Article by: Sean Hannon
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a book written by J.K Rowling as a prequel to the popular Harry Potter books. The success of the Harry Potter movies makes transforming this book into a film a profitable idea for Warner Brothers, Inc. The movie was an attempt to reignite the Harry Potter frenzy that had gripped America not too long ago. The movie is directed by David Yates, the same director of the last four Harry Potter films. The cast is completely original, but of course some Harry Potter characters are mentioned, and I'm confident some will show up in the four sequels Warner Brothers has planned. A lot of references to the past Harry Potter movies were left out.
In the 1920’s Newt Scamander, a young British man, had just arrived in New York City. He is a wizard who collects magical beasts in his magical suitcase, which acts as reservation for these magical beasts. He is writing a book documenting the beasts, hence the name of the book/movie. But in the United States wizardry is driven underground and is very secretive and restricted to the public. While in a bank, one of his smaller beasts gets loose and Newt has to recapture it. This is when he runs into Jacob Kowalski, a nomag(non-magical person/muggle for Harry Potter fans) who is caught up in Newts shenanigans and accidentally switches their suitcases, meaning Jacob Kowalski has the magical one containing the beasts. After the suitcases are switched, Newt is met by Porpentina Goldstein, a wizard who tries to turn in Newt to the wizarding body of America, for unleashing the beast on the city already afraid of magic. But they discover that Jacob has the suitcase and they have to track him down before he opens it. They are too late and a wide selection of beasts are released and Newt, Porpentina, and Jacob have to track them down.
The characterization and interactions in the film are great. Newt is characterized as awkward, book smart and anti-social where Jacob’s traits are almost exactly the opposite. He may be considered awkward but the almost the entire film he is in a new world of magic which is alien to him. Jacob is the most memorable character in the movie. I would almost call him an Olaf from the movie, Frozen but not just serving a comic relief. His jokes come at perfect times and are never repetitive - seeing him interact with the magical world can be humorous. Newt and Jacob make a perfect team as they hunt down magical beasts in 1920’s New York City. The setting is very fitting as the political turbulence and enormous wealth of the 1920’s seem integrated with the plot and make for a more interesting movie.
There are numerous problems with this movie. First, the plot is odd as in there's almost two stories within the movie. One is ignored throughout the middle of the movie, but for little references here and there. These plots are very loosely connected and if one plotline were gone it wouldn’t very much affect the other. Secondly, the overuse of CGI is also a problem as it gets pretty old throughout the movie and can even hurt your eyes. The ending is pretty underwhelming(don't worry, no spoilers here!). It feels like nothing has changed in the world, or was learned by the main characters. It is almost as if this movie was made just to set up the characters in the next film. As well as the plots, there are also two villians. One of them is defeated in 20 minutes and the other in a half a minute, which is odd for a movie from Warner Brothers.
This movie was good. If you are a Harry Potter fan I fully recommend it - you would probably enjoy it more than me. If you're indifferent on the franchise, it's an okay movie and if you are really want to be introduced about the franchise I still recommend it. If you could care less I would go and see a different movie.