Movie Review:Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Director: David Yates (Multiple Harry Potter movies)

Writer: J.K. Rowling

Starring:  Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell

Rotten Tomatoes: 76% of Critics liked the movie  6.8/10 (Seems about right, maybe a tick or two low.) 84% of audiences liked it.

IMDb: 7.9 of 75,000+ (Feels just a touch too high to me)

Plot: The adventurous magical writer Newt Scamander comes to New York for mysterious reasons with a magical suitcase. Things go awry when some of the creatures from this suitcase escape and get involved in some manner with a sinister force affecting New York City magic and nonmagic communities.

What I Didn’t Like:

The film has to cover a lot of information in a short period of time. There are also a lot of characters involved. So the story-line becomes very scattered. There are many moving pieces of various importance that not one gets the full attention it requires

With the information dump, the film’s pacing very uneven. At times it is brisk, exciting, and fluid.  At other times it comes to a standstill for no apparent reason. I understand the need for world building especially in a fantasy based world associated with the Potterverse.  However, you hope that a movie is going to make the most out of every scene, if they aren’t needed, then they can be cut (Easier said than done from a creative standpoint, but cuts can make a film better or worse depending on who and how well they make them.)

At the end, you are left with a lot questions that at best are half answered. I imagine some of these questions will be answered in the future movies, but still i was left a bit confused.

This movie attempted a lot of heart, but not all of it works. There are characters you do care about, but many of them are not charismatic. You don’t hate them by any means, but you also don’t love them yet.

It takes a while for anything to happen in this film and when they do, it’s not outstanding.

What I Did Like:

I enjoyed the acting in the film from the entire staff, nobody was terrible. Eddie Redmayne was entertaining enough and  even enjoyed his sidekick Kowalski played by Dan Fogler who was the comic relief. Colin Farrell also wasn’t terrible, but his intentions were quite mysterious throughout the film. Even by the end, I wasn’t completely his character.

The special effects weren’t groundbreaking, but they were good for 2016.  When they had a fantastic beast, it looked quite beautiful. The wide range of creatures were also interesting. Very imaginative on J.K. Rowling and I give her and the movie crew credit for bringing them to life.

While everyone can take something from this film. I saw this film in a unique manner. I am not an avid Potter fan, though I’ve enjoyed the movies.

(Let’s put a mild SPOILER WARNING just in case.) I saw this film as a message against oppression and hate. When you suppress the natural calling of something and violently beat it back, it may fester and turn into something very damaging and dangerous. For me, the idea of allowing people to embrace who they are allows them to offer their beauty to the world. Failing to do this could have disastrous results.

The movie didn’t force comedy, but there a few times it was humorous and I chuckled. Not a comedy, but nothing wrong with some situational humor in a magical setting. After all, it is a film about wizards and magic. It is fine to have some fun with it!

Conclusion: Fantastic Beasts may not have the same quality and clear composition as most Harry Potter films, but it is an above-average fantasy film with connections that many Potter fans will appreciate.  Fantastic Beasts adds to the Potterverse lore and provides people with entertainment in a fantasy setting that much of the family can enjoy. It may not meet the high standards set by the last Potter films, but it a solid fantasy film all the same.

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