The Potterverse prequel ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘ Comes Off Sadly Uninspired.
For being based in magic, there was nothing enchanting about ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘. By the end of the first act, it becomes all “been there, done that” with a new coat of paint.
It’s hard to not compare this to ‘Harry Potter‘ but being from the same universe, there will be comparisons. From the moment the first Potterverse film started, you were introduced to this mysterious world. This movie relies so much the established fanbase that it skips all good parts of a story. Instead of showing us the wonderment, it just gluttonously throws everything at you attempting to dazzle.
‘Fantastic Beasts‘ tries so hard to expand a universe that you forget the story at hand. Focusing on trying to capture all these magical creature let loose in 1920’s New York could have been fine. But there’s so many mentions to future stories or sequel plans that the best story is lost. If any sub-plot should’ve had focused, it’s the twisted “Westboro Baptist Church-esque” anti magic extremist family. Especially since ignoring those characters for most of the running time helped lead to the waste of the talented Ezra Miller.
The waste of Ezra Miller isn’t the only issue regarding the cast. Everyone felt as if they weren’t putting in their best. Eddie Redmayne played a lead character so awkward that it felt uncomfortable to watch at times. It didn’t help that he was only surrounded by comedic side characters and no one of substance. Katherine Waterston plays the thankless role of Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, the bumbling witch who works for the Magical Congress. For a series known for such strong female characters, she played a sadly one-note role that spends her time making doe-eyes at Redmayne’s Newt Scamander.
“Yesterday, a wizard entered New York with a case. A case full of magical creatures. And unfortunately, some have escaped.”
-Porpentina “Tina” Goldsteinas
Another glaring problem is the either a lackluster script or messy editing. It’s hard where to pin-point my complaint but nothing felt like it was being paced correctly. Scenes jumped around with no real explanation and nothing felt connected. By the end of the film, ‘Fantastic Beasts‘ struggles to get all the pieces together. It could be the inexperience of J.K. Rowling as a film screenwriter or the blame could be on how the film was cut. Just another example of what makes this feel so awkward.
Everything from the villainous reveals to the comedic gags feels like it’s been done over and over again. Nothing says 2016 movie like a giant CGI monster for your finale. It’s so overused Hollywood by now and then to see ‘Fantastic Beasts‘ use this filmmaking crutch…total deal breaker.
This was one of the hardest reviews I’ve had to write. The challenge was coming up with enough words to express my boredom and disappointment. I was never the biggest ‘Harry Potter‘ fan but I respected their films. ‘Fantastic Beasts‘ just reeks of unnecessary prequel problem like the ‘The Hobbit‘ series did.
Like the title of the review states, how can a film about magic lack any kinda magical spark to it? My hopes is the sequel slows everything down and build up to the fun instead of just expecting it to be there.
Synopsis: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.
Director: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller
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