Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) | Film Review

I love Harry Potter. The magical world has always been one of my favourite spaces to retreat to, however, this film did not entice me to see it. Everything from the trailers to the cast, and the lack of lore behind it, made me feel “eh” about the whole experience. And after the disappointment of The Cursed Child, I did not want to suffer more, luckily, it was not disappointing, and there is a lot of potential for future features. 

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them
Directed by David Yates
Written by J. K. Rowling
Music by James Newton Howard

Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell.

We have all heard of Newt Scamander, or I hope we have. He is the writer of a book based on magical creatures, mostly used at Hogwarts to teach classes, we know he earned an Order of Merlin, and that he had a grandson that married the magnificent Luna Lovegood. But little is known of his personality and private life, hopefully, since we were given so little in this movie, we can learn more in the sequels.

Newt travels to New York with a magical suitcase filled with magical creatures, some of them escape, and he must recover them, with the help of a muggle (no-Maj in America), and a demoted Auror and her sister (who I’m pretty sure is an ancestor of a character from the books). At the same time, a “creature” is wreaking havoc in the city, threatening exposure of wizarding kind, all occurring in the backdrop of the world in chaos over Gellert Grindelwald’s war on wizards and muggles alike.

In general it was a good film. The music was great, the actors did a good job, most of the effects where astounding, there was some expansion of the cinematic world. Yet, it was not as great as I wanted it to be. Some characters seemed useless, or completely one dimensional, some effects were obviously CGI, and a lot of hints for the world were dropped but never showed, which seemed rather useless.

So let’s talk about what I liked and didn’t:
CHARACTERS:
Magical beasts are terrorising No-Majs. When No-Majs are afraid, they attack. Contain this or it will mean war.“-President Seraphina Picquery
I was quite excited to see Carmen Ejogo as such a powerful individual, being the President of MACUSA, and as the film introduced her, I awaited for her character to wake up and be awesome. it never truly came except from the quote above. I will not consider this a spoiler since I feel that we all need to know it before we go insane expecting it to happen, Picquery never does any actual magic. If you go into the movie expecting her to battle wizards, and be kick-ass, the disappointment will come. She has an ensemble of Aurors, that do much more for the film than her short monologues do, and I wasn’t even that impressed by them. My hopes is that they realize the potential her character has, as one of the most powerful witches in America, and that she gets to battle Grindelwald at some point in the series.
Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski owever, was a gift to the movie. Everything he says or does was adorable. All he wanted was to open a bakery, but instead he is drafted into the magical world via a simple switch. I cannot wait to see more of him in the future.
Ezra Miller’s  Credence Barebone was fantastic, but I cannot hope to see he was a bit wasted in the film, as his personality and needs were sidelined for other things. Although the ending and what is told about him made up for a lot of it.
Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Colin Farrell were quite alright. Redmayne and Waterston’s characters were quite good at being exactly what I imagined their characters to be, shy and smart. However, Tina (Waterston), who was referred to as a strong witch, was easily overpowered a couple times. I just hope she is not considered the Dwalish of America. Farrell’s Percival Graves’ was a character I sympathized with sometimes and others I despised him. He is obviously a believer in wizard-kind supremacy, but once we are shown what magic people and non-magical creatures will do to some, it is understandable how he believes. But then he ruins it by being a complete bastard.
Everyone else was sort of alright. I did not hate them, nor did I love them. I liked how Queenie had all that Legimency power, but asides from her use of that ability to reveal some background, she as just there, like a useless puppet. I hope that they increase her importance later on. All the other characters are easily forgotten. 

MUSIC: 
Will the soundtrack be as memorable as the original series’ one? Not really, but as far as recent soundtracks go, it is quite fantastic. James Newton Howard, whom we all know for The Sixth Sense, Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Hunger Games series, Nightcrawler, does not fail at giving us magical music for an enchanting film. Much like all those scores, this one is perfect to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and read, or simply to study. 

PLOT  AND SCREENPLAY:
The plot-line was a bit of an up and down narrative. It almost seemed like some short stories being tied together, even if they had no connection whatsoever. Scenes depicting the wizard community, or the simple human community, were well written, but then we would be suddenly drifted into some unnecessary background information and we would be sucked from the world. I am hoping that this will be fixed in the future, I rather watch a concise story over short snippets in the life of characters. 

I am very excited to see where they take the next five films. I want to see more creatures (the ones in the movie need more background because now I am to invested in them), and to have characters improve on their personality and qualities, and hopefully see some actors and their characters come back. For any fan of the Wizarding world, this is a must see film, which will hopefully shower some love on the Hufflepuff students.  

★★★½

Did you love the film more than me? Where you disappointed?

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