Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – Film-a-Day 333

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fantastical adventure that allows for a wonderful escape from reality into the fluff filled world of magic. It excellent when it’s upbeat and comical, but is let down by wanting to be bigger and darker than it needs to be.

fantastic-beasts

The first in a series of five films to be released over the next ten or whatever years, Fantastic Beasts reintroduces the Potterverse (or HPU or Magicverse or JK’s Fantasy land whatever you want to call it) through the eyes of Newt Scamander, an ex-Hogwarts student who has travelled to America with a suitcase full of magical creatures.

In a classic comic caper twist, he accidentally swaps his case with a muggle No-Maj, leading to the release of several creatures and investigation from the Ministry of Magic The Magical Congress of the USA including the evil looking auror, Colin Farrell.

From here the film progresses on two different levels. The first, a magical comedy of Newt trying to capture the beasts and deal with the No-Maj is an amazing escape from the real world. The ‘beasts’ of the title are wonderfully designed CGI creatures each with their own quirks that allow for some great comic moments that although often obvious has a charming sort of nature to it. Yes the creatures are distractingly CGI and don’t quite look real and yes many of the jokes feel as if they appeared in films fifty years ago but it is genuinely engaging and has a few decent laughs as it captures the best of the early Harry Potter films and successfully creates a feeling of what is essentially a kids film for adults.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

On the other side of the coin though is the film’s second part, and the much darker one. This element following MACUSA focuses on the threat of Grindlewald and dark magic and is just a little drab in comparison to the fun of the other half. It just comes across as a bit forced and is not-very-subtlety full of moments that are clearly foreshadowing the rest of the series. Maybe when the series is done, this film will be looked back on as a trove of easter eggs and foreshadowing but at a time when the film stands alone it just felt a little out of place and almost arrogant, as if the studio/JK Rowling know that everyone is going to see all the other films. (I mean obviously everyone is but that’s beside the point).

On the whole, I did enjoy Fantastic Beasts as it is a fun way to escape from reality. I am however unsure how much I will like the rest of the series though as it will more than likely follow the route of the Harry Potter films and becoming increasingly darker and less magical.

7/10

BONUS SPOILER:

I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the ending is exactly the same as that of 21 Jump Street with the unmasking of Johnny Depp, something which I alone in a packed cinema found to be hilarious.

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Jacob Williams

Also known as J, Jake, Big J, Shakey Jake, Jacumba da Cucumba, Obi-wan Jakobi, Goggles and Curly. Currently undergoing a Film-a-Day challenge and working on a time travel feature film.

Jacob Williams

Also known as J, Jake, Big J, Shakey Jake, Jacumba da Cucumba, Obi-wan Jakobi, Goggles and Curly. Currently undergoing a Film-a-Day challenge and working on a time travel feature film.

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