Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

2016 wizard movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: An immigrant comes to New York City and lets some of his beasts loose to wreak havoc.

For a while, this had the same kind of novelty as that first Harry Potter movie where you feel like you're seeing all this movie magic in a movie about magic for the first time. Here, that magical Harry Potter world is transplanted to the Big Apple circa mid-20s. The city looks gorgeous and realistic, and the special effects are top-notch as the wizard shit blends perfectly with it.

The problems in this have more to do with storytelling. There's far too much going on in this convoluted tale with its assortment of characters, some you don't really care all that much about. For me, I had trouble caring about the main characters. The villain is so obvious that he winds up being boring, and Eddie Redmayne, though there's something charming about him--likely just his "Englishness"--he really spends the entire movie sharing slight variations of the same facial expression. Katherine Waterston fails to become engaging, and although there are some moments between Redmayne and the aspiring Muggle baker played by Dan Fogler, those scenes just aren't fun or funny enough.

Not much about this is much fun after that novelty wears off. The fantastic beasts are pretty goofy, you get tired of the meandering plot, and the movie seems to have a hard time deciding if it wants to be whimsical or dark, ending up in an unsatisfying place in between the two.

There were some underlying themes touched upon that recalled events in our current political climate. I kind of wish those would have been addressed more overtly.

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