Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (or Fantastic Beasts) series of adventures to continue the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, while ducking in to the events prior to the flagship story, hasn’t caught on as the folks behind them probably would have hoped for. The first film was generally received well, but its sequel seemed to fall off for most audiences. The Secrets of Dumbledore is attempt to both right the ship and to tie things up a bit in case the ship is too far underwater to get ashore. Warner Brothers is putting it out on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with an Atmos track and a nice array of bonus features on June 28th. So that means its available now and you can order yourself a copy using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review.



Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law, who takes over for Michael Gambon, who took over for Richard Harris) knows the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, who takes over for Johnny Depp, who took over from Colin Farrell) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, who takes over for Eddie…oh wait…) to lead an intrepid team of wizards and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.

While Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore isn’t quite fantastic as the series titles itself, the secret may be that its a pretty decent film and a bit refreshingly simple following the overly plotted and overstuffed Crimes of Grindelwald. However, while the film exercises some solid adventure and politics found in the later Harry Potter movies, its clear time is running out on these productions and there’s a good sense that they should best jump to a conclusion here rather than hope they can convince people that they need to see two more of these films.

This 3rd adventure into pre-Harry Potter history finds itself calming down a little bit and bringing upon a more low key adventure based on a simple chase scenario and suspense that has some magical whimsy in the details. And there’s more time and fun spent with some of the characters who are the strengths of this series and allowing Jude Law to expand upon his brief role for the former entry. While Katherine Waterston is sidelined in this adventure, some of the smaller characters in previous flicks are bumped up to a regular status and some of the new people are a bit of fun. Unfortunately, this is a rather pedestrian effort from the normally golden Mads Mikkelsen who isn’t bad at all, its just a “here he is” kind of thing that is supposed to compliment upon one of Johnny Depp’s more interesting performances in Crimes of Grindelwald.

All is not perfect, as the film gets off to a bit of a slow, yawner of a first hour that seems to showcase no sense of urgency. It merely hangs around, while also showcasing some exposition dumps since its been a few many years since the last film that people probably weren’t in a hurry to revisit to prep for this one. There are also some noticeable sequences in the film that feel hampered by Covid restrictions which feel very loose and a bit low rent for this series as we’ve come to know it. And the plot certainly builds around that with many characters paring off to side quests. They make it work though, as around the 50 minute mark this film picks up and runs with it.

One of the strong suits of the film is its venture into politics, which is akin to some of the best material in the latter Potter novels and films. Granted, its very on the nose that these films are focusing on the previous pair of elections in America as well as ongoing politic issues in the UK. The subject matter is all repurposed for the magic world and the figureheads clearly represent these people in both stature and dialogue/actions coming from them. Its nifty to see and hopefully to teach in terms of coming generations. There’s a bit of horror and scariness that comes with some of this films that make for quite a dark chapter. The shadow of the events that concluded the previous film certainly darken this one and aid to its own feel of desperations and hopelessness.

One small token. I love that this movie is the third in a sub-franchise called Fantastic Beasts and the plot is literally about a “fantastic beast”. The first one sort of had that going for it, but this one is right on the money. This story truly revolves around the importance of a creature and it very much drives much of the story all the way until the end. It very much makes the film’s place and the series feel as if it has really come full circle.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a “fine” effort, though nothing too spectacular. Its good enough that the Potter crew may want to count their chips and cash out with something decent. A film that finds itself having plenty enough closure for this series and one that could lend itself to potential spin off novels to continue it for those who are craving more. Its sad I feel that way, as I was a champion of the first film and enjoyed parts of the second as much of a mess as it was. This film is decent, though its pretty clear whatever magic got this Fantastic Beasts series off to a fun start has certainly run its course.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a native 4K image that looks about as top tier for a big CGI-driven fantasy film as you’d hope. Its a clear step up from the standard Blu-ray, though the black levels feel like they could be slightly improved (though it may just be how the digital photography turned out). The image is crisp, sharp and features great detail, texture, pattern and motion. Shouldn’t be much of a complain on its performance.

Depth: Depth of field is quite good and showcases both how big things can be and how small some of the scenes realized to be bigger tend to look (think Marvel or Jurassic World). Real set interiors fare the best in this, showcasing a lot of pushback, three dimensional appeal and overall depth of field. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues coming from motion distortions in rapid moving scenes.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and improve from the Blu-ray, though these aren’t quite the easy perfection of 4K. There are some areas where it does look a little more on the gray end. Good shadow work and definition is stronger in this image and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite strong and pop in contrast to the overall colder feel of the film. Magical bursts are definitely glowing with the aid of HDR. Clothing really looks pretty lovely with the more colorful fabrics showcasing some good saturation and flare within the frame.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones a have a slight coldness to them, consistent with the overall aesthetic and stays constant from start to finish. Facial features and textures are apparent from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Dolby Digital. English Descriptive Audio (US), English Descriptive Audio (UK), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, German Dolby Atmos, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, German Descriptive Audio, Italian Dolby Atmos, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore does not keep any of its Atmos track hush or a secret. Its all right out with good power and effect in immersing the viewer. The mix is playful and well balanced, with top of the line layering and depth. The film is set to an ideal default volume that’ll require no tinkering and should fit you right into the story in the both the quietest and action packed loudest scenes it has to offer.

Height: From above you get magical beams, debris falling from above, character flying around above and the good assist from back to front and front to back with the rolling travel of sound.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer booms with magic bursts, crashing, explosions, splashing and smashing with rock solid, effective power.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one whirls and wanders around the room quite delicately. It really utilizes the speakers and powers the rolling travel of sound through all the action, aware of whatever is both on screen and off.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore comes with the standard Blu-ray disc and a redeemable digital code. Bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

The Dumbledore Family Tree (HD, 8:38) – Pretty self explanatory, but this does start with our characters in this film and travels back down through the roots.

Dumbledore Through the Ages (HD, 7:23) – David Yates, David Heyman, JK Rowling, Jude Law and even the posthumous Richard Harris has clips here discussing the character.

Magical or Muggle (HD, 4:32) – Cast and crew of the film play a game and try to answer “Magical or Muggle?”

The Magic of Hogwarts (HD, 5:47) – This segment focusing on the thrill and excitement of filing scenes on this classic series location/set.

Even More Fantastic Beasts (HD, 6:24) – A featurette that examines the creatures found in the film.

Newt in the Wild (HD, 4:48) – This one focuses on Newt in the film with Eddie Redmayne talking about his latest adventure.

The German Ministry of Magic (HD, 4:57) – Another location specific featurette, with folks talking about what it was like to be there and on set.

A Dumbledore Duel (HD, 4:00) – A brief piece on the finale between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

The Candidates’ Dinner (HD, 4:46) – This goes over the “Assassin!” dinner sequence found in the film where Dan Fogler’s Jacob is framed.

Erkstag Jailbreak (HD, 4:51) – Another scene/set piece breakdown featurette.

Battle in Bhutan (HD, 5:42) – Here’s one where they go over how they pulled off the finale in detail with interviews from cast and crew going over their experiences.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7:15)

The Secrets of Cursed Child (HD, 4:51) – This is a little ad for the stage production.


Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is able to shake what is left of the magic from the wand of the Wizarding World and deliver a solid film for maybe one last time. Warner Bros 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release gives it a boffo 4K transfer to go with a pretty lively and fun Atmos track. Your usual host of pretty solid extras accompany and make this one a pretty terrific little package for a new film for those looking to purchase.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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