Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
In 1926, Newt Scamander arrives at the Magical Congress of the United States of America with a magically expanded briefcase, which houses a number of dangerous creatures and their habitats. When the creatures escape from the briefcase, it sends the American wizarding authorities after Newt, and threatens to strain even further the state of magical and non-magical relations.
Die hard Potter fan I am! Even I found this film rather boring!
There has been a suggestion that this film is the start of what is apparently going to be a Harry Potter prequel series. Well, the films do occur before the Harry Potter films, this one being set in 1926, and there are slated to be five in this series to be released, but a part of me feels that as opposed to the Star Wars prequels, which Lucas was said to have envisioned long before they were released, but wasn't able to produced them due to the lack of technology and the costs involves, these films seem to simply exist to capitalise on the Harry Potter phenomena. Honestly, I don't necessarily believe that this is a bad thing, especially if something works, and from the results that this film produced it is quite clear that it was very well received. Okay, Cinema Sins wasn't all that impressed with the film, but then again that is Cinema Sins and you generally take everything he says with a grain of salt. Still, he is right in one thing and that this film simply exists to capitalise on Harry Potter, and a lot of flaws that he points out do hold a lot of water. For instance, I pretty much worked out who the bad guy was (the wizard Grimwald) right from the word go, and also there does seem to be two films running in tandem, though I don't necessarily believe that this is a bad thing. Anyway, we have this zoologist, Newt (or mago-zoologist to be more precise) arriving in New York. He says that he is interested in meeting up with a breeder of magical creatures, though as it turns out the Americans aren't really all that keen on magical animals, and in fact are hunting them to extinction. Newt's goal is to basically convince the world that these creatures aren't all that bad and that we should learn to admire them for the beauty that they happen to be. Oh, he also carries around this case that happens to be a portal to an extra-dimensional world where he keeps all of his creatures. The thing is, as happens with a lot of these films, is that our friend arrives in New York in the middle of a crisis. There happens to be this invisible creature running around causing havoc everywhere. However, he has other problems on his mind because his case ends up getting switched with a muggle's case (I could see that happening from a mile away as well, particularly since it was quite clear that they happened to be carrying the same case). Anyway, there is another wizard, Tina Goldstein, who is in disgrace and is doing everything she can to get back into the wizard's good books. Not surprisingly, since a muggle happens to have the wizard's case, when he opens it all of the creatures get out. I guess that was the better part of the film, our protagonists running around trying to get all of the creatures back into the case, and the sub-plot (which turns out to be the main plot) of the wizard who is trying to suppress his abilities, and that in turn being released as a violent force that is destroying the city, probably wasn't all that necessary. Then again, this does happen to be main stream cinema, so I guess that this sort of subplot is actually needed. Of course, you also have Grimwald lurking around somewhere, though as I pointed out, it is pretty obviously right from the get-go who he actually is. Still, I quite enjoyed this film - it was actually a lot of fun. I guess it was a refreshing change to the the films that basically followed Harry through his time at Hogwarts. Mind you, from what I could tell I'm not convinced that these films are going to be setting the scene for the events in Harry Potter - this one doesn't seem to have any real connection with them, with the exception of a mention of Dumbledore and Hogwarts. Another thing I liked was Newt's character - he came across very shy and reserved, which I felt was very well done. You honestly don't see many characters like this these days.
"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" takes the "Harry Potter" series in a new and exciting direction through its use of historical fiction. The story takes place in New York after 1929. In the opening scene, our hero Newt finds out firsthand how difficult it is for immigrants to get through Ellis Island. Many from other parts of the world are turned away just for being seasick, or for the new quotas instituted by the government, as was really the case back then. Newt barely gets through the exhaustive inspection process, enduring many indignities before he finally reaches land. The event humbles the aristocratic magic user, but also focuses him on the task at hand.The reason for this heightened security is a sense of paranoia in America stemming from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, both cataclysms blamed on witches and wizards hiding within the country. The misery suffered by unemployed Americans standing in bread lines helps fuel the anti-magic movement, known as the Ku Klux Klan, into a furor. The biggest moment came before Newt's arrival, when a mysterious person revealed to the newspapers that wizards and witches live in opulent hideouts, resembling speak-easys of the ongoing Prohibition. Word of a grand conspiracy is afoot.Newt is on a mission to heal this divide and expose the true terror behind what's been happening in America. He knows the villainous Grindelwald is on the loose, that it was he who leaked the existence of magic to the American muggles, sparking the anti-magic Klan movement. With the humans distracted, Grindelwald wreaked magical havoc on the stock market, leaving the muggles frightened and subservient. Then he teleported to the Midwest, infecting the soil with his dark magic until it blew into choking clouds of dust.Newt has traveled to America as he has learned of Grindelwald's third and most ambitious plan yet. A plan to help the fledgling Nazi party through their fascination with the occult. Though he's uncertain if he's up to the task, Newt has brought with him a suitcase filled with magical creatures in hopes that they can help him stop Grindelwald. He finds a small group of rebel magic-users who he hopes will stop this villainous plan before it's too late.No.No, wait.I'm sorry, none of that happened."Fantastic Beasts" is a completely squandered opportunity. Despite being a period piece, it has no sense of history and uses the time period as little more than an opportunity to let its characters wear period clothes. The film takes pains to tell you it's taking place during the mid-1920s - before the Depression - and though the twenties are still "roaring," everything looks drab and dull as if the Depression had, in fact, happened. This decision has long-reaching consequences as it prevents the film from being historical fiction.There is an Ellis Island scene, but again, nothing is done with it. Newt breezes through the checkpoints with virtually no incident. The film also made clear that Newt wasn't an immigrant, but someone who's simply visiting, further preventing this scene from being used to its fullest potential.There is an anti-magic movement in the film, but there's no reason for it to exist. The "roaring twenties" were a time of carefree excess, a time where the U.S. economy was booming after World War I. There's no crisis known to the humans that justifies such a movement taking place, as the Depression, the Dust Bowl, or even the rise of the Nazi party could have. Grindelwald is in this film, too, but isn't even revealed until the very end of the film. His nebulous presence is used in place of any real-life historical events, and is thus much harder to understand. Having seen the trailer for the sequel, it's clear this was done merely to keep this going as a series, which was to the complete detriment of this first installment.In short, this is what happens when a British person tries to understand American history or American culture. Just like John Oliver has before, J.K. Rowling failed.I'd have less of an issue with these decisions if the film had something much more interesting waiting on the other side. Unfortunately, there isn't. The entire film is very drab, dull, and slow-paced. The characters with the single exception of Jacob Kowalski (played by Don Fogler) remind me of the Jedi from "The Phantom Menace" - they act without passion and act a little too secretive, concealing their motivations from the audience. Only Kowalski's story is relatable as the "everyman," but even then it's uncomfortable watching him be manipulated by the female love interest pretending to like him.The result was quite possibly the most boring film I've ever seen. Longest two hours I've spent in a theater. What a waste.
Honestly, I was looking really forward to watching this movie. But in the end it was just very bad.The acting is bad.The monsters were just ugly as sin.I have never read the book but I just think Ezra Millers character was just bullied through out the movie and boy he was a miscast. I can't believe this guy is the new Flash.I have really enjoyed Harry Potter and his books but not this movie.The only good thing to be coming out of it is special effects and the fact that Johnny Depp was involved. Other then that. Don't waste you time.