Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Reviews
In the story and pacing department, the movie is admittedly a little lacking. This is the first time Rowling has written a film script, and it kind of shows. It's good, but it probably could've used some brushing up from someone a little more experienced. The pacing between events feels a little uneven and choppy at times. There are whimsical moments of chasing after creatures followed by quick scenes of exposition, and while I enjoyed both scenes in concept, they don't quite flow together. I also have some issues with the main conflict of the movie. It's regarding the rise of a dark wizard who came before Voldemort, and while a cool story, it feels very separate from the beasts segments with Newt Scamander. It feels like Newt was forcibly thrown into the this story that he's not really relevant to, making the whole thing a little clunky.
So more than any of the other Potter films, I have some major issues with this films story. However, I think it's a credit to the film that these glaring flaws really only became minor annoyances to me in the end. What pulls the film together for me is, well, for one just having a bunch of things I like in it. But also, it's got great characters that I really wanted to follow. Newt's so charming and awkward, he's an eccentric oddball who just loves what he does and that love passes on to us the audience. The Goldstein sisters are pretty likable too, but the one who really steals the show is Dan Fogler as a muggle who gets wrapped up in everything. He's clearly the audience surrogate, a character you really need in this sort of story, but he's such a lovable character you forget that his primary purpose is to have the plot explained to us. He needs to come back in the sequel or I'm really going to be dissapointed, because his friendship that develops with Newt is really the heart of this whole movie.
Fantastic Beasts is a little clunky in its storytelling, and at the end of the day it's not necessary at all. But here it is, and for what it is, it's really enjoyable. It's not a masterpiece, and doesn't have the same nostalgic pull as the other Harry Potter films, but as a side story in that world, it's a great deal of fun.
Redmayne's performance seems oddly detached. The other roles are so thinly laid out that it's difficult to feel any connection with what is supposed to be dramatic tension. And the stormy flurries of destruction go on much too long.
The good news, for Potter enthusiasts, is that there are sequels already in the works. One hopes that Rowling will find her footing as a screenwriter, or hand those duties to another.
The movie falls apart when Queenie is introduced, and her relationship with Jacob felt forced. Ezra Miller's character was also very annoying. I understand that his character was abused, but his constant whining made him the most irritating and unlikeable character in the film. There were so many plotholes and the plot twists were very predictable.
The movie also tried to condense its mythology, but I don't understand why J.K. Rowling had to cram in so much mythology into one film when there are four more movies planned for this franchise. She wrote the screenplay as if she's writing a book. I understand she wanted to expand the Harry Potter universe, but Fantastic Beast was just more of the same but done better in the Harry Potter movies. The Fantastic Beast universe isn't nearly as immersive as the Harry Potter universe. Nothing in Fantastic Beast felt like it was set in the '20s, except for the clothes and vehicles. The wizarding world looks almost identical to Harry Potter, as if nothing has changed in the past 70 years or so. I guess it wouldn't be nearly as nostalgic if the wizarding world in Fantastic Beast looked drastically different.
I do like the cast (with the exception of one) and the set-pieces, but Fantastic Beast was underwhelming. I'm not even sure if it's better than the worst Harry Potter movie and I don't think I would be interested in the sequel, unless Tina returns for the sequel.