PLEASE NOTE: THIS DISCUSSION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY SEEN FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
When the Boy Who Lived went off and… well, lived his life after destroying a certain Dark Lord, most fans thought that was it for the wizarding world of Harry Potter. But creator JK Rowling had a trick up the voluminous sleeves of her wizard robes, as it was unveiled that Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, a magical text book in Potter’s world, was somehow being turned into a movie. Five movies spanning 19 years, in fact!
Well, the first of those movies released this weekend past, and it was actually pretty good, as we followed magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his suitcase full of outlandish animals, who all get caught up in a great big American misadventure 70 years before little baby Harry Potter would ever make headlines in the magic community. But as we learned in the movie, while madcap capers of Newt and his partners in crime – disgraced auror Tina (Katherine Waterston), mindreader Goldie (Alison Sudol) and no-jaj aka muggle Jacob (Dan Fogler) – make for a fun diversion, there’s a deeper, darker story that it ties into: the introduction of Gellert Grindelwald.
And in a plot twist that would have M. Night Shyamalan wet himself in delight, it was revealed that Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), the Magical Congress of the USA’s Director of Magical Security was in fact none other Grindelwald himself… played by Johnny Depp! That polyjuice potion sure does get around! I do think this twist was a bit forced though, in that Grindelwald wasn’t really featured strongly enough in the narrative for it have the dramatic oomph it was meant to. Also, just how did Newt even know to cast the Revelio spell that unmasked Grindelwald?
Another issue I had with the movie is that it’s opening 15 minutes or so feels very flat at times. Jokes don’t land, character beats don’t quite work, and there’s a palpable sense of… well, magic. But once Newt opens that suitcase of his, I was grinning from ear to ear. This was incredibly charming writing of Rowling that once had me fall in love with this world. There was a palpable sense of awe and wonderment, and characters like Goldie and Jacob just nailed their chemistry. The film does have a surprisingly neat ending – too neat, actually – that feels unexpectedly final, as if this was a once-off story instead of only the first chapter in a much larger tale.
It’s already been confirmed that all the characters will be return, which makes their very final feeling fates – like that of the Obliviated Jacob – a little odd. There’s already been strong hints that the rest of this new tale will focus heavily on the relationship between Grindelwald and a young Albus Dumbledore, so it could be that these returning characters will only have diminished roles, and that their greater stories are actually done. Personally, I really hope not, as I genuinely enjoyed my time with them, and would love to have more.
Did you guys feel the same, or were you not that impressed with the movie? In short: Did you think this was fantastic or not?
Last Updated: November 28, 2016