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Eddie Redmayne – Newt Scamander
Katherine Waterston – Porpentina
Dan Fogler – Jacob Kowalski
Alison Sudol – Queenie
Colin Farrell – Percival Graves
Samantha Morton – Mary Lou Barebone
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Spin-off rip-off of the Harry Potter movie franchise, with one twist: the movie uses different actors and no one from any Harry Potter flicks.
To be brutally honest, I was in – watched the movie – and was out without sparing much thought about it afterward. This movie is a light fantasy which will appeal highly to children and young teenagers; it contains some fantastic visuals and the ‘beasts’ themselves are very imaginative, it’s an explosion of limbs and colour. But for what it parades in fantasy, it lacks drastically in story. There really isn’t much to it at all.
I’ll lay this one on the line:
Newt (Redmayne) is a young wizard on his way to New York City in 1926, with only a suitcase accompanying him. Simplistic though this image is, this small suitcase soon unleashes havoc on the City and its people in the form of some truly bizarre beasts.
I have to say, the clarity of the graphics throughout this movie is superb with deep, rich colours dashing across the screen at every opportunity. Bizarre worlds are entered which boast strangely stunning landscapes: stretches of field covered in juicy bright green grass, icy mountains radiate warm blues and pinks, etc. And this is before the fantastic beasts make their appearance, who again, stand out effectively with the intricate detail gone into them at the hand of the producers / art studio.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would fit into the whole Disney genre perfectly: Scamander’s bottomless bag (a-hem, Mary Poppins). The vibrant, furry and other multi-limbed creatures (a-hem, Monsters Inc.). Heavy rainful where every droplet of water contains a magic spell, etc. The elements this movie are constructed from are highly imaginative. Most of your little ones will adore this movie if just by the graphics themselves.
The 1920’s set itself is convincing too; tooting vehicles, bowler hats, barber shops, and those classic coats, furs and capes which seemed to be in fashion. Sudol brings an even higher sense of the twenties with her as Queenie – her style and image are spot-on as she graces the screen with a whimsical presence and a voice like melting chocolate. Lovely. In fact, by bringing her almost iconic character to life, Sudol is certainly one of the leads in this movie. Good stuff.
This movie is very tedious in places. And I’m not likening it to the Harry Potter movies either; if I was, ‘Fantastic Beasts would be proper ‘walk out’ material. I’m basing this review on its own merits.
At least 70% of this movie involves suited men and other plain-faced people walking around – but not offering a lot in terms of entertainment. Imagine ‘A Day in The Life’ type documentary of people who work at The Ministry of Magic; the camera following briefcase-carrying men and women as they enter their office. Do stuff. Exit their office.. This movie fails spectacularly at creating a distinctive, magical world that is memorable. Instead it simply throws the viewer on to the streets of 20’s New York and adds a dash of ‘wand’ as though this is the producer’s way of crying out, “look guys! It’s still a magical movie!”.
When Newt visits Porpentina’s apartment, he is greeted by floating cutlery as the dishes go about washing themselves. A nice touch, it made the movie more of a fantasy. BUT – I’d seen it all before in the Harry Potter movies.
Was there anything new coming?
..there was not.
Apart from the ‘obliviate rain’ – but this was another borrowed element from the ‘Potter franchise.
I sat down to prepare for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Bottle of Evian in the seat holder, Subway footlong in my lap, I was set to enjoy this. A fresh idea from Warner Brothers..
..which opened to the theme tune of Harry Potter.
Chewing on a meatball, I frowned slightly as the gigantic titles zoomed across the screen – to the sound of the musical score of the ‘Potter movies. Another recycled idea taken from the films it was a spin-off of. It opens by engulfing the audience in that magical buzz the Daniel Radcliffe movies did – but then turns out similar to one of those boring Sunday evening television dramas fifteen minutes in.
Growing up in England during the early nineties I remember TV shows which aired on a Sunday night, adding to the depressive feeling of returning to school the next day;
Poirot. Heartbeat. The House of Eliott. Last of the Summer Wine. There were even certain children’s shows fuelled by boring shite that the producers somehow got comissioned, and I wondered how.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them reminded me of such programmes; it may have been magical in places but was otherwise ball-bustingly dull for the rest of the movie.
Masses of points lost here.
Alright guys, that’s your lot.
I no longer wish to talk about this movie. But to summarise:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is highly animated, colourful, and perfect to sit the kids down in front of for an hour or so. They will love it. They just won’t love..
..the boring bits.
Fit for a grandmother in her mid-seventies who just returned from knitting club, this movie contains the perfect amount of old-fashioned, almost vintage dramatics. Lengthy, talky scenes between detectives and their associates and attire that would probably have said grandmother reeling with familiarity, it is boring.
If I was to compare this to the Harry Potter movies, I would have to say it’s not a patch on them. Less magical, missing that fantasy buzz. Added to this is Redmayne who, again, displays that classic ‘stuttering introvert grandfather-trapped-in-young-guy’s body’ figure he does in most of his other movies. Mis-cast?..
If I wasn’t to compare it to the Harry Potter movies, I’d advise you to steer clear. Because ultimately, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a load of Fantastic Shit which needs to be flushed.