It’s been 15 years since we first saw Harry Potter bringing magic to life on the big screen. The films are based on the beloved book series by J.K. Rowling. I was 8 years old at the time when the first film was released in 2001. As time went on, each film had a unique story filled with interesting characters, setting, a world you want to live as if it were real. Deathly Hallows was the last time the film/book ended with a satisfying conclusion, until now, we get to back to in time, but with a different cast of characters set in America.
Fun Fact: The film is based on a book by J.K. Rowling, released on the same year as Sorcerer’s Stone. Originally, Rowling decided to sale 80% of the book for charity purposes for poor people across the globe, proving that Rowling has a soft spot for the homeless because of her previous experiences of having financial difficulties.
In 2013, Warner Bros. confirmed that Rowling is writing a script for the film. If the film proves to be a critical & box office success, the studio & Rowling will turn this into a film series just like the previous Potter films. David Yates, director of the previous Potter films, returns to direct the picture. Newcomers have been added to the Harry Potter Series including Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Dan Folger, Ezra Miller & a few unknown actors. Now to talk about the strengths & weakness of the film.
The following review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read this non-spoiler article. My Final Verdict is based on two perspectives. Mine on the other hand, belongs in a fan’s perspective.
Strengths & Weaknesses Aspects
Strengths: The casting of the film is descent. Acting was brilliant, particularly Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Newt Scamander, a wizard/magical zookeeper with creatures inside his briefcase that contains a Zoo like world.
Besides Eddie, newcomers to the Potterverse including Dan Folger, Ron Perlman, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterson, Jon Voight, & Colin Farrell all did a legit job for their respective performances. Colin stated he wanted to be in this movie, because his kid is a fan of Harry Potter.
J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay. She also co-produced.
Veteran Potter director, David Yates did a great job directing the movie..
A famous A-List actor makes a cameo appearance. Can’t tell you who he/she is, you’re gonna have to see for yourself.
Lenny Kravitz’ real life daughter, Zoë makes a cameo appearance via photograph.
James Newton Howard orchestrated music for the film.
Visual Effects look spot on beautiful for the creatures. My favorite creature is Niffler The Platypus.
Niffler’s name and appearance could be a possible reference to Nibbler off of Futurama.
For those who are die hard fans of the Potterverse, Familiar things are mentioned.
The film Recreating 1920’s America, which took a lot of effort for set decorators constructing Set Pieces.
The story is set in the year 1926. 75 years before the events of The Sorcerer’s Stone.
A pivotal scene parallels the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin. In my opinion, it felt effective for a shocking moment.
Grindlewald reminded me of Donald Trump with an undercut. At least he didn’t tell a henchman to grab someone by the “meow meow.”
To avoid recycling plot elements from the Potter films, Fantastic Beasts is basically Ghostbusters with wizards putting creatures back to a suitcase.
Newt’s outfit reminded me of Spike Spiegel’s suit from Cowboy Bebop.
Tina’s sister is named, Queenie. American Horror Story featured a character who’s also named Queenie.
A Plot Twist reveals the bad guy’s true identity. I’m giving this pro Bonus Points for making me gasp in the theater.
In one scene, a pug was shown. Pugs are my favorite dog breed.
Wait a tic, creatures existing in our reality in secrecy. Does The Secret Life Of Pets ring any bells?
Weaknesses: There’s a mysterious villain who never had a chance to have this much screen time, background & motivation. Maybe they’re keeping it a mystery for future sequels. So I’ll give it a pass.
Like Umbridge, President Picquery is a caricature of Hillary Clinton. Imagine if Hillary as president used her power too far? Perhaps J.K. wrote Picquery during Hillary’s campaign. To quote Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. “She’s something of a c**t.
It can be jarring at times to hear Americans labeling non-magic people as no-maj, rather than muggle.
The Final Scene displays a Plot Hole involving a character’s memory loss. Moments Later, he/she somehow regains some. Don’t worry, it’s forgivable when a magical umbrella halts the memory wipe process.
The Final Verdict: B, FOR BLOODY BRILLIANT! (Potter Fans)
C, FOR CONFUSING! (Non-Fans)
Personally, I really enjoyed the film, much like the Harry Potter movies. I know it had some good stuff & flaws, but at the same time, the strengths of the series seems to forgive the fans of the franchise. Who knows if Fantastic Beasts is gonna be on the same level as the Potter films. We shall see when the sequels are complete.