Director: David Yates
Writer: JK Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (FBFT) was our family date movie. It is the first JK Rowling creation which my husband truly appreciated. The kids were entertained and we were bawled over Johnny Depp's sneer at the end of the movie. If anything, FBWFT is only an introduction to the menace of a gathering dark that will sweep the world into greater conflict and war.
What I liked
Eddie Redmayne is fantastic as Newt Scamander. He breathed life to a side character of the Potter universe I only knew from short conversations and mere mentions among the major characters of the series. To some extent, I have always been curious about Newt Scamander. He must be a great wizard to travel the world in search for beasts of magic. How noble was his intent too: to write a book so that wizards and witches, young and old, can get a better grasp of understanding them. A true Hufflepuff!
Hufflepuffs are the underrated witches and wizards of the Wizarding world (UK) but in this movie, we saw a Hufflepuff who truly lived up to its house's traits. And yes, I am glad that Newt Scamander did not end up like Cedric Diggory.
Redmayne's portrayal of Scamander, a wizard and scholar, is charmingly geeky, goofy and gauche. I love him! He cares deeply for his creatures but, when faced with a danger bigger than them, he goes after it with his wand, a blazing light in his eyes and apparates to defend his friends and his beasts. I love Gryffindors, but really, a lead Hufflepuff in a Potter movie is something I truly appreciated.
The rest of the characters in the movie are all cut from the same cloths and patterns of JK Rowling's making: misfits, weirdos, eccentrics, oddballs, mavericks, the quintessential rebel, and the hyperbolic stereotypes. To me, it was comforting to be back in this world littered with such characters because, I have read about these flawed characters who became the hero or the villain of the books. This is one of the many reasons why I stuck with the entire series in the first place. Rowling's imperfect characters appeal to me because I learned early on in life that one's imperfections can be a great gift to others. Depending on one's choices, of course, because it can work the other way. One's uniqueness can also bring destruction to the world.
Once again, in FBWTF, Scamander and his newly found friends are all battling their inner demons or nursing a broken heart caused by a friend, a family member, a loved one or the very institution they put their trust on. We see them struggle and exert effort in rebuilding their lives, gathering up courage to dream again and to believe that doing good every day is one way to banish the greater evil that exist in the hearts of men. This is a Potter spin off that stays true to its mould, but it is slowly growing up into young adulthood.
Let's see how JK rowling spins this story thread further on.
What I did not like
There were gaps in the movie that left me bored. I didn't buy the slapstick and the comic relief provided to fill the gaps. I am a Potter head and I have grown up. I am ready for darker materials and the complexities of the human condition.
I am willing to wait for the next installment!