Fantastic Beasts Movie Review

BY MARVIN GARCIA

STUDENT CONTRIBUTOR 

Photo courtesy of AP Images. Katherine Waterston, from left, Eddie Redmayne, Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler pose for a portrait to promote the film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” on day three of Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The next chapter of author J.K. Rowling’s prequel of the Harry Potter story relieved the magic in theaters Nov. 16 and introduced audiences to all new types of creatures and wonders in the new Warner Bros. film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Written by the mistress of magic herself, Rowling continues the story of magical beasts expert, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, Jupiter Ascending) as he embarks on a special mission from a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes) with the intention to foil the schemes of infamous dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp, Pirates of The Caribbean series) from enforcing a world of wizarding superiority.

Directed by Harry Potter veteran, David Yates, The Crimes of Grindelwald would be best described as a magical chase melodrama filled with far more emotional tension with the purpose to explore the relationships among characters and how their individual arcs move on to new heights.

The name says it all, Fantastic Beasts, which pretty much implies there will be all new types of creatures that were not previously seen in the Harry Potter series. From a seaweed covered seahorse to an eagle-faced beast, the fierce nature of these animals begs the question, can these creatures be a pet?

In the first film, the expansion of the wizarding world introduced The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), the equivalent to the British Ministry of Magic. So what’s next? France. This goes on to show there is a wizarding community in every corner of the world and shows that Rowling does indeed keep everyone in mind.

There are many refreshing moments that take us back to Harry Potter, such as returning back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where a charming Albus Dumbledore serves as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with professor Minerva Mcgonagall as his assistant. Needless to say, we get to know Dumbledore a bit more intimately and how his relationship with Grindelwald is a major factor of the character’s development. Another highpoint of Fantastic Beasts is the frequent Easter eggs it drops to Harry Potter of which most may leave you stunned.

The plot itself, however, is where one will find its biggest weakness as it renders characters with now many strong objectives and lack of hyperactive action in magical confrontations. Despite seeing how talented each wizard and witch is in their use of magic, it’s mostly used as a tool to conduct research or making objects to move on their own. Of course, this is fascinating, but it would have been a more satisfying dish to serve if there were some sort of epic duel consisting of spells to defeat their opponent.

Love and Acceptance would be the core factors that would drive the story better, given how most characters are desperate for them.

There is not a doubt that one is compelled to know more about the mysteries Rowling presents in this story, primarily in knowing what are the crimes Grindelwald committed. Unfortunately, He doesn’t commit that many crimes in the film as much as his henchmen. With that, the subtext misses its meaning in the story.

Overall, Fantastic Beast is still received as an appealing addition to the Wizarding World film franchise promising more potential for the next installment. I personally look forward to seeing more on the Deathly Hallows and Dumbledore and Grindelwald coming face-to-face and what this will effect. Perhaps something “For the Greater Good.”

 

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