I’m just going to say it. I don’t love Harry Potter. There I said it. I think the Harry Potter movies (and books) are fine but I just do not understand the crazy fandom behind JK Rowling’s magical universe and why people think it’s the greatest thing ever. Or the greatest series of my generation. Oh well. After 7 books and 8 movies, people wanted more magic and JK “money bags” Rowling delivered with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Can it deliver a similar experience to the story of Mr. Potter or is it just a cheap cash out?
Story: The story here is not good. It’s all over the place. I don’t even think I could condense the plot to one sentence. But if I had to, here is what it would be: A wizard from Europe comes to America to deliver an animal so that someone can study it, however he gets caught up in a plot involving… an evil wizard…that..uh…wants to do…something evil…because he hates people who…don’t use magic? Honestly, that’s about all I’ve got. It feels like there are 3 different stories going on here and they’re all different and don’t have any relation with each other. First, there’s the hunt for the escaped beasts, then there’s the plot involving the “obscurus” (had to look that one up), and finally there’s the Grindelwald plot that is mentioned I think three times over the two-ish hour movie. Now. While watching the movie, I was kind of ok with the Grindelwald plot because I thought they were teasing the villain for the series (and maybe they are), but then out of nowhere, they bring him out and (spoiler) immediately arrest him. I guess he’ll be back in the next movie but there was no reason to bring him out here. Basically, it seems like they had the idea of the world (magic beings in 1920s NYC) and tried to jumble a story around it and it really failed. Maybe you could chalk it up to “world building” or setting it up for the next FOUR movies but the bottom line here is that the story sucks.
Acting: The star here is Eddie Redmayne and his performance is a solid “meh.” I think Redmayne is one of the most overrated actors today. His performance in “Theory of Everything” was decent but was way too overrated and the same could be said for this film. He’s not bad. He’s just ok. The real stand out performance is Colin Farrell. He honestly saves this movie for me. His character is kinda similar to Snape (being a morally questionable guy who you don’t know what side he’s on) and gave this film some more beef to it. Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, and Ezra Miller are the other main stars here but are pretty forgettable. The other positive here is there are some surprise big names here (Ron Perlman and Jon Voight) that pop up for a few seconds and then go away. They do well in their quick role and don’t over stay their welcome.
Presentation: The effects here are good. Not great but good. I thought Doctor Strange had better effects but I think this film’s effects are definitely better than a lot of the other crap that is out there. I will say that the music is phenomenal. James Newton Howard should be commended for his work here. In every shot, the music absolutely fits what is going on and adds so much to the mood on screen.
Effect: My issue worth mentioning here is that the tone of the movie is all over the place. One minute, there’s a silly moment where they’re being chased by a mating mythical rhino and in the next they’re being put up for execution. It’s as if the producers don’t know what the target audience is. I’m fine with have a sillier movie. Not every film needs to be a serious affair, but they need to pick if this is going to be a silly series aimed at a younger audience or one that is made primarily for young adults. Additionally, the fight scene at the end is too chaotic and hard to focus on what’s going on. Other than that, it is a fun movie as a whole.
Other: Despite my qualms listed above, this is a fun movie and I suppose that’s the point. Again, I’m not a die hard Harry Potter fan but when the movie started and the Harry Potter theme came on, I did get a chill. And as a whole, it is a fun movie. Probably would’ve been better with a group but I don’t have anyone to see it with 😦 oh well. I’m also adding a point here (for science!) since I’m not a huge fan and believe that people who are fans will enjoy this a lot.
Let me condense my points since I kinda rambled on for a while up above. This is a fun movie but not a good one. This is probably one of the worst AAA blockbuster movies I have seen this year. The story is virtually non-existent and is just there to string together the individual scenes. Maybe the next film will be better (just like Chamber of Secrets is much better the Sorcerers Stone), but this is not a good start for Rowling’s next big hit series.
P.S: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy some time with your family!