Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them... Except Not Really

Monday 16 January 2017

3 stars
If you can look past all the issues with the newest addition to the Harry Potter franchise then I'm sure you'll really enjoy it. Whether it's because I'm cynical, or just because I firmly believe that Potter is done with and should be left well enough alone, I didn't find it all that great.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a bit of fun, but it’s more than a little superfluous and misleading. We – supposedly – follow main character Newt Scamander as he travels and learns about magical beasts, rescuing some and caring for them, and releasing others. Sounds fantastic, right? Wrong. Instead, we’re transported to 1920s America to deal with Voldemort 1.0 (Grindelwald), cliche romance, a very unhappy teenager, and very few beasts.

I will say, though, Fantastic Beasts does a good job of remaining separate to the original Potter franchise. It’s very much part of the wizarding world, but it’s not trying to be the new Harry Potter and it manages to stand apart from and support itself. Visually, though, it is very reminiscent of Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows, in that it’s very dark and doesn’t have the same style as the old school films. It’s a beautiful piece of cinematography, with flawless acting, but it’s just so unnecessary.

At times, it was predictable, and you knew how it would end before you’d even seen half of it. Beautiful woman falls for the sidekick? Very original. Well done. Sidekick serves as comic relief? Ground-breaking. The villain is revealed right at the end? Wait – why is there even a villain in this film? If you’re expecting to learn more about the creatures that were briefly touched upon in the Harry Potter franchise, then I’m sorry to say that this is not the film for you. You’re drawn in by that, but you can almost hear J.K. Rowling laughing as she cashes in the cheques this instalment will bring in.

Oh, did I not mention that this is the first of five new films? Because it is. Call be bitter and cynical all you want, but this is not necessary. It doesn’t feel genuine. Creating a whole new dilemma and cast of characters this long after Potter has wrapped up nicely does not scream sincerity, it screams money grabbing and ‘how long can we draw this out?’

It is a nice little film, don’t get me wrong. I just… wish that it didn’t exist. 


  1. Totally agree! It was a fun, simple movie that did a good job as a standalone. However I would be completely happy without its existence and there is no need for 5 film whatsoever.

    1. Yeah it all just seems so unnecessary, and I'm happy with the Potter world as it is. Just leave it be :(

  2. I haven't seen the film yet. I am on the fence with new Harry Potter-related content. I couldn't bring myself to read the Cursed Child because I do feel like Harry's story came to an end so many years ago- kind o like, let's leave it at that. With this film I was (and in someways still am) excited that there is something set in the same world, but not with the same characters. But I am not sure what exactly I was expecting with it, but definitely not 5+ movies.

    I know I will probably watch the film on DVD, but I don't know... knowing it is 5+ films is a little daunting.

    1. I'm in the same boat as you when it comes to Cursed Child, but Fantastic Beasts doesn't feel AS bad as that. I think you will enjoy it though, as it IS a good film. I think if it had been introduced to us while the main franchise was still ongoing it would have felt more natural.

  3. Ha, chill! Deep breathes. It's all going to be ok. If it's going to annoy you this much, maybe don't see the next one? Lol.

    I actually really enjoyed it - yes, I had problems with it (#1 being white-washed Harlem,) but I also really loved it. I think the problem is that it wasn't what people were necessarily expecting...? Maybe they kept too much of a lid on things, letting a little more out pre-release might have changed what people thought they were getting going into it.

    Awesome post :)

    1. I probably won't see the sequel tbh. I was chill when watching it but then when I started thinking about it (and all the other Potter stuff) after I just... couldn't. Ugh.

      I was just after WAY more beasts and taming them, releasing them, traveling the world to study them etc.


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