Before we even start, ‘The Magical World’ by JK Rowling was the beginning for many things for me. Firstly Philosophers Stone was the first book I was able to read truly by myself without in any help and it was also the first film I ever saw at the cinema. My mother bought me the book and I sat for hours reading it over and over and then one day she woke me up at 11 pm and put me in the car, still in my PJs, to go to the cinema at midnight. My first book that I owned and read and the first-midnight showing I have ever been to – the beginning of my life really!!
Okay onto Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them…
*There will be no spoilers in this review*
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them…
Overall – 4/5
Acting – 5/5
Props and Sets – 4/5
Special Effects -5/5
Set up for Further Sequel – 4/5
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. newest film ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ directed by David Yate and inspired by a textbook used by the students in JK Rowling’s infamous Harry Potter series, had opened up is a massive way on 18th November 2016. Across the country, midnight showings were started showing the film for the first time to packed houses, a theme which would continue the entire week. Staring; Eddie Red Mayne as Newton ‘Newt’ Scanmander, Kathrine Waterson as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski and Alison Sudal as Queenie Goldstein make up the central characters of this piece. It’s a lovely movie, full of references to the original story and beautiful scenes which will bring great pleasure to the millennial generation to whom JK Rowling plays a central part of their childhood.
This world means a great deal to me, as a millennial, it’s almost a given, but unlike everybody else I knew, saw and read, I had some real worries about this film. Any production after following in the footsteps of the Harry Potter has the enviable problems and worries any mediocre, half-arsed sequel would struggle with, and this movie had no intentions on being anything less than great. Bloody brilliant, as Ronald Weasley would say, it most definitely was.
Actor wise this film cannot be flawed. The casting of the movie is exact to the character. Redmayne, who plays Newt Scanmander, is a particularly shy and nervous English gentleman actor playing a shy and nervous English gentleman wizard. This makes for smooth acting without any strain or obvious discomfort in the actor. Also I think we can all agree that if you can include Johnny Depp and or Colin Farrell (Thank you Warner Bros., my mother wasn’t interested in seeing this movie til I pointed out Mr Farrell was in it, then she went ahead and booked midnight showing tickets! She couldn’t wait!) in any movie, you damn well should! While the script artfully weaves a new plot, bring in new characters and a detailed future to work through while referring to the story already known, Harry Potter. Also, a treat to those ‘Potterheads’ who know the Wizarding World in detail will also pick up on references dotted around to plot lines and character development not included in the original books but kept on Pottermore, the JK Rowling Wizarding World encyclopaedia.
Thankfully this movie is made well and certain pet-peeves of mine are missed or avoided. The items useful to the plot are introduced early and therefore when used later it’s not a case of “Oh look, I have a thing that solves all our problems. Yep, always had this thing, just didn’t think to mention it, totally didn’t just pull it out of thin air now”. The movie also has characters dealing with homosexual themes (while only touched on in this film, this theme will have to be explored in more depth in the next films if they follow the plot correctly) and the main character clearly has autism, brilliant to see that the most amazing can be the ones who are different and special.
Don’t get me wrong, this film isn’t perfect by any measure. It is a well know fact that all major series of films have had one major thing in common – a brilliant soundtrack. From Star Wars to Indiana Jones from Kill Bill to James Bond, they all require the best composers and the music musicians making the type of music that either makes you cry and makes you want to ride into battle and is always memorable. While the film has got good music, reminiscent of Harry Potter but with a hint of the era of the film about it making the ambience more exciting, there were huge chunks of the movie with no music going on at all. This may be because the director wanted the attention to be on the situation and dialogue at hand but unfortunately, this didn’t work. Instead, there were moments where the tension just wasn’t there causing the moment to fall flat.
Also, I am hopeful this issue will be dealt with in the next film but I was disappointed at the lack of back story to the antagonist, Grindlewald, and lack of build up to his story. There was build up to the protagonist, Newt, story and suggestion of the continuation of the plot but as I personally know the backstory of Grindlewald and know that it wasn’t even touched in the original movies, I would have wished for the script to have included details of Grindlewald that gave him a more 3D personality that just, ‘yep, that’s the bad guy’. There is a huge story of his past and his interactions with characters we already know and love that haven’t been conveyed. Here’s hoping they deal with this in further sequels.
Lastly, it struggled with the same thing all movies being massively hyped fell into. The best funny moments were in the trailer. The number of trailers I have seen, by the time I sat down to watch the film there were jokes I had seen already that just didn’t make me, or anybody in the further audience, laugh. Complete silence. While the movie isn’t just comedic, it’s exciting, nostalgic, awe inspiring and heart stopping, it should have avoided putting the funniest moments in the trailer. In fact, in many ways, it may have been better to put out no trailer. A film of this magnitude knows it will be putting butts in seats and selling overpriced popcorn and coke regardless, so why not do the unthinkable and put out only very vague posters, build up the suspense? Just a thought for next film!
Regardless of its faults I did love this movie and will be looking towards the sequels, continuing a story I have loved since I was 6. Truly a beautiful movie, and who now doesn’t want a Niffler?!
**This review and its opinions belong to Ella-May Wallace under the pen name of Tinyblades. The movie this piece is reviewing belongs entirely to Warner Bros. Studios and JK Rowling. Ella-May Wallace receives no monetary value for this review.