This movie released when India was undergoing demonetisation. Not that it affected my finances in any way, but I just wasn’t in the mood. By the time I made my mind to go to the theatres, it was gone. Then began my wait for the Blu-ray and how I was saved because I decided not to go to the theatre to watch this. If you’re doubting my love for Harry Potter, then unfortunately I have to say that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have watched each and every movie in the theatre. When Severus Potter boarded the Hogwarts Express, it was hard to move on but I did move on. Then came The Cursed Child and then this. Unfortunately Fantastic Beasts needs a breakdown.
SCREENPLAY – The story is about Newt Scamander who comes into New York to acquire something that he needs and is pulled into this whirlpool of a mess which leads to the escape of the beasts from his suitcase. While searching for his beasts he comes to know of a sinister creature which is destroying New York and unfortunately gets wrongly accused for being the cause of all this mayhem.
When I first heard that J.K. Rowling is going to write the screenplay for this movie, I was fairly excited because she is my favourite writer and why wouldn’t she be? Her stories were a major part of my childhood and a guidebook for the life values I have now. Now there lies the major difference between the Harry Potter books and the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts. The Philosopher’s Stone was a stepping stone into the world of witchcraft and wizardry. Something that the world isn’t accustomed to. So the plot was kept fairly simple and the whole story revolved around Harry and his process of accepting this new world. After 6 years, Fantastic Beasts should have been such a stepping stone and a guiding hand to take us back into that world. Instead, it sets off at the pace of Order of the Phoenix(the newspaper montage). There are some unnecessary romantic sub-plots and the conversations don’t feel very natural and almost forgettable.
The actual book for Fantastic Beasts and where to find them didn’t have a story. It was a handbook for the different creatures in this world. This movie could have been a We Bought a Zoo kind of a movie, where we see Newt Scamander from the scratch and we follow him through the various continents, catching all these various creatures. Wouldn’t that have been great instead of this convoluted plot about killing witches and Grindelwald and stuff? I am fairly certain the next movie will be about Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s grand duel and this movie will be a forgettable inclusion to this made-up series. Also there are some blatant plot-holes that kept irritating the shit out of me. I’ll point it out later after the final verdict.
DIRECTION – What the hell happened to David Yates after Deathly Hallows Part 2?! Deathly Hallows is my second-favourite Harry Potter movie after Prisoner of Azkaban and since then he has done Tarzan(major bore fest) and then this! The movie starts off with a bang and we are introduced to Grindelwald and then the movie just slows down to a crawl. There are many action-heavy set-pieces but it just doesn’t have the cracking impact that the Harry Potter movies had. Order of the Phoenix made wand-duels look cool and this one was just quick cutting between the wizards and that felt really disorienting. The CGI was such a humongous let down. Prisoner of Azkaban came out in 2004 and the Hippogriff scenes look way better than the scenes where Scamander was interacting with the creatures.
Even though Rowling’s writing consisted of many adult themes, I felt that it wasn’t portrayed properly. There was a sense of impending doom but the comical tone was really off-putting. The sense of doom was also cut down due to the absence of a feeling of grit. So even though there were gratuitous sequences of murder and killing, I absolutely didn’t feel anything for the characters. The era was captured properly through the costume design and set design but the static camera and lack of interactive camera movement made the whole experience feel really bland.
ACTING – No real complaints in the acting department. Eddie Redmayne imbibed the character to the very core. He was Newt Scamander throughout the movie. I have a soft spot for Colin Farrell and even though his character wasn’t so menacing, he held his own pretty well. Ezra Miller shines as Credence Barebone. He didn’t even need to talk and his eyes spoke a million words. Katherine Waterston was pretty erratic. I couldn’t clearly point out what was her character like. Alison Sudol was charming, absolutely charming as Queenie. Dan Fogler served well as the comic relief.
Why the hell did they pull Jon Voight into all this? Leave him alone.
FINAL VERDICT – If you haven’t watched the movie yet and you are waiting to rent/buy it on Blu-ray then I’ll tell you to give it a pass. You can read after my final verdict about all you have to know for the sequels. If you want to have a snooze, then go on.
I was honestly so excited to hear the theme music. I really wanted this to be good. I’ll obviously be looking forward to the sequels since it is in the Harry Potter universe but this is another cheap cash grab off a well established story.
Thanks for reading.
If you are reading this, you have been warned. Now you are entering spoiler-y territories. Mind you.
The most important thing you have to know about the upcoming movies is that it is going to be Grindelwald. If you remember, then there was a huge duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald before Dumbledore became Headmaster of Hogwarts. So this is pretty much an introduction to Grindelwald. Now the funny thing is it was supposed to be an introduction to Grindelwald but by the time you finish the movie, you wouldn’t have learned anything about the character except that he is evil and stuff and he wants the Obscuro to rule(classic!). But as this movie was trying so hard to establish both Grindelwald and Scamander that it just fails at doing none of the two. Now unless the next movies are prequels too, we will be dealing with flashbacks of Grindelwald and Dumbledore. Flashbacks, like we didn’t have enough of that in the Half-Blood Prince. Just speculating though. I can be entirely wrong too.
One glaring plot-hole is the reveal of Graves being Grindelwald. First of all, I could see it from a mile away and it was so obvious. It was so evident from the hairstyle. Gosh! They should have done one of the two things. Either they shouldn’t have shown Grindelwald from the behind and shown his obvious hairstyle or they should have changed Colin Farrell’s hairstyle. They are two different actors. There was absolutely no need to keep the same hairstyle, was it?
Second of all, how long was Graves in the American Wizard Association thingy? Is it so easy to infiltrate it? No background check, no nothing? At least in the Goblet of Fire, Crouch was impersonating Mad-eye and had kept him captured. This was some Wizard Mission Impossible mask thing. Guess that is why they pulled in Jon Voight in. Probably in the next movie Jon Voight will pull his face off to show that it’s a multiverse hopping Ethan Hunt. That would be pretty awesome though.
Finally, the memory erasing rain. Some of the wizards were walking in it without their wand umbrellas. Such a blatant mistake!! I mean, it’s the conclusion of the movie and such a blatant mistake to top off this bore fest. Great.