Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Reviews
In the Harry Potter saga, with the exception of Deathly Hallows, most of the action was confined in Hogwarts. When we were taken out of the school, the main characters, being underage, were not allowed to do magic. The novelty in this movie is that we get to follow a fully fledged adult wizard in an entirely new environment and observe the dynamics and workings of the magical society.
Said wizard is Newt Scamander, a magical zoologist that traveled the world in order to find and document rare creatures, which he carries in his magical suitcase. When this suitcase gets mixed up with one that belongs to muggle Jacob, some of Newt's creatures escape and cause problems in New York.
Eddie Redmayne shines in this movie. He plays a very clearly British, endearing and slightly awkward Newt, but the character's kindness is obvious by the loving and friendly way that he treats his magical creatures. Dan Fogler does a great job as Jacob Kowalski, the muggle who is suddenly thrown into a world of wonder that existed beside him all along. He is the one the audience can best relate to, since he mirrors our sense of marvel. Katherine Waterstone and Alison Sudol also do a good job as the two vastly different magical sisters, who aid Newt in his adventure. If I had a small gripe, it would be that the excellent Colin Farell was in my opinion under used.
All in all, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a solid and visually stunning movie that manages to achieve three things.
First, although it takes place in the Harry Potter universe, it stands apart and has its very own story, which can be enjoyed separately from that of the famous young wizard. Second, it drops quite a few hints and names, which not only tie in nicely with the stories that we know, but also serve to set up the next installments, which are rumored to document Dumbledore's past and connection with Grindelwald. Finally, the movie features a bustling 1926 New York, which coupled with the intriguing character dynamics, offers a brand new insight into Rowling magical world and leaves us poor muggles asking for more.
After following Harry's adventures, many of us were left wanting to see much more of the story and luckily for us, it seems Rowling has that much more to offer. Personally, I can't wait for the next movie, great job!
I really want to draw attention to the title of the review above. I'm sure many die-hard potterheads would want every review on this site to score this movie 10/10 and say it is a masterpiece. Well I can't do that, since that isn't my honest opinion. What I can say though is that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a thoroughly entertaining affair that is well worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of J.K. Rowling's magical world.
For starters the cast was great. Eddie Redmayne feels perfectly cast in main role as Newt Scamander. A very awkward and introverted person who prefers the company of animals rather than humans. He has the quirkyness down to a tee. I also really liked the muggle (or no-maj as the Americans call him) played by Dan Fogler. How he reacts to the whole wizarding world and the events that happen around him is actually really funny. I also thought Katherine Waterstone and Alison Sodul did great playing two sisters who wind up roped in to the whole adventure.
The creatures are the best part of the entire movie by far. They CGI on them looks kind of fake, but it's more than made up for by the concepts alone. Almost all of them have some clever twerk that keep them from feeling generic and they're all filled with personality. The sequences when they're catching these creatures are all really fun to watch.
However there are some problems with this movie. For one it has way too many side characters. A lot of them feel completely underdeveloped and add basically nothing to the overall story (*cough* Jon Voight *cough*). There's also a magical threat that becomes more central towards the end but it honestly kind of left me scratching my head. I just wasn't that engaged in that part of the story to be honest.
Still these problems are not enough to ruin the movie by any means. It's filled with wonder and creativity and being back in the world of witchcraft and wizardry is worth the price of admission alone. I enjoyed the characters, the humour and the creatures a whole lot. I also want to give J.K. Rowling huge credit for not just rehashing the Harry Potter story again. This is fresh and new and while it isn't flawless by any means it's certainly entertaining!It is unbelievable that JK Rowling's name is even attached to this film.
The discipline and thought that went into the Harry Potter characters and story certainly wasn't applied to this catastrophe, which, like the Hobbit and so many other Hollywood regurgitation(s), merely seeks massive profits by piggybacking on a successful franchise while being utterly devoid of substance.
It isn't even worth going into detail. There is only one truly likable character, though you can't relate to ANY character as we know absolutely nothing about them, nor do they have any developed relationships with each other.
The entire script is built around the magical creatures doing damage to NYC, again, a ridiculous premise, as the damage is massive and there is no backlash. The complicated boundaries between the magical and non-magical worlds and people, so well laid out in HP, are completely absent. The most ridiculous example of idiotic, careless detail is that for most of the scenes on the streets of NYC, it is practically a ghost town, whereas in reality, NYC in the 1920s was nearly as densely populated as it is now. Perhaps more so, not worth it to fact check this.
And Eddie Redmayne as the lead was totally inaccessible, not engaging and half of his speech literally unintelligible. Fully one third into the movie it is finally established that he, the lead character, is closer to magical creatures than humans, but by then, not only do we not care about him or like him, but really the script gives him not ONE real relationship wherein to show forth his character. Who is he? Where does he come from? We don't know. Anyway, a horrible choice for a lead character, someone who has no emotional connection to any characters. Even his relations to the animals is explored surface level, there is no one relationship with anyone or anything that develops throughout the story and makes the audience care about the character. Only superficial plot-related details are given and there is no emotional or human life at all.
This is the same way all the characters, every single one, is treated. They are merely 2 dimensional props, there to perpetuate a plot that is mostly centered around special effects and hubris action, magical creatures rampaging here and there, and, as I said, unrealistically, going on undetected.
Literally, not one shining point to this film. Another disgrace to storytelling, devoid of all substance and creativity, pumped out of the Warner Bros fecal-making factory. Utterly disappointed.David Yates has done it again - what a terrible movie. Boring from beginning to end. J.K. Rowling just wasn't able to write a script that could live up to the Harry Potter books and universe. Fantastic? Not so much. Beasts? Sure, lots of them, but uninteresting. Where to find them? All inside a magical bag. There's absolutely no character development: we get to know very little about Newt Scamander, his personal quest, his thoughts or what drives him; Tina is just bland; and Kowalski is a comic relief that just wasn't necessary. Throughout the movie, you never understand why Newt has a "Noah complex" or why he was driven to build his own Ark of magical creatures; there's no tension, no drama involved - muggles don't know about those creatures, so they can't hate them or understand how dangerous they might be, and wizards just don't seem to care enough about them. Why exactly was Newt expelled from Hogwarts? What exactly was his relation to Leta Lestrange? We just don't know. Graves was an interesting character, but very poorly developed. Sure, he is revealed to be something more and we couldn't know too much, but we never get to understand the context in which he professes his ideology. For a movie that revolves around magic, there's actually not that much magic being used during the movie. Maybe next time they should try a movie with less special effects and a little bit more acting. The Harry Potter books were always about the narrative - well written, enticing, thrilling, focused on big existential issues, such as death, the quest for immortality, friendship. This movie was about the visual power of cinema, and that just isn't enough. Besides, a whole generation grew up with Harry Potter, a generation that actually "grew up", so a PG movie won't work