Movie Review – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.

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I solemnly swear that this movie is just good enough. 

IT’S FINALLY HERE! THE NEXT MOVIE IN THE HARRY POTTER UNIVERSE! WE CAN SATISFY OUR HUNGER AFTER A DREADFUL WAIT OF…

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5 years.

Oh. That wasn’t that bad at all, considering this….

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Had us feeling like

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My point is, we barely had time to recover from this ringer of a movie

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Until we were given another one.

Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing time to be a moviegoer. A new Star Wars is coming out every year, Marvel releases a new movie every other day…

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And now we can look forward to 5 new Wizarding World movies.

From now on, I will use the term “Wizarding World” to describe these films, as they aren’t “Harry Potter” movies in any way, shape or form. So, if you have a vague expectation for them to be similar…

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Fantastic Beasts is a starter film for a franchise, and there’s no hiding it. It hits all the notes of a kickoff film, from a predictable plot, to a budding and completely predictable romance, to a tragic death, and a less-than-mortifying villain.

The promise of more Wizarding World stories to come was undoubtedly the most exciting part of this film.

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As I watched it, I continuously was asking myself when the real thrills, the real tension would begin. The movie gets off to a late start, with a terribly boring first act, and picks up the pace in the second and third. There is a noticeable shift in the pacing of the film after about the 45-minute mark. The tension and climax come far too late and leave way too early.

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Yet, they are just satisfying enough for me to qualify is as a “good”, and nonetheless entertaining film. The special effects, heartfelt story, and  performances of its supporting cast lift it above mediocrity.

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I have to say, though, that throwing in special effects sequences for the explicit purpose of wow-ing and audience pays off, if done right.

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(I’ll leave the one from Fantastic Beasts out as to not give any spoilers).

However cheap of a marketing ploy these sequences may be, I can appreciate the magic (wink wink) of a good CGI-gasm. Being a film about Fantastical Beasts, the movie has more than enough CGI-monsters to spare.

Yet, it can’t seem to focus on which story is more important. Much of the awkward pacing in the film, especially in the first act, comes from the fact that David Yates can’t seem to choose which plot takes precedence over the other. He directed the best of the Harry Potter movies, which were much more concentrated.

And yes, the last 4 Harry Potter films are BY FAR the best, and I will duel anyone who thinks otherwise.

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Also, not to shatter anyone’s dreams, but…

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Eddie Redmayne’s performance is utterly underwhelming.

He hits his notes when he needs to, but as a whole, he’s kind of boring to watch in this film.

BUT

The film is definitely filled with high notes. Its attention to detail in the writing, production design, and characters that populate 1920’s  New York are too good to ignore. The actors all have terrific chemistry, and there is enough fun throughout to keep you entertained.

See it.

The film is a tentpole starter, and the franchise will go in one of two directions. It will either produce mediocre films filled with forgettable characters,

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(I love you Colin, but your character was lame as hell!)

Or continue to rise and fix the flaws of the first. Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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