Movie Review | Is Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Worth Watching?

Let me start with this – FIX THE GODDAM LOCK! Okay, more of that later, I promise.

 

Now lets get into the actual movie. I dare say that Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them is one of the most, if not the most anticipated movie for 2016. Obviously, with bigger power, comes bigger responsibilities (Spider Man much?). Right, that is being said with exaggeration, but with millions and millions of Harry Potter fans world wide, all dying to see the film; plus the fact that Fantastic Beasts will become part of the second most successful movie franchise of all times (second only to the Marvel Cinematic Universe according to Forbes), there is bound to be pressure for Warner Brothers to not disappoint Potter-Heads worldwide.

 

It seems that Warner Brothers is well aware of this; just take a look at the very capable team it has put together. Director David Yates is no stranger to the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. Yates is responsible for every Harry Potter movie in the series, ever since The Order Of The Phoenix that came out in 2007. In the originally series, the change to a much darker tone from the 4th to the 5th instalment under Yates’ direction is very noticeable in a good way, since the story itself deals with a much more dark and complex story line. It is no longer just about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts; this time the threat from the dark side is much more real as the result of Voldemort’s resurrection. Yates handled the rest of the series rather well; and the continuous in directing style is much appreciated.

 

Now back to Fantastic Beasts. Looking at the cast, there is no reason to worry about the overall performance from the actors (well, please ignore Eddie Redmayne’s mediocre performance in Jupiter Ascending). Talking about Redmayne, his performance is top notch in Fantastic Beasts. His portrayal of protagonist Newt Scamander is just fantastic. I was completely annoyed by his character at the very beginning, and you are meant to be annoyed by him. In a nutshell, Scamander is a socially awkward character with great intentions. Interestingly though, he is completely aware of it. My annoyance with him, however, changed once we are being shown with his true intentions for travelling  from England to New York. This is the time when we begin to fall in love with this rather adorable man. By this time of the movie however, I screamed in my head “FIX THE GODDAM LOCK” several times already. You will understand what I mean once you have seen the movie for yourself. To me this is a little plot hole but not a deal breaker. I wondered, if wizards have all the magical abilities in the world, can’t they just fix a simple lock? Or at least put some sort of barrier at the entrance of the suitcase?

 

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Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander

 

While the rest of the cast put great use of their acting abilities into Fantastic Beasts, I did not feel as connected with some characters as I did with Scamander. For example, Katherine Waterson’s portrayal of Tina was strong, but we are only given very little facts about her and her sister Queenis’s origins. In fact, we are kind of thrown into the American magical world with little explanation or background. It is just there. In comparison to the reveal scene of Diagon Alley in the first Harry Potter movie, the reveal in this movie is certainly much less impactful, if not weak. Even though the audience is (kind of) expected to know that the magical world exists by now, special effects could have made a little more effort in the scene when Scamander is transitioned from the non-magical world for the first time into the American magical world.

 

However, these slight distractions do not to take away my enjoyment of the much larger and rather rich plot. We have a powerful dark wizard at large and mysterious magical occurrence happening throughout the whole of New York City. Meanwhile, Scamander needs to find the magical creatures he had lost, in doing so, also trying to hide from being prosecuted by the officials from The Magical Congress of the United States of America. All of this, plus dealing with the threat of the exposure of the magical world to the non-magical people. The script does set us up with some solid plots to keep the interest going and in the process, also gives us some surprisingly satisfying good twists towards the end. I just wish the pacing at the beginning could have been a little faster, to really get into the main story.

 

Overall, Yates gave us a fantastic looking movie (see what I did there?) with great visuals, stunning set designs, solid musical score and sound performances through and through from a very talented cast. A special mention of Dan Fogler’s performance, which is very fun and enjoyable to watch, and his portrayal of Jacob provided some very memorable comic relief throughout.

 

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Redmayne, Waterson, Fogler and Sudol share an intense scene

 

Fantastic Beasts serves as a very nice set up for the up coming stories in the Harry Potter universe. Die-hard fans will certainly enjoy the back stories of Harry Potter this movie has to offer so far, and the glimpses of what is next in the magical world. I would rather think of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them as a very long teaser of what exciting adventures must yet to come, because from all the back stories mentioned in the Harry Potter books (this being one of them), the later instalments will be even more epic.

 

Make sure you do check out their web site.

 

Watch the Trailer below.

 

 

All photo credits to Warner Brothers

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