Benz Eye View: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantastic_beasts_and_where_to_find_them_poster
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Pros: 

1.) I am intrigued of the 20s American side of the Wizarding world.  It works differently than the modern British Wizards, and I like that other countries have their own laws and rules for wizards and witches to follow that are different from others.  In other words, a good expansion of the Harry Potter universe.

2.) I really like the artistic designs in this movie.  The monsters, the costumes, the settings, and many others show that there is more to the wizarding world than what the Harry Potter movies have shown.

3.) Speaking of monsters, they are very enjoyable to look at, and have a surprising amount of personality.  Not only do they look different, but they act differently in many situations (i.e. one monster loves to take shining stuff like coins)…

 

Cons: 

1.) …I cannot really say the same thing about the characters.  For one thing, there are many, and they are hard to follow (I will explain in a moment).  Not only that, none of them are really that interesting (with the possible exceptions of Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski).  Especially for the side characters since they do not get that much screen time or mention.  If you end up watching the movie, try remembering Gellert Grindelwald (not the one in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1).  He will be brought up once or twice, but you are likely going to forget about him.

2.) When I said it was hard to follow, the reason is that there are four to five plot points that are poorly paced.  Here is how it is laid out:  A Dark Wizard named Gellert Grindelwald is terrorizing the American Wizard community, and he needs to be stopped.  Oh, wait.  First, Newt has to recapture some of his beasts that escaped from his briefcase, and Jacob (a Muggle, or a No-Maj in American terms) gets sucked into these problems when he fails to create his own bakery.  Also, a group of people is indoctrinating children to anti-witches, and one of them maybe some powerful force than no one has seen before.  There is so much to take in, and the movie shows very little of some of these plot points until it all converges to the last act.  The only one I have a good sense in following is Newt’s mission to capture all of the escaped beasts.

3.) When the movie reaches the part where Newt and Jacob enter his briefcase, and we see all the magical creatures inside, I realized the big problem with this movie: it takes too long for them showing what the world of the movie is like, and it spends little time telling a story.  It is amazing to see, but I want the story to move forward (which does not help when the story is a little lackluster).  It works in a book, but it does not really work in movies since it only has a limited amount of time to tell us how the world works, and move on.  The Harry Potter movies may have a similar problem, but not as bad as this movie.

 

Overall: 

I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books.  I have read them all (including the latest book), and seen all of their movies.  They may not be masterpieces, but I still enjoy them nonetheless.  Then I heard of a prequel starring a character from one of those textbooks that Harry Potter and his friends use for class.  At first, I thought, “That’s a dumb title for a movie.”  Over time, I thought it would be cool to see a new side of the Harry Potter world.  After watching it, this probably would have been better as a book.  Technically, there is a book version, but it is pretty much backstory and history of the wizarding world of Harry Potter, particularly the creatures.  I meant that the novelization version of this movie would probably be better (which is funny considering this movie was written by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books).  It feels like it wants to explain more about how this world works, but it does not have enough time.  As a result, the story and characters suffer.  It could be improved on the inevitable sequels that they are planning on, but on its own, it really needs work.

6/10

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