Friday, December 2, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

This prequel to the Harry Potter films takes us back to J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. But it seems the only purpose of this movie was to build a franchise instead of telling a stand-alone story!

I enjoyed the Harry Potter books and read them all within the first week of their release dates. J.K. Rowling is a master storyteller - there's simply no other writer that could make you turn pages faster than Rowling! I, however, was not a fan of Harry's character! Of course I sympathized with him and wanted him to succeed, but I was irritated by his stubbornness and obnoxiousness - which were the cause of many of the problems, including the death of Sirius Black. Harry's characterization aside, the pacing and storytelling in the books were simply perfect.

These strengths did not completely transfer to the movie adaptations though! It was nice to see the characters come to life, but the films couldn't capture the magic of the books! The movies were filled with cheap-looking CGI, and were rushed to fit in 600-page books into two hours.

Revisiting that movie franchise is bitter-sweet. It is of course familiar, and hearing the Harry Potter theme at the beginning of the Fantastic Beasts was nostalgic. In addition to the music and aura, the ridiculous CGI has come back too!

Looks aside, characters are not fleshed out either. Newt is a neutral character (forgive the pun), but I prefer him to Harry since I didn't find Newt insufferable! Kowalski as the comic relief was hit or miss. Tina Goldstein - the disgraced auror - was perhaps the best developed character in the film. Also hats off to Colin Farrell's Percival Graves.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the movie fails in telling a complete story. It just tries to set the table for the next four sequels that are already planned! In case you desperately miss the wizarding world, then perhaps Fantastic Beasts is worth the price of admission. Otherwise, I'd wait for it to come to streaming services. I give it a 6.5/10.

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