It’s been a few days since I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I’m so glad I sat on this one for a bit because my initial thoughts weren’t the most positive. As the days drew on, however, I started to think more and more about all the things the film did well and what made it so special. Sometimes you have to step away from something to fully appreciate its value.
It’s not as if the things I didn’t like about Fantastic Beasts just went away. My biggest issue was the fact that the film never really gave me a chance to settle in. It was light-hearted then took a sharp turn and became extremely dark. It was almost as if I was watching two different films at times.
The dual storyline also detracted from the overall enjoyment of the film at times. Wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) makes a pit stop in New York on his way to Arizona to release one of his beasts into the wild. Meanwhile a terrible, dark force is destroying everything it comes into contact with in the city and a magical wizarding task force has to figure out what’s going and eliminate the threat. The two storylines do cross paths…but not really.
The title definitely lives up to itself as creatures of all shapes and sizes abound throughout the film. I was extremely impressed by not only how many different species there were, but how different each and everyone of them were from each other. I’m hesitant to spoil things by going into too much detail, but prepare to see everything from massive, griffin-type creatures to tiny insects that look more like trees than bugs. You can tell that JK Rowling really had a strong hand in this film as the innovation goes hand-in-hand with Harry Potter universe. My personal favorite beast was Dougal, a pudgy, rodent-like creature that can’t seem to stop stealing things. The movie would not have been the same without Dougal who manages to steal many of the scenes he’s involved in.
Even beyond the beasts, the visuals are amazing. Newt’s magical location where he keeps his animals has an array of climates respective to each species and its cool to see them all mesh together. Typical Harry Potter style, magic scenes abound with disappearing acts and various wizarding duels that get your heartrate going. Definitely an array of eye candy to maintain your attention.
As a whole Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them succeeds with multiple layers that will appeal to all types of people hoping for a relevant experience. Looking forward to what this franchise brings next. I give the movie an 83.