Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
There is something weirdly cool about this movie. It connects to me deeply for some reasons I can't fully describe. Some of its weak points work for me somehow and the fortes bewitches and panders to me even more. As a once whole-heartedly devoted Harry Potter fan I consider myself liking the film more than a lot of the pro critics do, who together produce a just decent 7X% rating on RT, citing reasons ranging from the film being banal and lacking characterization. I on the other hand see this film from other perspectives. I think its awesome!
First and foremost, the most striking feature about this movie is its ingenious story. We know of course this time the producers didn't have an exact source material to adapt from, for we are presently far from the "straight adaptation from an HP book" territory we were back then. It all boiled down to how JK was going to react to the situation and concoct a brand new script that has to offer something different from the HP stuff we know but also remaining inextricable with the HP universe. It opens up to a lot of space for creation, but still there is a possibility it could flop. I believe that she pulled it off excellently. There is just that old style of JK's all over the place, from its characters, its grandiose and imaginative set pieces, to its extensive coverage of detailed elements that exists in the fictional wizarding world. Seeing this film is so much fun because it kinda captures the buoyant zest we saw from the earlier Harry Potter books, except that this time we don't get to know about the stuff happening in the movie beforehand by reading the novel. This fantasy world. It just never gets boring.
As for the other good facets, I like Eddie Redmayne very much as his performance as a nerdy eccentric protagonist with copious lore of magical beasts is pretty on point. The others are solid, and I enjoy all the characters in this movie, even that Muggle baker Jacob who does an eye popping expression for like the first half of the movie. The ending scene with him is poignant as well, a melancholy moment that capitalizes on the interesting concepts of obliviation that is unique to this backdrop. David Yates warm welcome to the franchise bolsters JK's confident writing with his signature dark take and brilliantly shot and edited action sequences, reminding the audience of the ever so memorable late installments in the franchise which he directed. And at last for the CGI, which is great, and that's all I'm gonna say because we all stepped into the theatre expecting modern technology to hold up to the film's ambitions if they decided to greenlight it.
One thing that bogs down the movie is its pacing, which is a bit off throughout the runtime. This is my main concern and that really depends on the overall style the director wanted to employ, so I can't say it's really that big of a matter but it did affect my viewing experience. The first act can drag and bore you. But all in all this is such a cool movie that strikes me right in the heart. It didn't actually bring up that much of a nostalgia in me to my surprise, interesting considering how much of an HP fan I was back like 7 years ago. Perhaps the reason behind this is that the HP world doesn't feel like waning to an extent other franchises are. It remains quite active over the years, holds up well, and with future installments imminent and awaiting I can't see this beloved fictional universe stopping at any point in the future, well as long as JK Rowling continues to live for certain. For now, allow me to toast the success of HP for the years to come.