Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them (2016) Review

Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them (2016)

Directed by David Yates

Based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Colin Farrell

Music by James Newton Howard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

My Opinion:

I always say this then meander on for ages but I really mean it this time: I’ll keep this review very short. Why? Because I don’t have much to say. Sadly, I found this film to be a bit of a bore. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t actively like it, either, which is actually worse than hating the f*^k out of a movie. At least the hateful ones stir up some actual emotions! And the most-hated ones are fun to bitch about. There’s nothing worse than boring when it comes to entertainment & the arts. Have some balls! Make something worth watching/looking at/listening to/appreciating/hating the f*^k out of! Don’t waste my time.

I do like Harry Potter. I absolutely loved the books as I read them but they didn’t end up as all-time favorites of mine in the same way things like The Lord Of The Rings did. The movies were fine and I enjoy seeing books I like adapted for the screen but I didn’t exactly obsess over the movies & I’ve never re-watched any. Actually, I’ve not even watched the final film… Although the books were thoroughly enjoyable, I’m far from being an “obsessive Harry Potter fan” so bear in mind that I won’t automatically be worshipping this film like a fan would. I’ve not read Fantastic Beasts and went into this knowing very little other than that it was set in America 70ish years before the events of Harry Potter (right???).

Where do I start? First of all, I didn’t feel any connection to the characters & didn’t care what would happen to them. I’ve not seen Eddie Redmayne’s biggest “Oscar” performances but I’m sorry to say I’m not a fan based on his few films I’ve seen. As he’s the main character, it didn’t help that I find him & his haircut mildly annoying. Katherine Waterston, the second-biggest character, was fine but so looks like a cross between Jennifer Jason Leigh & that chick from ER (Maura Tierney – had to look her up) that I was constantly distracted by this. The woman playing her sister, Alison Sudol, had the potential to be hateful but definitely grew on me. Actually, her character and the “muggle” played by Dan Fogler ended up being the characters I liked & cared about the most (See? I’m not totally dismissive. I said something nice!). Ezra Miller & Samantha Morton, both great actors, were completely wasted in dull roles. Jon Voight was as Jon Voight-y as always & Colin Farrell was the boringly bland baddie I expected (I rarely like his performances). Oh! And then there’s Johnny Depp, of course. Is that a spoiler?? It’s an extremely small role clearly destined for big things in the sequels. He’s his usual “Look at me, I’m quirky!” self. I HATE that seeing him in movies just makes me cringe now. He used to be my favorite actor! What the hell happened??

I’m meandering! I’ll wrap this up. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is an overlong & overcomplicated film that feels like another cash-grab due to the fact that it’s going to be yet another damn series of movies. To be fair, I didn’t have this issue with Harry Potter as it was already a series of books where each individual book was as great as the overall story (although the final book being two movies gets on my nerves). I may have liked Fantastic Beasts more if it was just one movie with a proper conclusion & no “wait for the sequel!” cliffhangers. Knowing there are going to be four more films just exhausts me, to be honest. It’s highly unlikely I’ll bother with them (unless I get another free pass like I had for this one). I don’t know the Harry Potter world well enough to have noticed the connections that fans will have loved but I didn’t feel like there were many links at this point? I’m also confused as to who this film is actually aimed at. The characters are adults so kids won’t go for it (my 7-year-old didn’t really like it plus it was borderline too scary). I guess it’s for those who grew up on Harry Potter & are now in their late twenties or so? It just seems like a very small target audience and I can’t see it gaining any new fans who aren’t already Potter fans. I guess the beasts themselves were okay, though cheesy-looking (my favorite was this dude but he’s too similar to the much cooler Groot).

As for the story… Meh. I didn’t fully follow what was going on. But I did fall asleep at some point in the middle, which didn’t help. Yep – I fell asleep in the cinema! As did the other adult I was with. I never do that. I call that proof that Fantastic Beasts is a bit of a snoozefest. It’s not a bad film but I find J.K. Rowling’s tweets far more entertaining than the story in this.

My Rating: 6/10

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25 thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them (2016) Review

  1. I really rather liked it… but then I am 30, which is just like being in your late 20s, yes it is (YES IT IS), and though I’m not a total Potter nut, I suppose I am a fan.

    I actually thought it worked pretty well as a standalone adventure — I think if we didn’t know there were more to come and it didn’t have Johnny Depp in it, it wouldn’t feel like blatant setup for sequels. I guess that’s the world we’re in now, though: every big-budget Hollywood movie is a setup for its sequels.

    • Ah, yes – you’re just a kid! I always forget that. ; ) I can see why you’d like it more as a fan. I suppose it did work well enough on its own but, yeah, just knowing there are so many more to come makes me want to, I dunno, just go take a nap? Lol. It’s exhausting. I can’t commit to so many damn films unless they’re going to be AMAZING! And this wasn’t amazing. Just typing about this movie again is exhausting & making me want to take another nap… ; )

      • Ha, yeah, I can see that — it’s like they’re purposefully saying, “by the way, it’s going to be another 8 to 12 years before this story ends.” S’a long time to commit to.

  2. Excellent point about a ‘meh’ production being potentially worse than a bad one.
    I feel that way with some albums – If I love it, great. If it’s awful, well at least I felt something!

  3. Great review! I enjoyed this a little more than you did, but mainly for nostalgia reasons. I loooove Harry Potter. That said, the plot in this was too obvious, and felt written for younglings rather than the late 20s fans like me!
    The niffler was my favourite creature, it was when he was trying to keep still in the jewellery shop with those necklaces on his arm, so cute!
    – Allie

    • Thanks! : ) Yes, I know what you mean about the plot. It was just such an uneven tone… Kind of “written” for kids yet not actually feeling aimed at them. Or something. I don’t know – it just came across as being rather confused on its target audience. But I’m glad as a fan you did get some enjoyment out of it. The creatures were cute. : )

  4. I was just saying to someone yesterday that I’d rather watch a bad film than a boring one. I’ll never go see this because I already hated Harry Potter and I can’t stand Eddie Redmayne’s face. Great review pal, now wake the fuck up next time you’re in the cinema.

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  6. I’m a Harry Potter nutcase (more the books), and this film was shit. Ugh. I think we rated it the same. My brother-in law says he felt so awkward because of Redmayne’s obvious awkwardness, and that completely spoiled it for him

    • I’m actually glad to hear that – I was afraid that Potter fans would have a go at me! : ) I just found this… Boring. And Redmayne’s awkwardness made me feel a little awkward too! lol

  7. I’m actually rather new to the Harry Potter fandom, having finished most of the books and movies in about a month and half earlier this year (it was intense, ha ha!) 😉 I loved the books and movies, and I thought the series ended on such a perfect, bittersweet note. I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts, but I didn’t love it as much as Harry Potter. I’m also a little worried about if they can sustain the story over four more films. Ah well, I guess we shall see!

    • Holy crap – a month & a half?! That’s dedication!! Lol! Glad you enjoyed Beasts a little more than I did. You’ll have to let me know if the rest are worth watching! It’s sad that, at this point, I don’t think I’ll bother. Harry Potter is definitely better. : )

      • It was pretty intense, ha ha. 😉 I’ll definitely keep you posted on future Fantastic Beasts movies. My dream Harry Potter project would be a miniseries that covers Harry Potter’s parents and Snape growing up in Hogwarts, but I’m not sure that will ever happen.

  8. I liked it but I can totally understand how you came to feel about this film. It makes sense. And those two supporting characters did end up being the ones that I think most people will relate to. In the end, I felt the movie was ‘Sweet’. The bad guy was a bit underwhelming as you stated. Over all though, I did like it. But then I’ve got an outline of a story I’m working on for something that is a cross between HP Lovecraft and The Yellow Wallpaper and this time period works for me as the mental health treatment for the time made me feel a bit connected to the way orphans were treated and while the link is very thin, it did make me feel more connected to the film.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this one more than I did. : ) That makes sense, though, if you connected with the time period. I think that’ll be the thing that keeps some from liking it – I think it’s a time period a lot of younger people won’t connect with (like my daughter, who was too young for this & didn’t enjoy it). Agree it was “sweet”, though, and I did like those two supporting characters. : )

  9. The screenplay was horrible and the cartoonishly American characters were insulting. I love JK but she needs to let someone else write the screenplays. I hated it. And I hated the main character. But like you said the tragic romance of the two secondary characters was the best part, along with Groot lite and the tubby guy’s laugh. But that’s not enough to make a movie more than a waste of time.

    • Oh, yes! I’m glad I’m not alone in not thinking this film was very good. We do seem to have liked the same things but they really were the ONLY things I liked about this and I felt the need to point them out just to say something positive. But have you met anyone who’s in this?? If you know Redmayne, tell him to get a different haircut. It bothers me. : )

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