Similar to The Hobbit, Fantastic Beasts forces itself to be more than what it should be for the sake of milking the HP franchise and its fanbase.
First off, the CGI was poor for this day and age considering that it’s by a large studio, Warner Bros, who has the budget and resources to make it work. Green screen backgrounds were obvious when characters appear onscreen. Beasts never looked good/clear when sharing the screen with a human. It’s unforgivable considering that this was the film that was to explore this side of the Potter-verse.
On the other hand, costumes and physical sets look sublime. Actors all looked the part. Redmayne’s commitment to the walk and talk of Scamander was perfect, though sometimes you wonder who the Main Character is when he’s sharing the screen. (If the idea was to have a main assemble and not a sole MC I wouldn’t mind, but the story IS about him isn’t it?)
Rowling’s writing was mostly lazy with meaningless and unacceptably staged scenes which made no sense other than to force the plot forward:
- Tina stumbling into the meeting with ALL the high magicians is lame and unforgivable.
- Kowalski’s accidental spill of pheromones AFTER he sniffed it, put it aside, AND stared at Newt for several minutes is unrealistic.
- Graves was the stereotypical bad guy and the way he went down is dumb, made worse that he’s the super big bad – Grindelwald.
Too many questions were left unanswered by the end of the film. Not because it was left for world building, but because the dialogues were not well crafted and action sequences not reasoned/clear.
Why am I being so critical?
Because Fantastic Beasts portrays a tone and manner that wants to be seen as a big serious epic fantasy. If it wanted to be a happy go lucky fantasy about fantastic beasts in the Potter-verse, do that, don’t go chasing the epic fight against evil plot when the characters and plot isn’t ready for it.
There’s no harm starting slow and introducing the serious darker stuff in the sequels. LOTR exemplifies this. Heck, even the original HP is a good example.
Maybe it’s because I look up to Rowling as a writer who’s made it. Maybe if she was given time to develop it further, she would’ve made it beautiful. The potential, characters and world is there. It just wasn’t given the time it needed to ripe by its corporate master. So we end up with an average-to-boring film set in a wonderful world stretched to its thinnest for maximum ka-ching.
No smile, no dimples. Just a shrug.
Should you watch it?
Sure if you simply want to delve back back into the Potter-verse. No if you want an enjoyable film.