Woo, new film set in the Harry Potter universe. Heh, it feels a bit weird calling it the Harry Potter universe since the world is much bigger than just him, even if he is the boy who lived. Anyway, this film takes place in the 1920’s and is about Newt Scamander, author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.
I will have quite a few spoiler thoughts about the movie later on. It’s a Harry Potter universe film. There’s bound to be a lot of little hints and easter eggs everywhere.
After watching this movie, I would not mind en entire series on magical zoology. Not at all. There are fantastical beasts abound, and even though they are mostly CGI, it’s done really well. I got a sense of wonder whenever the magical creatures popped up on screen. All of them have their own behaviors and mannerisms.
Newt is a fun character, though out of the four main protagonists, I found him to be third on my list in terms of enjoyment. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy him, it just shows how well the other characters are written. I liked how he acts a lot. Newt’s awkward around humans, but when around his fantastic beasts, he opens up entirely.
My favorite character would have to be the no-maj, Jacob Kowalski. He’s the guy dragged into all of this, but never in a way that drags down the story. He elevates it, in fact. It’s really great to see a guy without magic and no idea of magic interact with a world full of wonders.
The other characters are the sisters Tina and Queenie. Tina would be the lowest-key of the characters. She has her moments, but in general, I didn’t find her as interesting. Queenie is just a ball of fun, though, and she has a lot of fun interactions with the various characters through the movie.
The part where they’re finding fantastical beasts is great and fun. But then there’s a second plot woven into the film, the plot that’s supposed to hook people into a larger series. This plot is dark, and I think it gets in the way at times.
The movie works well due to the fantastic beasts plot, and just manages to keep interest in the secondary, larger plot. Barely. I’ll say that part got tiring for me. I’ll go more into the secondary plot in the spoilers section. But come to the movie for the Harry Potter universe. Stay for the fantastic beasts. It’s charming and enjoyable.
Now for some spoilers on the seconday plot.
I mean, I say secondary plot but it’ll be more important overall to the world of Harry Potter rather than Newt finding his magical creatures. It just doesn’t have any immediate point in this movie.
So, the character of Graves, whom I didn’t talk much about. He looks super shady, and he’s doing shady things, but throughout the movie I wasn’t really sure of his motivation. There’s this thing called the obscurai, which is a dangerous magical creature, but they never really said anything about how to control it. And by all accounts, it’s not possible. Yet that’s what Graves wants to do.
It sort of feels like his entire thing was simply to have a big, awesome battle at the end. And then, bam, Graves is gone. I actually thought he was an interesting character before the reveal. Afterwards, its a bit more what and why is this happening? It really feels like just adding in for the sake of connecting this movie to the further ones.
Althought I’ll say that his movie is worth a second watch. I’m sure you’ll pick up on all sorts of new things with the information you have from the end of the movie. I’ll probably do it, though not in theaters.