Friday, December 30, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016)

Plot: Set roughly 70 +/- years before the events of the Harry Potter films, Newt Scamander is a British wizard and magizoologistwho travels to America in hopes to find a new home for one of his magical beasts he has in his magical suitcase. But when one of his creatures escapes which leads to a non magical man (or No-Maj) named Jacob to accidentally release a lot of his other beasts, it's up to the two of them along with two witches named Tina and Quennie to find and recapture them.  

When I went to see this movie, I mostly expected to see a decent film that set in the Harry Potter world with a few interesting creatures and an enjoyable enough story, and for the most part that's exactly what I got. It's hardly one of the most intriguing things I seen from the world of Harry Potter, but for a decent flick that expands more of the Wizarding World I had a nice time.

The story itself was interesting enough. It's very basic story about looking for beasts, trying to capture them and try to prove that there's more to them than all the people in the Wizarding World think and has a comedic sidekick to help him. Newt is exactly what you expected him to be if you have seen any of the trailers, bubbling, strange but has a good heart and very knowledgeable in what he does in a way that's kind of similar to The Doctor in Doctor Who. His non-magical best friend Jacob while not one of the most interesting characters has a likeable charm all by himself. He's bumbling, he's curious and is amazed with the Magical World, but he has this innocence and charm that makes him chamring. In fact the most interesting part of the movie surprisingly was his romance with Tina's sister Quennie The concept between them is generic, but the chemistry between them is so cute that you want to see them get together despite their differences. Tina I hate to say was not the most interesting character in the film. I would not say she was bad, but I feel like I didn't get to know her as much as I did with Queenie, Newt or Jacob.

The beasts and the concept of The Wizarding World in America were the most interesting aspects of this film for me. There are quite a few parts of the film I thought were really imaginative and really cool to look at, and I like how in the very beginning of the film makes it clear how different life in the Wizarding World is in America. They have a different name for non-magical people, you need a permit for your wand if you're a foreigner, and apparently around this time in magical history there is a possibility of a war between magical people and non-magical people. I feel like there could have been more to that, but it was still pretty interesting to see how magic is perceived in America that I found myself wanting to know a little more. The graphics are also surprisingly pretty enjoyable. Yeah there's a couple of moments where you can tell that it's CGI, but like I said before the magical creatures themselves we're still interesting to look at and some of the other effects for whenever people are using magic were surprisingly very neeat to watch. There's even a scene where Queenie is making a strudel just from a wave of her wand in the way that is created was so good I surprisingly found myself saying "wow you know that was actually pretty cool watch." I did not expect to say anything like that with this release so this automatically gets points for that.

I do however have a couple of problems with this movie. First and foremost there are a few things that weren't explained particularly well. Most things are explained in a way that is clear to understand, but they're a couple of moments where it feels like they left out a few details. Like they're a couple of moments where I found myself wondering how much did JK Rowling put into her screenplay and how much did David Yates decide to put in from the original screenplay. I say this because with the last four Harry Potter films, David Yates had a knack for being vague on certain details there are actually important to the Harry Potter lore and the story, but where his decisions where mostly forgivable if not understandable in the last four Harry Potter films was that he was adapting from three considerably long books and he had to pick and choose to tell the bigger picture while still telling the story in a way that both readers and non-readers of the Harry Potter books can follow. So for the last Harry Potter films it was relatively forgivable how he would be vague in specific details such as Dumbledore's childhood or how Dumbledore came across the owner of the Elder Wand or why he had a shriveled black hand in Half-Blood Prince just to name a few examples. But here the things that he decides to be vague on where so vague that I found myself confused on what is happening. For example, there's a scene where newt and Tina are in trouble. They're sent to this mysterious room that Tina in particular is very scared of but they don't explain why. We witness these visuals that seem to imply that these people are trying to kill them, but we don't know how specifically and it wasn't until I was reading the synopsis for this film on Wikipedia that I fully understood that the people who captured them were trying to execute Newt and Tina. I was guessing that that's what was happening based on Tina's emotional reaction to the scene, but the problem is I was only thinking what was going on as opposed to being positive on what was happening. It's like that tentacle ability in Suicide Squad where there's little explanation to what the danger is and therefore I have no reason to connect to what is emotionally happening to the characters. There's also another scene during the very end where somehow one of the beasts are trying to solve a problem for the Wizarding community but it's never explained what the beasts is specifically doing until after spending several minutes showing the beast do it with no clear action apart from just flying all over the city. Finally there's two brief scenes that imply that Newt is looking for some lost girl or something or other that is briefly explained but never showed. You feel like you should be feeling sorry for him, but the explanation is not told clear enough. 

And that's my review for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It's sadly vague in certain parts of the story that might leave you confused in what is happening, but it otherwise is a nice magical adventure with creative creatures, new Harry Potter lore and likeable characters. It's not the greatest thing I've seen from the world of Harry Potter but I came in wanting to see a decent flick and that's exactly what I got. If you're a fan of Harry Potter, this is a nice movie to check out.

Rating: 70%

No comments:

Post a Comment