Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hit the movie this morning. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. There’s a lot of nice wand work 😛 and interesting creatures. Fun: definitely worth shelling out to see it.

I was used to the telegraphic nature of the HP movies: I always read the book and then used the movie as a form of Cliff Notes(tm). This movie was the same: lots of different CGI sets, whippy action scenes, and an expectation that you’ve read/seen the Harry Potter series to make sense of a lot of the elements that are just served up w/o explanation. Unlike the HP films we didn’t have a chance to explore the organic nature of the USMAG headquarters. No fun entrance. 🙁
Characters are sketched out as much as necessary, and I didn’t get a real feel or need to identify with any character but the lone “nomag” in the picture (Perlman stole the show, IMHO). He’s the one we learn the most about, and end up rooting for. And unlike the Potter movies there’s no ensemble cast, with plenty of supporting characters. The masses of good folk are barely more props, and while the “bad people” story is mildly interesting, we know little about them. And plot spoiler is really plot spoiler who plot spoilers plot spoiler. Plot spoiler.
Also, this is definitely a boy-centric picture. There’s no Hermione with brilliance or power. Oh, sure, there’s a USMAG president who’s both black and a woman (which shows just how much this is a fantasy pic). But she does little more than grump and read lines. The main female characters are, sorry to say, not vibrant as compared to either of the male leads, and that’s a lost opportunity.

The plot pentultimate resolution was sad in a pathetic way. Contrived. And a bummer.

Even so, after all the above, I still recommend seeing it.