I’m a fan of the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I have been since I was a child. I remember getting taken to the movie theaters to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I was six at the time, and I loved it. It was scary, traumatizing even, but it’s a memory I’ll never forget. For so many years the Harry Potter movies have dazzled me and even as an adult I still watch these movies with a sense of awe that most movies can’t provide.
Because I love this world J.K Rowling created I found myself wanting to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the other day for only the third time and so, I watched it, and once again I was harshly reminded how lackluster the film’s story and overall essence is compared to all eight of the Harry Potter movies. It’s almost strangely underwhelming in comparison to the films that helped shape my childhood.
The movie continues to try to recapture the same brilliance as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as it conveys to us new characters, a new world in the wizarding society that lives in New York, and all of the fantastical creatures, but it’s not long before the film falls flat, leaving one baffled by the movie’s lack of quality.
The characters, while intriguing, aren’t nearly as fascinating or lovable as the main trio of the Harry Potter movies.
Newt Scamander’s awkward/strange behavior comes off a little annoying at first and doesn’t add to his likability but Eddie Redmayne’s incredible acting prowess helps bring the character to life in a way where you like the guy by the end of the movie.
Katherine Waterston’s Tina Goldstein is super uninteresting. She’s an Auror who was demoted to desk duty because she used magic to hurt a No-Maj, which is a super boring storyline, and like in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald, she always is on the verge of tears for no reason whatsoever. Her emotional instability leads one to believe she’s fragile a.k.a a damsel in distress rather than being a strong heroine for young girls to look up to like Hermione Granger. If Hermione ever cried or got teary there was a reason.
Tina Goldstein so much as blinks and she’s got watery eyes. It’s kind of annoying.
I like Queenie Goldstein because of her intriguing ability to read minds and her flirtatious behavior makes her different among the characters I’ve grown to know in the Wizarding World. And Jacob Kowalski is your classic every-man, which makes him relatable and immediately likable. Too bad they corraled him into the comedy-relief bubble in the second film because he’s so much more interesting than that. Hopefully, they’ll make him lovable again in the third Fantastic Beasts movie.
But don’t even get me started about Colin Farrell’s Graves and Ezra Miller’s Credence Barebone. These characters give nothing to the story except…drama, a little bit of horror, and suspense? I don’t know what J.K Rowling was trying to do with these characters but it didn’t work. Credence Barebone is not even close to likable, making his condition as an Obscurius uninteresting. And Colin Farrell simply annoys me, making his role as the prime antagonist of the film even less compelling.
Graves (or Grindelwald) are not Voldemort. Not even close, making the stakes to this franchise rather underwhelming.
Secondly, which was also a major underwhelming factor between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies, why is the CGI in these movies so much worse than the CGI from the old Harry Potter movies? I was literally just watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last night and I was appalled by how much greater the CGI was for those movies created over a decade! ago.
In the Harry Potter movies, you had Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, the Quidditch World Cup, every inch of the Wizarding World in those films were imbued with a sense of magic that most fantasy (or science-fiction) movies can’t give you.
The Fantastic Beasts movies try to recapture that same sense of wonder the old movies gave us but it feels like the writers and director are trying TOO hard to remind us that this is the magical Wizarding World rather than letting us be wowed on our own terms.
And don’t even get me started about the super wack wizard action displayed in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. You can almost feel the actors are acting like they’re using real magic.
The ONLY element to the Fantastic Beasts franchise I’ll give over the Harry Potter movies is the romantic factor. And I’m not talking about the relationship between Queenie and Jacob, which is sweet until it isn’t in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald, but rather the stirring and ultra-sweet romance between Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein.
They are both very shy individuals and the story helps set up their relationship in a smile-inducing way. By the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie, you can tell they both like each other a whole lot but, because they’re such introverts, they don’t know how to convey their love for one another properly, leading to a rather awkward yet smile-inducing parting that warms the heart.
I actually care about both of them, whereas I didn’t grow invested in the relationships in the Harry Potter movies.
Harry and Cho Chang’s small fling in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was only important because it was Harry’s first kiss.
Harry and Ginny’s relationship wasn’t set up properly and felt forced, in my opinion.
And Ron and Hermione’s relationship almost feels wrong, considering that throughout the franchise it seemed pretty obvious that Harry and Hermione would end up being together only for that not to happen. (Even J.K Rowling shared her dissent with making Ron and Hermione end up being together in the story.)
Yes, the Harry Potter movies are outstanding films but when it comes to the romance category that’s when the story starts to lose me a bit. (It’s also partly the reason why the first four Harry Potter films, which are devoid of romance, are my favorite in the franchise.)
I appreciate that Warner Bros. is trying to rekindle the magic of the Harry Potter movies like Kathleen Kennedy and J.J Abrams successfully brought Star Wars back into our lives with these Fantastic Beasts movies but honestly, I think this story J.K Rowling has concocted is too far gone to impress me anymore.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.