This is film 1 of 5 and going in to this you kind of know what that means, a lot of set up, a lot of character introduction, world building, establishing where the chess pieces stand. On the one hand you expect that but on the other you hope that they try to do something a bit different to that because we’ve been through 8 Harry Potter films. Unfortunately this movie is heavy on setting things up for later films. There is a main plot that this film revolves around but at the same time it’s not exactly the goods we’re looking for here. The audience don’t just want a story they want something that continues the hype that they had coming off the Harry Potter movies and books. Yet this film is saying “settle down, it’s a 5 hour trip to Disney World”.
The casting is great. Eddie Redmayne is subtle, clumsy and brilliant at the same time. Let’s make no bones in saying that Newt Scamander is ‘The Doctor’. A few months back I had a friend tell me over lunch that the main character of this movie would be played by Matt Smith. I didn’t have the heart to correct him but Newt is very Matt Smith Doctorish from the clothes, to the hair to the clumsy, shy attitude with the competent air about him. If that wasn’t enough he has a suit case which is bigger on the inside and David Yates himself has said in the past he wanted to direct a Doctor Who movie (FYI Moffat said no to that).
The beasts themselves are wonderful. At first I got a feeling that these creatures antics are for kids enjoyment only but I got a kick out of them and a few giggles myself. It’s sure to be something REAL kids will love.
Again the people who will get the most satisfaction out of this movie are the book readers and boy am I glad I read all 7 Harry Potter books. The person I went to see this movie with had a ton of questions for me about who was who and what was going on. Fortunately Harry Potter book 7 goes into great detail on Grindlewald. So if you want to know more it’s in the books but if you are a fan of the movies and want to save your excitement for the sequels then avoid Book 7 of HP. This brings me back to my original criticism of the movie. If you are leaving the theater feeling unsatisfied with the film and the knowledge imparted to you and are left with questions as to what happened to these characters in the past and what will happen to them next then it’s not an entirely successful film. By the end of the first Harry Potter movie we knew who the character was, where he came from, where he was going. He had faced his first great challenge when he encountered Voldemort for the first time. With Newt there is a little too much left untold.
It can be also frustrating to think that by the time all these questions are answered you’ll be 8 years older. But from my own point of view, these are movies, this is a business, getting your ass in the chair for the next 4 films are also part of their job. You don’t have to like it but we’ll have to accept it.
Favorite Quote: “My philosophy is if you worry, you suffer twice. “ – Newt Scamander