Picoreview: Fantastic Beasts

Picoreview: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: really not very good.

It started out slowly and took far too long to end. There were tedious bits in between occasionally interrupted by charm, but the charm was rarely presented by Eddie Redmayne’s Newt, who, as the lead, literally had a line about how people didn’t really like him very much. But that was okay, because Katherine Waterson, as the other lead, was also almost entirely unlikeable. (Wait…)

To make it worse, though, the second leads, *particularly* Alison Sudol (playing Waterson’s sister), outshone them on every level in terms of charm and charisma (which is pretty awful because I didn’t even like Dan Folger’s Jacob Kowalski all that *much*, as he was too clearly The Way In to this story).

Many of the fantastic beasts were wonderful and at least two of them were in fact fantastic. Unfortunately, there was very little in the story that actually required them, and even less about where to find them. At least one of them was dreadfully overused and added considerably to the tedium.

Lest you think I utterly loathed the whole thing, let me pause to say I thought the bad guys were terrific. I thought Samantha Morton was deadly and that Ezra Miller gave a powerful performance. I really enjoyed Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo. I got a kick out of recognizing Ron Perlman’s goblin _from his walk_, on a subliminal level, before he’d even spoken or I’d gotten a look at his face. That was good SFX. Despite all the film’s problems I was essentially ready for more.

Except then the Big Reveal completely obliterated any interest I had in seeing any more movies in the series. Just, honestly, like, “Nope, I see how you were trying to add intrigue and dimensions here and what you have done is removed all of them, so I’m out.” And then on top of that they Should Not Have Done That Thing to That Character…

…and the fact that I can think of at least three characters in the film to whom that sentence applies does not help matters any. There’s one in *particular* I mean when I say it, but there are at least three to whom it applies.

I really, *really* wish that had been a better movie. There were parts I liked. The bones were there. In fact, I’d say the bones of two *different* good movies were there. Neither of them, however, made it to the screen.

I am disappoint.


  1. Yes. All of this. And it seemed like overall, much of the internal logic of the HP world wasn’t really reflected. I think they took the shortcut of “Things Are Different In America” and I didn’t like it.

    1. I’m not a tremendous HP fan to begin with, aside from liking the *actors* in it a lot, so I didn’t go in with pre-arranged nostalgia, and…really, I really did think there were probably two different potential good movies in there, but that wasn’t either of them. Which is too bad, because I *wanted* to be enthusiastic about it.

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