Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a Harry Potter spin-off where Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander (who I really want to call Scaramanga) visiting New York in 1926 with a suitcase full of magical creatures.
Due to a mix up with a wannabe baker (Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler), some of the beasts escape, and Newt needs to get them back.

Also in New York at that point in time is a religious cult, some almost-Amish people, referred to as "The Second Salemers" - as you can probably tell from the name, they claim that witches and wizards exist, and they hunt them.
At the same time, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) have rules to prevent normal people (NoMaj-es) from finding out about the magical community. this division is under threat due to the dark wizard Grimwald and his followers, who are causing havoc that is difficult to cover up.

As such, it's rather critical that Newt finds the beasts, both to prevent muggles finding out about magic, and to prevent the creatures getting hurt by people who don't understand them.

The film has a lot of interconnecting plot-threads, all of which get a decent amount of pacing and development. It's quite full, yet never feels particularly rushed. Rowling did extremely well, thanks largely in part that this was written directly as a film rather than adapted from a book.

The acting is excellent, with both a lot of drama and some extremely funny lighter moments. The special effects are fairly good - as is often the case with CG, it's not convincing itself, but the rest of the film is so enjoyable that my suspension of disbelief was not broken.

The only real weak point, in my opinion, was the ending. It had hardly any foreshadowing, and was blatantly done to set up for the next film.

Overall, it was a very good film. The ending feels like a let-down, but largely because we don't have the other films yet. As a standalone film, the ending is poor, but everything else was hugely enjoyable.

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