It’s been a few days since the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, one of the popular films of 2016 as it’s the return of J.K Rolling to the film world. I’ll try not to spoil much into the post, but I was extremely excited for the release last Friday, November 18th as I’ve been a major fan of Harry Potter since my childhood. Growing up and watching the Harry Potter films along, has been a pleasure and a part of me… so when Fantastic Beasts was announced, I couldn’t wait to see what was in store. Especially with Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander.
If you missed, there was a fan exhibition event the week before in Toronto with a pop up in Dundas Square for two days to promote the upcoming film. You can read more about my experience at the fan carpet and opening of the exhibition.
With a sold out screening on friday night, fans were eager for the film to begin and to emerge ourselves into the potterworld. Fantastic Beasts started shortly, and so it began. We were taken to a place decades earlier and following Newt on his journey to New York with his magical creatures. As Newt wanders around New York, he encounters a no-maj, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) while at the bank where his Niffler managed to escape out of the suitcase. Nifflers are attracted to shiny things, so you can imagine how the little creature ran loose around the bank like a kid in a candy store. In Newt’s attempt to catch the little guy, he becomes acquaintances with Jacob who gets caught in between. The story progresses as Newt is taken into by the disgraced magical investigator Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), and a few of his magical creatures escapes into New York from the suitcase exchange with Jacob.
Along the journey to recapture the magical creatures, they encounter Porpentina’s mind-reading flapper sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and a sketchy magical enforcer (Colin Farrell). While you may be focused on Newt’s journey to capture the creatures, there is another story happening alongside which features an orphan house with abused orphans (Ezra Miller). It’s sort of like watching two different movies at once since the two sides don’t inter-lap with each other until the very end of the film, and barely makes a tying reference.
The film incorporated heavy CGI as expected, but it felt like the graphics weren’t as fantastic as the Harry Potter films. It could have been from my view in the theatre, but the graphics looked cheap and unprofessional to a point. The only graphic I adored the most was Niffler, who’s a platypus hungry for all things gold and shiny. He was adorable! The other magical creatures weren’t life-like enough, and this was in 3D form.
I felt like the film was missing something critical, the element that makes you fall in love and believe how strong and impactful it was in the end. It was a fun and enjoyable film, don’t get me wrong.. but there was a lack of something magical. The cast had nice chemistry, it was a bit odd but also nice to watch them get along and become friends. It even got to the point at the end where I teared a bit. I’m not quite sure every element mixed together nicely, it was like a jigsaw puzzle trying to cram everything together but some pieces just didn’t fit properly. With this, I’m hoping the next few films to come will be smoother mix and also fill in some of the gaps left behind in this first film.
Overall my favourite from the film was the relationship between Queenie and Jacob, surprisingly. It turned out quite nicely and moving. Those two characters also were portrayed amazingly and brought a good time, where I wanted more of them.