Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol
Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them filled me with a wild eyed childish wonder that I wasn’t quite expecting it to. It reminds of the first few Harry Potter films before they got overly dark and broody, only I liked this one even better.
Those close to me would have likely heard my vocality on adaptations and medium many times, but to everyone else; a story is always going to be best told when it is told in the medium it was written for. This is why the Harry Potter books are revered as better than the movies that followed. The practice of cramming a story meant to be read over days into a two hour time slot isn’t practical, and hurts the quality of the overall product. To be fair, the Harry Potter films did make quite a few changes in order to fit the medium better (I recommend the series “What’s the Difference?” by Cinefix on Youtube for some examples), but I see them as merely half measures. Fantastic beasts gives us an entirely new story written for film and it flows much much more naturally and pleasingly, in my humble opinion. HP is notorious for its die hard fans, so I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I truly enjoyed Fantastic Beasts more, and think it is a better story for the film medium. It isn’t perfect, some story beats are a tad predictable, but my opinion stands nonetheless.
Anyway, with that rant out of the way; Fantastic Beasts was really fun. Lighthearted funny moments spread all the way through, shared with memorable and really likeable characters. It also very pleasingly allows us to slowly explore the wizarding world of New York, in addition to being somewhat of a period piece, being set in prohibition. The creature designs are really terrific and I liked their implementation. My biggest critique of the film lies in the visual effects, unfortunately. The film relies on CGI very heavily, and a lot of it is simply quite unconvincing. The worst was this goblin acting as entertainment in an underground bar, which I didn’t believe for a second. Golem was animated in 2002, CGI is better than this now. I would plead to the producers to up the animation budget for the sequels, or employ more practical effects. Preferably both.