Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Fantastic Beasts and there they are! A review.
The first not Harry Potter/ Harry Potter spin-off film based on a book has been seen by me and mine.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Set in 1926 New York, we are introduced to the American wizarding world through the character Newt Scamander. It seems he is travelling the world studying beasts (fantasy monsters) and writing a book about them. He is also on mission, that they want you to think has a shady vibe about it, to return a beasty to its home. This all seems pretty benign. Well now throw in an invisible monster destroying bits of New York and the investigation by the Magical Congress of the United States American (a.k.a. the Ministry of Magic), a group of anti-witch propaganda pushers, a newspaper magnate and his son running for office, a wizard version of Hatari, not Voldemort on the loose, a paltry romance story, American Muggle interaction (or Mo-Maj’s a word I hate the sound of) and you have the basic plot of Fantastic Beasts.
As I sit here typing this, I am still at odds with this movie. I didn’t hate it, but I hated parts of it. I didn’t love it, but I loved parts of it.
Blerg! If there is one part of history I dislike it is the Prohibition Era. I could care less about the “roaring” 20’s. I hate the vernacular they use, the clothes, the culture etc. etc. At least there was nobody speaking with that abysmal James Cageny gangster accent. Having this as the setting was hard for me to enjoy.
Then again I love me some monsters and there are enough monster cameos to make me happy. After the first 20 minutes, who wouldn’t want their own Niffler? That little critter was just totes adords. We get giant rhino hippos, prickly lions, quasi-dragons, giant dung beetles, plant people, naked bitey tentacle rats, etc. etc. There are enough critters here to make any monster lover happy.
Eddie Redmayne is hard for me to watch. I am not a big fan. Watching Jupiter Ascending ruined that guy for me. I was also not impressed with Katherine Waterson, Alison Sudol and Ezra Miller. They were all drek for me too. I didn’t care for their characters and when they were on screen I just wanted them to bail and get back to the monster stuff. Colin Farrell was disappointingly under used as well.
The wizarding world of the U.S. has a familiar feel to the Potter films, but in a major city setting. This leads to some fun visuals, but we were all expecting that already. This was good bit of alright, but there wasn’t time to explore it more with everything else going on in this movie. I guess this is soon to be 2-5 more films and will explore more countries and wizard stuff. Strange that such a small book is slated for 2-5 more films……..
The plot was predictable, but descent. We can all see the McGuffin a mile away. They spent time introducing pointless characters and some weak plot points that I thought could have better utilized with anything else. Still, it was a safe story that wouldn’t push normal people away, and that is the audience the studio needs. We nerds are already invested.
I went in expecting some wizard stuff, magic critters, some comedy hits (physical or dry) and a time period I dislike. I received just that.
I know the majority of people and critics are fawning all over this film right now. I am in the minority of it was just kind of alright.