Harry Potter without all the likable characters and fun!
J.K. Rowling is back! This time writing about this one time an author, of a fictional book that appeared in a fictional series, was so incompetent he unleashed a bunch of magical creatures into New York. Oh and there’s also ghost demons that make dementors look like they belong in Mary Poppins.
And none of it makes much sense.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in New York in 1926. Instead of going the Force Awakens route, Fantastic Beasts actually does tell a new story with all new characters, but unfortunately it’s a giant mess.
The plot focuses on Newt Scamander as he arrives in New York to purchase a magical creature from a guy we never meet, and instead walks around with a broken suitcase and lets his creatures escape multiple times. He meets a “No-maj” (American word for muggle apparently) and decides to take him along in recapturing the creatures instead of obliviating him like you’re supposed to. There’s also some character named Tina that is so beyond useless that she has no redemptive story arc or personality to speak of.
Don’t worry, that’s not all the movie is about! There’s another plot that intersects the first one involving the Westboro Baptist Church, Jon Voight doing nothing, and Colin Farrel doing his best impression of a pedophile. Somehow this plot line is way more interesting and way more terrible at the same time.
The magical journey of discovering Hogwarts, learning magic, spells, and potions is a thing of the past. Instead you get to go on a safari hunt of magical creatures that are really just normal animals with some kind of unique quirk. Then get to hang out with the Magical Congress of the United States of America that apparently is run by a bunch of idiots (Ha! Good one Rowling) who don’t allow wizards and “No-maj” to marry (ooo clever) and also have some really f***ed up death chamber that they kill wizards in (death penalty is bad? Woah!).
The only character that you feel any connection to is Kowalski because he has a backstory and a goal that is relatable, and the only one in the story that has the wonder in their eyes that magic should be really fricken cool. Opposite of him you have Eddie Redmayne doing his best impression of Ryan Gosling from Drive. All the other characters are forgettable, except for maybe Queenie because of her, erm, unique “personality.”
Maybe they didn’t have any spells back in 1926 that didn’t shoot some grey goop out of your wand, or teleport you places because that’s the only thing resembling magic that happens. Don’t even get me started on that Deus Ex Machina ending with plotholes big enough to throw the entire series of Harry Potter books through.
Slow, boring, and nonsensical, this introduction to the new franchise doesn’t leave me excited to see what’s next.
If all of the characters died besides Kowalski I honestly don’t think I would care. I’d actually probably be excited for the next movie if that were to happen.
Overall Rating: 2/5 stars
Go watch something else.