Fantastic Beasts and where to find them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a crowded incoherent story that has risen to success only through fans’ desperation for anything potter.
The first in the new five-part series, which takes place in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, directed by Harry Potter alum David Yates and written by Rowling herself, in her screen writing debut, was released Nov 18, 2016. The movie had high hopes riding on it, despite the fact that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play that came out this summer, was a flop.
Fans argued that since Fantastic Beasts would be written by Rowling herself, rather than a collaboration with two other writers like the summer play, the franchise would return to its former esteem. This was not the case, the movie has so many problems it’s hard to focus on just a few. It’s ability to hide these flaws in pretty directing, cute magical creatures, a few funny scenes, and some darker and more mature plot points might be able to mask the flaws…for a while.
The biggest problem that plagued this movie is that the world does not make sense. Fantastic Beasts and where to find them is fill of plot contrivances that allow a story to unfold conveniently. There are two main conflicts in this movie. Newt Scamander, a British wizard, has landed in America and after a few unfortunate events accidentally has his magical creatures set free among New York. Newt cares deeply about his creatures and getting them back, this conflict makes sense. The other problem involves a government issue that is shown throughout the movie and conveniently intertwines with Newt’s problem. This allows both conflicts to come together nicely. When you stop and think about it though, Newt does not care about politics. He does not care about America. He just wants his creatures back.
Scamander is not the right protagonist for this story. When your main character does not care neither do you as the audience. Beyond the main character you have a problem with the government itself. MACUSA, an abbreviation for the Magical Congress of the United States, makes absolutely no sense and comes off as down-right immoral.
In fact, when the antagonist has a speech about MACUSA and their flaws…
I actually find myself agreeing with him. His methods may be wrong but his ideas, at least so far, are not. Trial without a jury, illegal search and seizure of one’s personal property, and even murder are all acceptable ways of conducting themselves.
It is true that this is only the first movie, and with more to come there are ways that they could explain in more detail how the world works, but enough should be laid out in the first movie where people do not feel as though the world is incoherent.
The acting was mediocre and the cast never really blended together. The set, something I thought was sure to be fantastic, looked like a set. The action dragged on, the movie’s title was misleading, the creatures were shallow, and the characters were rarely interesting.