Film Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Plot: Tourist needs to fix suitcase

The first thing you realise when you watch Fantastic Beasts is that it’s not Harry Potter which might seem obvious but in terms of tone and theme it is very  different. Fantastic Beasts stars adults in the place of Harry Potter’s kids which makes the film seem less for families and more geared towards an older audience. The plot as well is very dark in comparison to that of Potter, at certain points how dark certain events are does seem slightly jarring.

The villain was quite interesting though and far less generic than many blockbusters nowadays. I do think the film lost the strength of it’s convictions at the end and became less about what had actually happened during the film and more about the setup for a franchise. At times Fantastic Beasts does feel like it’s just trying to fit in with a load of other films than do anything original. The film has been marketed as a sort of stand-alone but there are whole swathes of conversation that if you had no knowledge of Potter would be very hard to fully understand.

I think Redmayne does do a very good job however in the central role, his character is very odd and not the obvious hero type which is refreshing in comparison to the often generic Potter figure in the related franchise. There are plenty of laughs throughout the film and some very good CGI with a classic adventure plot however my problem is this is all juxtaposed with a much darker plot going on simultaneously.

If the whole film was just around the central idea of Scamander trying to help these beasts then it would be a good but slightly tedious family film but as well as that there’s a secondary darker plot happening simultaneously as well as a third larger one beginning the series. It can often feel like there’s so many strings hanging around that it can be hard to know which one your meant to be thinking about and each part feels like it’s for a different audience. The beasts for the kids, the secondary plot for the casuals and the big outstretched one for the fans of the franchise. With so much happening it doesn’t feel focused in any way and it’s hard to really get a grip on any of the characters outside Scamander.

There is a lot to enjoy in the film in terms of set pieces and fun plot but there are some problems too.

(There’s a section early on where a muggle is apparated but I think they would have thrown up/passed out as many wizards do that first time and he’s not even used magic before so I reckon that’s a mistake, just thought I’d day)

Rating: 7/10

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