Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
3D Movie Review Written By: Adolph Vega
Gimmicky is the best way to describe the 3D element of this movie. The visuals look sharp and vivid in 3D and are mostly used with the computer-generated beasts. The 3D gives depth and a sense of scope to the beasts and makes them appear more realistic. The movie really plays up the pop-out 3D, and several objects are thrown outward toward the audience. Sometimes the movie uses 3D with the screen aspect ratio and the characters or objects appear to exist out of the framing of the scene. The movie also uses 3D depth to showcase several different layers of the background. The 3D element actually helped me from falling asleep toward the last third of the movie. Overall I found the 3D element to increase my enjoyment of this movie and I can easily recommend it.
Final Verdict: Great 3D
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is the prequel to the popular “Harry Potter” franchise and is set nearly 70 years before the events of the first book / movie. This movie is actually based on the magical encyclopedia of beasts of the “Harry Potter” universe. The creator of the Harry Potter franchise J.K. Rowling actually wrote the screenplay for this movie. This film is a stand-alone prequel movie and the connections to the “Harry Potter” franchise are relatively minor, so you could watch it without viewing the other “Harry Potter” movies.
The film is set in New York City in the 1920’s and begins with a collection of newspapers flying toward the audience. This trope of flying newspapers with headlines explaining story elements is something rarely seen in modern movies. The flying newspaper trope is a plot device that was popular in the early 20th century that this movie is set in. This newspaper headline trope is a lazy way to start this movie. The biggest problem is that the newspapers that are shown are very busy with multiple bylines and subsections, and moving sections. The panning and zooming of the newspapers toward the screen also make it difficult to concentrate on a single story element. The newspapers also fly by at a quick pace and make it easy to miss key parts of the prologue. Usually when filmmakers use this flying newspaper trope only has one or two newspapers are shown with a single headline. This flying newspaper trope is a fine example of how not properly introduce to the characters and story to the audience. I really feel like this movie screws up and doesn’t have a true introduction to the characters and scenario. The movie totally throws the audience into the deep end and is totally forgets to even give the main character a first name until halfway into the movie. Considering this is supposed to be the first movie in a huge franchise it’s totally outrageous that they neglect to properly establish this movie. The writer is obviously more interested in world building for future films, than establishing this film with a suitable introduction. This movie feels like it’s missing 30 minutes from the beginning, and this aspect made it easy to become lost and apathetic to the characters and plot.
The plot revolves around Newt Scamander who travels to New York and has a mishap with his briefcase full of magical creatures. Some of the magical creatures escape and he must recover them within New York. During this time New York is being devastated by magical entities that are deliberately attacking humans and the city. Humans are not supposed to be aware of magic and these entities threaten the community of witches & wizards who live in New York. Jacob Kowalski is a human that accidently gets caught up with Newt because he has the identical style brief case. Tina Goldestein acts as a magical police officer and befriends Newt and Jacob. Queenie is the younger sister of Tina who has the ability to read minds and is part of this team who helps Newt. This group of characters is really amusing together and I enjoyed all of their performances. The cast of this movie continues to expand to an excessive level. The main characters are fine, but the huge supporting cast is way too big to care about.
On a technical level the special effects of this movie are well done. Sadly it seems like all the magical fantastic creatures are computer generated and seem too artificial. Many times I questioned the authenticity of performances the actors who were interacting with the computer-generated creatures. I wish that more of the special effects were done in a practical fashion. Some of the acting toward the digital creatures is not believable and doesn’t seem perfectly synced.
Where this movie succeeds is the charm and humor factor. The main characters (Newt, Jacob, Tina, Queenie) have great chemistry and are delightful to watch on screen. During many moments of this movie I was laughing out loud. The humor is silly and family friendly and it works well. One creature in particular called the Niffler I found extremely charming and funny. This mischievous creature loves shiny things and is a huge thief, and literally and figuratively steals each scene he is in.
Ultimately “ Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them” is an enjoyable movie with many flaws. I actually started to fall asleep toward the last third of the movie because I stopped caring about the overstuffed plot. This lack of caring is totally the fault of the movie for having such a huge cast and not having a proper introduction. This movie is a simple with likeable characters that is over done and falls short of being a truly magical experience.
Final Verdict: 6/10
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