I’m not gonna lie, the promotional material for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” never really hooked me. The premise had potential, yet I just wasn’t getting a feel for the story or characters, which lead to very little excitement when going into the theatre. But hey, I like Harry Potter, So I was still anticipating this Film to at least be enjoyable. Sadly, I don’t feel very different about the film after seeing it than I did when watching the trailers, as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is simply the latest in a long line of underwhelming 2016 Blockbusters.
The characters (For the most part) are flat and uninteresting, as is the general look of the film. The only character I was able to latch onto was Kowalski, who can offer some welcome comic relief every so often. There are two main storylines taking place, one that focuses on the Beasts and another that focuses on the film’s main antagonists, but they never feel connected, giving off this strange disjointed feel. There’s this weird unbalanced tone of trying to be very cutesy (particularly during all the “catch the beast!” shenanigans) while also throwing in some rather horrific scenes involving talks of child abuse and the main threat gruesomely taking out some minor characters. Speaking of which, I didn’t think the Big Dark Cloud baddie was explained very well, which left me feeling disinterested during the film’s big climax.
But for me, the one thing this movie should’ve had going for it was the Beasts themselves. Unfortunately, those fail to impress as well. Most of the time, the CGI used to create the Beasts looks rather poor and weightless (A scene that comes to mind in particular is when Kowalski hits a Goblin character in the face, which just looked terrible. I was waiting for a fierce Dragon to appear, or something that felt threatening but alas, we’re stuck with the cutesy Beasts that don’t offer much other than a bit of visual comedy. I hate comparing this movie to the other Harry Potter films, because when doing that, this film seems even worse. The Harry Potter franchise was filled with heroes that you loved or villains that you loved to hate. Here however, most everyone is kind of a jerk, which leaves the movie feeling mean spirited and not very enjoyable to watch. Not even the music is worth a mention. I can’t recall a single memorable theme featured here, aside from the very brief re-usage of the Harry Potter theme during the opening logos.
I don’t really feel disappointed with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but I am a little surprised at just how bad it turned out. All the right pieces were there; a competent director (who has experience with this fictional universe I might add. Four movies of experience.) J.K Rowling was helming the script, and we had a decent cast to work with too. But somehow, the film came out of the oven as a dull and messy effort. I understand that this is one of the biggest releases of the year, and that many fans will flock to defend it (just don’t Phantom Menace it you guys. And that’s coming from someone who actually kinda likes Phantom Menace.) For me however, this was a dud. Here’s hoping they get things figured out for the next…Four sequels?? What??