and more.
- Battle in Bhutan: Yet another six-minute scene exploration which breaks down everything that went into making this scene a reality.
- Deleted Scenes: Five scenes totaling seven minutes of unused footage are provided here featuring a visit to the owlery, a violent scene with Credence, and more that is worth checking out.
- The Secrets of Cursed Child: A five-minute promo piece for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is well worth attending for any fan of the Wizarding World if ever given the chance.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is probably the most compelling entry to emerge from this corner of the Wizard World, but it is still a narrative in transition. The question remains whether or not we will actually be able to continue to a satisfying conclusion, but things are heading in a better direction if so. This film is a bit handicapped by narrative choices of the past, but it does its best to get its footing as much as possible. The introduction of Mads Mikkelsen is the most exciting thing they could have done for the series, but the remainder of the film is a mixed bag of positive innovation and underdeveloped character moments. We truly want this series to develop into something we love, but waiting three or more films in is asking a lot from the audience. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released a 4K UHD Blu-Ray with a fantastic A/V presentation and an impressive number of supplemental features. Fans of this universe will probably pick this up for the sake of completion, and they will be treated to a fine presentation. Recommended
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore will be available to purchase on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, DVD on June 28, 2022. This film is currently available on Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.