By Mandela Wells
Harry Potter was and still is one of my favorite film franchises of all time. It’s also some of my favorite books ever to read. It was something I grew up on as a kid like most kids and as the years went on the movies got better and better all the way up to the climatic 8th film. I did not even realize the book had made a hint to another story, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,“ nor did I think this franchise would continue with this particular story. This prequel film is one that I did not have high expectations for, but I gave it a shot because of my love for Harry Potter. Unfortunately, the movie did not pack the same punch as the Potter films did.
70 years before the story of Harry Potter, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard with extensive knowledge of magic creatures, lands in in 1920’s New York with a special suitcase. Scamander’s suitcase is the home of several of the magic creatures he has come across during his travels. Due to a mishap, Scamander’s creatures escape out into the city, which sets in motion a chain of events that includes a muggle seeing into the wizarding world, him meeting a magic investigator, and him getting involved in a situation that could start war between wizards and muggles.
“Beasts” turned out to be a good film but not a great one. To his credit, director David Yates did manage to bring back some of the magical wonder of past Harry Potter films. It was even cool to see full fledged wizards from every character and to see the expansion of wizard related locations. I liked how some could do magic from their hands. However, the film still had its flaws.
The biggest came from the plot. The story itself was kinda lackluster. It seemed for about half the film it was going somewhere, but then the 2nd half started to wain. then, it had some plot elements, such as the main threat in the film and the confusing back and forth focus between Newt and muggle Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) that really brought it down. Certain backstories needed to be explained. not with all characters. For example, with Ezra Miller’s character, there nothing given about his backstory or anything to make us really actually care for why he’s a ridiculous momma’s boy. They should have put more time into explaining how he becomes what he becomes. His performance overall was terrible.
Eddie Redmayne is the only one I can think of to play this role of Scamander. He is so goofy and quirky here. He play a character who doesn’t seem to get rattled at all. Kids will definitely find him enjoyable in this role for years to come. As for adults, he probably won’t reach out to them to much. Katherine Waterston does a pretty neat job here, as she also makes her case as the only one who could play this role. She does come off as a bit of a stalker and shares some similarities to newt but she does bring a lot of heart to the role which is always endearing to an audience. Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler were a great comic relief for the film. Fogler gets the most laughs including his trademark laugh, which you hear about 3 times in the film. His facial expressions as well made for a really humorous character. Sudol was also really neat she kinda brought the grown up mature appeal to this film. Colin Farrell was as expected for a villain, but at times he did make you think he was walking along a gray area a bit.
There is a pretty interesting cameo in here from a certain someone. on a technical note the CGI was good, but it did almost push it at times. Overall, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is about a 3 ½ out of 5 star flick that could have been better.