Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them— what a movie. I’m completely in awe and in ecstasy from this movie. JK Rowling really came through with this movie and she delivered, more than that, she slayed.
I have been waiting for this movie for months and this was the most anticipated movie of the year for me. People have been predicting Fantastic Beasts will do well in the box office, which I’m not surprised. They had a great opening on Friday and things look great for the weekend box office numbers as well. I’ll start off this review with no spoilers, but then I’ll talk about everything.
GENERAL OVERVIEW (NO SPOILERS)
Fantastic Beasts if you don’t already know by now, takes place decades before Harry Potter even existed and in the 1920s. So it isn’t a surprise that Harry Potter fans might be a bit reluctant to watch this movie because our favourite characters, such as Harry, Ron, and Hermione, aren’t in it. There isn’t any familiar characters at all, except for maybe Dumbledore, but he isn’t even seen in the movie at all– only mentioned. All characters are new, and they all have new personalities that we haven’t seen before.
Not only that, but Fantastic Beasts takes place in the adult world, completely going out of the teenager-ish feel of Harry Potter. So you can say it is more mature, and JK Rowling also put many dark aspects to the movie.
However, I don’t think that should stop anyone, especially Potterheads from seeing this movie. Although there are no familiar characters, the world is similar and not only that, JK Rowling wrote the screenplay herself. So you can expect it to be brilliant. In fact, this movie should even be better than the Potter films because this screenplay was developed and meant for a movie. Not that the Potter films aren’t great, but they were adapted from book to movie; this screenplay is only for movie, so there aren’t any missing parts or pieces to the story.
The characters were great. I loved Newt Scamander, and all the other characters. Newt reminded me of Hagrid in so many ways and there were many references to the Harry Potter books. And this movie is great because if you haven’t seen or know anything about Harry Potter, this is a great one to start with. You don’t need any knowledge about Harry Potter, but you can start at square one, which is awesome.
I have to warn you though, this movie can get very dark in some scenes. There are many funny scenes to be sure, but many dark as well. This screenplay has a totally different feel than Harry Potter does; it’s more adult, more terrifying. The mood of the movie contrasts from the Potter films, but overall, I’d give this movie a really good score in my books.
DETAILED REVIEW (*SPOILERS WILL BE PRESENT*)
Alright, now for the detailed review of the story. Truthfully, I have no idea where to begin. There were so many events happening, so many unanswered questions and comments, it truly was an amazing first film.
I guess I will start with…
Personally, I thought the plot was amazing. It went smoothly and was very well-paced out; there weren’t any choppy parts of awkward parts to the movie and everything seemed almost perfect.
I have to give JK Rowling a little cheer because for her first screenplay, it was extraordinary. The scenes all came in the right times and characters were to perfection. However, after reading and watching some reviews online, they opened my eyes to some flaws. They aren’t big, but worth mentioning.
First of all, there were some people talking about the predictability of the movie. Not the whole plot, but miniature scenes, such as the briefcases switching. I have to admit, that was pretty predictable. We all knew it was going to happen. However, it didn’t really bother me that much. I mean, it had to happen or else the plot wouldn’t have moved forward. JK Rowling maybe could have done the event in a different way, but the switching of briefcases was probably the easiest and most plausible out of all the options.
There were others also talking about how Newt’s beasts and the whole incident with the Obscurus was totally unrelated, and I can see their point. Newt’s beasts escaping didn’t really effect the whole Obscurus incident, but provide extra information on the situation. It just seemed that Newt was at the wrong place at the wrong time. If I remember correctly, the only reason he came to America was to set free one of his creatures in Arizona, which is totally unrelated to all the campaigns about stopping wizardy and magic that Mary Lu had done in front of the bank.
But I understand that JK Rowling probably didn’t want the movie to be the cliché, “I lost my beasts, now I need to capture them back before they destroy the whole world,” kind of thing. And I felt that the incident with the Obscurus actually added to the movie. I didn’t mind that they were totally unrelated because I know that JK Rowling probably has a plan for all of this.
My only complaint would probably be the scene where Tina dragged Newt to the American “Ministry of Magic” when she already knew that it wouldn’t be any use. I felt that it was a little pointless, but I understand it was probably to introduce Picquery and the council and all that stuff. Another scene that I though was kind of iffy was the ending, when the thunderbird showered the city with the potion to make all nomags– or muggles as we call them– to forget all about magic. It seemed a little too good to be true and a little too easy to fix the situation. But again, I understand. Other solutions would have probably taken longer and more complicated, so ending it this way was probably for the best.
The moment he was shown on the screen and he chatted briefly with his suitcase, I immediately loved his character. That was how fast I fell in love with the character of Newt Scamander. Throughout the movie, we see him very awkward like and unconfident, but that was what made him such an amazing character!
Especially the scene in the beginning when Mary Lou– the woman speaking against magic– spoke to him.
Are you a seeker? A seeker after truth?
I’m more of a chaser, really.”
– JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
That was such a great quidditch reference, I couldn’t help laughing out loud! And through the movie, we can see how much he cares about his creatures and that make him such a soft-heart, but good man. He reminded me so much of Hagrid, so it’s no wonder I instantly loved him. Plus he got expelled from Hogwarts, much to Dumbledore’s frustration, which I find really interesting. I really want to know what happened with him. Plus, there were also hints that he had a relationship with Leta LESTRANGE, which I find interesting as well. There seems to be a lot of history there and I can’t wait to see what it is.
And the actor Eddie Redmayne played a great Newt. I think he portrayed him perfectly and not to mention, it didn’t really hurt looking at his face for two hours. 😉
Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein
Tina was a very interesting character. In my opinion, her character wasn’t one that I particularly liked in the movie. It’s not that I hated her, but she just didn’t pop out as much. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because of the new environment and new characters. The British environment is already so natural, it just threw me off when she said “no-majs” and I was like “what?” with the same expression as Newt’s. Or maybe it was simply just because she was a new character. Hermione will always be my favourite character of Rowling’s, so Tina having a completely different character might have also thrown me off, which I know isn’t fair. But I feel like I will be able to warm up to her after awhile, after all she’s pretty decent character.
Newt wasn’t as much of a shocker to me, since I had already had some sense of his character, plus he was relatable in the sense that he was British. So he knew the same school as we did, said the same things, etc… Whereas, in America, Tina and Queenie and all the other wizards said nomags– which I thought they said nomads the first time I heard it– and Ilvermorny, which they said was the best wizarding school. However, I will have to contradict that fact.
But the scene where they were comparing schools was so funny:
Ilvermorny! It’s only the best wizard school in the whole world.
I think you’ll find the best wizarding school in the world is Hogwarts.
– JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
And now that I’ve said that, I’ll move onto…
Queenie’s character also didn’t click with me the first time I saw her, but I feel like that will change with time, as with Tina. I feel like she is a very good character though. She’s the flirtatious type, but has a very kind heart. She’s a legilimens, which is a very cool skill. She’s owns the personality of “the dumb blonde” kind of thing, but instead of letting it get her down, she uses it to her advantage, which I find quite admirable.
This is the featured nomag– I still can’t get used to that word– in the movie. And he’s actually pretty funny to watch. He’s very clueless when it comes to magic, as expected with all muggles, but it adds much comic relief to the movie when he spews out a comment about the wonders of magic.
I especially loved the scene with the Erumpet and him and Newt were trying to get her into the case. It was so funny watching Newt put on his mating dance and then when the Erumpet ended up chasing Jacob in the end. That scene was hilarious.
Jacob is a very interesting character and it was really sad to seem him having to obliviate himself at the end. He had a romantic interest towards Queenie, which was returned, and I loved how they managed to meet up in the end of the movie again. They were a really sweet couple, so I hope they stay together.
The last character I’ll be talking about is, of course, going to be the…
This is undoubtedly one of my favourite creatures out of Newt’s suitcase. He’s so cute, but so mischievous at the same time, it’s so funny. I especially loved the part when he was in the jewelry store and he was standing on the display with jewels around himself while Newt just casually passes by, but then gets caught.
And then, Newt just proceeds to break into the jewelry store to get the niffler and Jacob is just standing there, looking dumbfounded as Newt destroys the store chasing after the niffler. It was so ridiculously funny, especially at the end of the chase when the police come and both Jacob and Newt are covered in jewels and diamonds.
“The police cars pull up, and policeman run out, guns aimed at Newt and Jacob. Jacob, also covered in jewels, holds up his hands in surrender.
They went that way, Officer…”
– JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
That was such a hilarious scene, I was laughing so hard in the theatre, and so was everyone else.
The conflict was really interesting. The Obscurus, as mentioned before, was the main drive for conflict, along with the infamous Grindelwald, who was the Voldemort in the 1920s. The theory of the Obscurus was really unique, but I really liked it. Basically, the Obscurus was formed when wizards suppress their power. Their suppress power forms into this dark evil and explodes uncontrollably, having the potential to kill.
This Obscurus kills the son of the Mayor and Mary Lou. The one with the Obscurus wasn’t revealed until the end and I wasn’t really that surprised to find it to be Credence. He seemed pretty suspicious since the beginning and with Graves checking on him in dark alleys, it was getting really creepy, almost horror movie like. I suspected that Credence would have a big role in all of this, but that didn’t simmer down my excitement when the walls just one by one burst, and Credence was revealed at the end.
The conflict between the Magic Council and Newt and co. was also intense. And the chamber for executions was at the same time interesting, yet horrifying. I loved how they explored executions, not that I want anyone to die, but I loved how they showed how they worked. Pulling out your best memory and then putting it into this death potion to lure you into death was so creepy. And what was worse, the executioners were smiling all throughout it! I knew Tina wouldn’t have died, but the horror of the water just rising up and almost caging her was so intense and full of suspense. And then Newt taking out his little Bowtruckle– oh, I loved the Bowtruckle– to save them was epic. I want a Bowtruckle now.
I don’t think I have anything else left to mention, so now comes the overall rating. I give this movie a:
Four and a half stars! This really was a masterpiece to behold and I can foresee that Fantastic Beasts will be one of my favourite series. It was nearly perfect and I loved every moment of it. Whether or not you are a Harry Potter fan or not, I’d definitely recommend anyone to watch this.
On a side note, there are many predictions about the characters and what’s going to happen in Fantastic Beasts and all of the theories are blowing my mind. Some are saying Fantastic Beasts might die into the death of Ariana Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s sister, and the rise of Grindelwald. I think it’s an understatement to say I’m excited!
What do you think of Fantastic Beasts? Have you seen it yet? What are your opinions of what’s going to happen? Tell me in the comments below! Thanks for reading!