The Harry Potter universe just got bigger! The prequel to the original stories, titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, delighted many fans. Now, we're going to break it down. This movie was released in November but just in case you haven't watched it yet, I'm going to put a SPOILER ALERT. Without further ado, let's dive right into it!
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I wasn't surprised or thrilled. To me, it seemed like this was going to be one of those good, solid movies. Turns out I wasn't wrong.
I have to say that I absolutely adored Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. He was an excellent choice for the role and now it is hard for me to picture anyone else playing him. Jacob Kowalski was nicely done, bringing some humor to the story. And the thing is, this could have been a very dark movie. David Yates went for a little bit of both - darkness as well as humor. The combination of the two can go AWFULLY wrong (we all remember Suicide Squad), but in here it was perfectly balanced.
The movie begins with Newt coming to New York with a suitcase full of magical creatures. So, the inside of this case looks like a giant zoo for magical creatures. There we see some amazing Beasts, such as the Niffler, who looks quite a lot like a platypus, or the Occamy, half-bird, half-snake. In the scene at the bank, we are introduced to the first Fantastic Beast: the Niffler. Now, all of the Beasts are SO DAMN CUTE!!! I just wanted to jump right into the movie screen and hug the Niffler. I bet someone's gonna get a lot of money out of plush dolls… So, Jacob finds Newt’s Occamy egg, they teleport to the vault and catch the runaway Niffler. The look on Kowalski’s face during this scene is just priceless! After Jacob witnesses the magic, he automatically joins the gang, as well as Tina and her sister Queenie, who want to help Newt stop his creatures from causing problems all around New York.
We also follow another story: Colin Farrell (I don't even remember the character's name, which just shows you what an impact he left on me) and Ezra Miller's character Credence. Farrell is trying to persuade him to find out if his sister is an Obscurial. So, an Obscurial is a wizard or a witch who developed a dark magical force, known as an Obscurus, as a result of their magic being suppressed under some kind of abuse. Look it up on Harry Potter Wikia. There are some really freaky things over there.
So, Newt and Kowalski team up with Tina and Queenie, then Newt and Tina get arrested after senator Shaw is killed, and then we get that weird flashback or dream sequence (the movie went a bit BvS there), but they managed to escape.
And here comes the big twist: the Obscurial was never Credence's sister, it was him. I like this twist, truly wasn't expecting it. But then Credence gets all mad because of the way Farrell's character (I'm not even trying to remember his name) treats him. So he starts flying around town destroying a bunch of buildings and we get that same cliché mass destruction in the third act as in every other movie. In the final scene, I lost my patience. You have no idea what the hell is going on ‒ Farrell just shows up and says some mumbo-jumbo that is totally different from the things he had been in favor of just a couple of minutes earlier, MACUSA comes and kills Credence (because we had to have that “emotional” scene where Tina is screaming and crying) and then ‒ a TWIST: Farrell is actually Grindelwald! Surprise! And now that we've introduced the ultimate villain, we're going to make four more sequels! Look, this was a solid spin-off movie. You could have just ended it here and I think everyone would have been satisfied. But I guess a “little” more money won't hurt anyone... besides the fans.
Moving on: all of the muggles (I do prefer the British title to the American one) have to be obliviated. And here we see Frank, the thunder bird. He makes it rain, and all the people on the streets forget the happenings and consequences. I have just three words for this: Frank ex machina. There is that one scene I truly loved: when Jacob steps out into the rain but Queenie pulls out an umbrella just so she could kiss him. It was touching and warm. A woman behind me started crying in the theatre (now that’s an emotional scene)!
So, in those couple of scenes at the end where Kowalski's memory is erased, he opens a bakery and, at the very end, Queenie smiles at him ‒ that was the proper end of this… um… chapter. I honestly didn't like this movie that much. The performances were awesome, the beasts were awfully sweet, there was humor, and there was darkness. But on the other hand, the villain was poorly written and executed, too many clichés that didn’t even suit the fans, the third act was over-packed, a weak story line... This movie, because of the reasons that I have just stated, gets two and a half stars from me. If the sequels do have to happen, let's just hope they bring a little bit more magic into our lives.