Release Date: November 18, 2016
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Gemma Chan, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Ron Perlman, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Carmen Ejojo, Christine Marzano, Lucie Pohl, Chloe de Burgh, Jenn Murray, Ronan Raftery, Jorge Leon Martinez, Kamil Lemieszewski, Lobna Futers, Kevin Guthrie, Flor Ferraco, Karl Farrer, Sean Cronin, Anthony J Sacco, Lasco Atkins, Sam Redford, Akin Gazi, Elizabeth Moynihan, Kirsty Grace
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 133 minutes
Production Company: Heyday Films, Warner Bros.
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Country: UK, USA
Budget: $180,000,000 (estimated)
The Harry Potter series had its time to shine several years ago, making a big splash across the world among all age groups. It was a luxurious world of magic and mystery conjured up by the magnificent mind of J.K. Rowling. A whole new world was created, and in some fashion world building has no end. The amount of potential to it is limitless, and that’s the case here with Fantastic Beasts taking place seventy years before the main story. I’ve seen all of the Harry Potter films, and I’m neither a fan or a naysayer. They serve their purpose just fine for their targeted audience in my opinion, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is more of the same. A unique group of characters come together for the greater good in the name of magic.
The old saying goes, ”"If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Directing a total of four out of the eight Harry Potter films, director David Yates (Tarzan) follows suit. Whether this was done on purpose or accident, remembering the earlier films in the series, each felt slightly different. Yates has his own style, keeping the tone consistent with what came before. The life he brought to the screen was no different here.
What’s brought to life are the creatures suggested in the marketing. Some creatures take the appearance of a platypus, which most are familiar with. This tool was used to capture the audience’s attention, not veering off from a reality we’re used to; while other creatures appear to be from a completely different dimension. It’s a fun game to compare them as you’re watching the film, all while embracing the world and characters in front of you to make for a great experience. Cast members going through different dimensions and using their magic is a sight to see. It was nice to see how the rulers and government handled paranormal behavior in the world. There’s a completely different world around every corner, but it’s hidden from the main public. This was another great piece of writing until the conclusion of it all.
The cast in these films are always top notch. Academy Award winning actor Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), as Newt, came across as one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Everything about him seemed pleasant, and seeing his journey to America made for an interesting premise. There are countless other famous actors/actresses, and they do fine as well within their roles. Like Graves (Collin Farrell), he always plays an imposing figure in the best of ways and brings a certain balance towards his opposing sides.
While there is balance there, it’s not as strong in the flow of the film. While Newt is running around trying to capture lost Beasts (a portion that took up too much time even if it is in the title), the story tapers off into territories that aren’t interesting. It does this a few times and may cause you to snore a little during the run time, but it doesn’t stay astray for too long and gets back on track.
With today’s technology, anything can pretty much be done as far as effects. There’s nothing different here, as all the effects are as they should be. In particular, there is the way magicians teleport from one location to another. The imagery and sound effects used makes you smile, or least it did for me.
The climax of the film is what you’d expect it to be. Good vs. Evil setting up the next chapter for the next film. It’s fine, even with dark clouds flying all over the screen as the villain instead of something tangible. The film cops out, saving everyone from destruction in the name of magic; which is a cheat in a way, but still enjoyable. If the film didn’t have seven different endings, it would’ve been received even better. Overall, these films are enjoyable, but not my cup of tea. If you enjoyed the previous films, you’ll enjoy this one too.