Rhetorical Ink Reviews: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!
**NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW**
My Top 10 Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
10. Queenie’s character had a Luna Lovegood quality to her that I actually really liked. She seemed aloof but was actually daring, smart, and sweet. I love how Jacob is practically the Mario to her Princess Peach…except she’s the one saving him most of the time. Not that Jacob isn’t brave, though…speaking of which:
9. Jacob. Just…Jacob. I fell in love with his character. He was EXACTLY what this film needed for those watching that haven’t the foggiest about the Harry Potter universe. I love the idea of a “No-Maj” or “Muggle” being introduced to the Wizarding World alongside the audience and Dan Fogler’s performance was just so darn charming and genuine. He goes from the bumbling Kowalski to the brave and endearing Jacob. I just loved his character…honestly, though, his story had a full circle arc, so if we don’t see him in the future films should they occur, I’d be okay with that.
As long as he and Queenie get to be together, dang it.
8. I love that this movie just jumps right into the wizarding community. It knows that most of its audience have seen Harry Potter and know what Muggles are, how wands and spells work, and about elves and the systematic set up of it all. However, since this is taking place in America, there are some changes to what we already know and the movie does it all in a very easy to follow manner. Which is good; a lot of my audience were small kids, including a cousin of my own who had never seen any of the Harry Potter franchises, and some older women who seemed charmed by the film.
7. The Fantastic Beasts Themselves. Yes, they were quite obviously CGI….but to be fair, their designs were so out of this world, they were going to stick out. I will easily let the CGI animals pass on their sheer creativity alone. Going along with the movie, I wanted Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (roll credits) to be in my lap where I could read about the creatures as I watched.
I read one review that seemed to hate that the cast were constantly flitting around looking for these creatures, but I didn’t really think their journey was all that repetitive. The humorous scenes with Jacob and Newt were well done and the jewelry scene with the Niffler was one of my favorites. “They went that way.”
6. The moment we enter Newt’s “home” or “habitat for fantastic beasts,” I was sold on Eddy Redmayne as Newt Scamander. His whole personality is quirky, sincere, and with a tinge of sadness beneath the surface. He seems bubbly, but we get that idea that he’s had to deal with a lot. It made for a complex character that wasn’t just a Willy Wonka for Wizardry. The passion and love he shows for his beasts was touching; It also made me wish to see more of him in other films. He’s just trying to look after his fantastic beasts and teach others about him….can we see him teach a baby Hagrid?
ALSO, just a note, but my cousin afterwards commented on how Redmayne’s performance was much like that of Doctor Who in this. I am totally on board with him playing Doctor Who at some point, or perhaps a younger version of the First Doctor if they ever decide to film it. Just saying.
5. Speaking of call backs, we get a few in the film; Dumbledore is mentioned, Hogwarts, of course. And Grindelwald more on him later... even a Lestrange! I’m assuming it’s Bellatrix’s ancestor. It was sad to hear him talk about how Ms. Lestrange, who we’re made to understand once shared a relationship with Newt “has changed.” It definitely had the Lilly/Snape vibe, except that Newt is Lilly in this case. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the callbacks were definitely fun.
4. The Duels and Stakes. This movie reminds me of The Hobbit in the sense that the stakes “feel” a little less in this film because it’s set before Harry Potter. This movie is also a little slower paced at parts, which I didn’t mind because it meant we could settle into this world we’ve been introduced too, but also it could have also moved a little more briskly. Unlike the Hobbit, though, this film actually improves upon the battle sequences; the wand fights were some of the best I’ve seen in all the Harry Potter films; everything just looked natural.
3. Ezra Miller played the troubled Credence, whose character was so intriguing and turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the film. There’s such a complicated, painful backstory for his character and the lengths that three characters go to try and reach him is so telling. It becomes a lesson in prejudice and anger and hatred and the effects it has on not only the victim, but those involved, and even those with no connections feeling ramifications. A pretty powerful message in all reality. The intrigue and mystery surrounding that character and his backstory….very well done!
2. And now onto my favorite and least favorite part of the film: Collin Ferrel and Grindelwald.
Now, I absolutely adored Collin Ferrel’s performance as Graves in this. The complex, vague nature of his character, or at least what he was playing. I wanted him to, by the end of the film, leave New York and meet up with Grindelwald in Britain….I thought it would go that way, but alas, it did not.
Now, I wasn’t bothered by an Older Grindelwald making a cameo; not at all. He’s a big player in this story timeframe. I don’t even mind that Johnny Depp is in the role; My main issue was that we’ve spent a whole movie showing off Collin Ferrel and developing his character…only for it to be revealed that it was Grindelwald and have a different actor take his place? That just seemed like a cop out and a way to rush that you’ve been wanting to make a sequel already and wanted a “baddie” reveal before this film ended.
It just aggravated me and makes me so sad, because Colin Ferrell OWNED this role. Can he just come back in the future films, please? Have Grindelwald disguise as him again? I simply loved Colin Ferrell in this.
1. All in all, though, the ending with Grindelwald was the only part of the movie that bugged me. Everything else was, well, fantastic. If you love Harry Potter, you’re probably going to love this. Just don’t get attached to Collin Ferrell….
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) - David Yates
5 bullets on this film:
First of all, don’t watch this film thinking it will stop the crisis you’ve had since Harry Potter ended, because it’s set in the same universe and it has some similarities, but it has nothing to do with the movies we know and love. There are some little details that remind you of the Harry Potter films and that was so cute and it made me feel nostalgic.
The characters are awesome and it was amazing to see the american magical community, but many things were left unexplained (maybe because there will be other films) and I felt like many concepts were kind of forced into the movie.
Eddie Redmayne is great, but Ezra Miller and Dan Fogler made the entire movie. Honestly Johnny Depp was a terrible choice to play Grindelwald, I’m sorry, that was a huge turn off.
The special effects are not that good and some scenes were kind of awkward because you could really notice that everything is fake, even the scenery, so the magical vibe wasn’t really there.
I really loved the beasts, though. This may sound kind of silly but they were really cute and now I want my own briefcase full of magical animals.