I just saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here are a few brief NO SPOILERS impressions:
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It felt very much like a return to the world of Harry Potter, and that’s a good thing. I’m not as big into Potter as some people are, but I’m very fond of the movies and have watched each one multiple times.
Will I watch Fantastic Beasts again? I don’t know. Honestly, I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping to. I didn’t DISlike it, but I thought the plot was too scattered, with too many characters that didn’t serve the story and that weren’t fleshed out at all. The main character, Newt, was quite likable but even he wasn’t fleshed out in any depth. Hints were dropped to set up his development for the next movie . . . and that just didn’t work for me. I wanted to, ahem, root for Newt in this movie, not the next.
The most likable character in the movie is Newt’s baker sidekick. The actor playing him does a great job, even if he’s a bit too on the nose at times. I felt that character could have used just a few rough edges to keep him from being overly syrupy, but he still comes off a winner.
Strangely, although the screenplay was written by JK Rowling herself, the women in the story aren’t made terribly interesting or compelling. No Hermione Grangers here. There is one that is quite likable, but even she is a bit too syrupy for my liking.
In short, I thought the plot was thin and scattered and the characters weren’t developed enough. The world didn’t feel quite as deep and interesting as it did in the Harry Potter movies. And the ending was a blatant set-up for Part Two. Which I would be okay with if they’d made Part One a bit more robust and intriguing.
I would certainly recommend all Potter-heads to go see it, and anyone that wants a light, fun, magical time at the movies, but don’t expect it to be the new Harry Potter.
Maybe the sequel will improve on the first. I hate to say it, but I kind of hope they bring in a new scriptwriter. JK is an amazing novelist, and I can’t wait to read her next book, but as a scriptwriter . . . well. Maybe she just needs practice.
But those are just my thoughts. What did you think?