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Monday, November 21, 2016

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them Review

          Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the next adventure in the Harry Potter universe. This particular adventure takes place 70years before the first Harry Potter story and follows a wizard named Newt Scamander, a very introverted wizard who has a love for magical creatures. His mission is to document all those magical creatures and expand the knowledge of these "beasts" to the rest of the wizarding world. However on this quest of his, some of his beasts escape from his magical suitcase and cause havoc in 1920s New York.
          Right off the bat, there are several things that could've been fixed.
          The first thing that could've been improved are the actual beasts themselves. There were too many beasts in this film. There were too many to keep track of. The thing I appreciate the most about the creatures that have existed in this universe is they each have their own unique trait. Those traits that you want magical creatures to have, weren't so apparent in this film. The majority of the creatures didn't seem to have a real purpose and could've been easily written out for the benefit of the film. I don't want to say scenes became "crowded" when beasts were in them but they became rather messy. There was also an overuse of CGI in the movie. There needed to be less CGI, or better CGI.
          Eddie Redmayne did a really good job at bringing this somewhat unfamiliar character to life. His performance was really unique and convincing. The problem I had was Newt stayed his introverted self the whole movie. The reason I had a problem with that is, Redmayne has charisma and that charisma was dialed down, a lot. I wish there was just one scene where Newt went full-out wizard. Just once scene where he does something dramatically different compared to what he does in the rest of the film. He was a very one note character but still enjoyable nonetheless. The character I liked more was Colin Farrell's character, Graves. He wasn't in it for that long but when he was in it, he stole the show.
          The main female protagonist was played by Katherine Waterson, and her character was such a weak character. There was absolutely no substance to her character. There was nothing. It was like watching a blank piece of paper act. It was absolutely tortuous, and was a real struggle to watch. And when someone is that bad to watch and is on screen for the majority of the movie, it heavily dampens your enjoyment of the film. There was no set up to her character, and there was no pay off in the end.
          I was really excited to see the character of Kowalski. I really liked him in the trailers. I was interested in how they were going to treat this "no-maj" or "muggle." At the first of the movie I was enjoying his character. But then they introduced a love interest for Kowalski and that didn't fit in at all. It ruined the entire flow of the movie. The movie didn't seem to have any pacing issues until she came along.
          The great thing about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is it's a return to the Harry Potter universe. Much like how the Force Awakens brought us back to the Star Wars world we loved, Fantastic Beasts brought us back the Harry Potter world we loved. I love this world so much. There were very subtle moments when a few notes of the John William's score were integrated into the overall score.  It was really nice to be in this world again. Even though I had quite a few problems, I loved how how we were introduced into this familiar world but with a new spin on it. I give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a 3/5.