Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them:
Fantastic Beasts in an interesting film to say the least. It's written by J.K. Rowling with this film being the first screenplay she ever wrote based around her stand alone stories set in the Harry Potter universe, it's a stand alone movie set in the same world as Harry Potter but not a prequel and the trailers did a good job at catching this movie my fullest attention. What I got was a decent little film with a wonderful setting and good visuals but a huge drop of potential by not utilizing this new world to it's fullest while also setting this film to be a 5-part movie saga for years to come rather than making a strong impression for her first film. Or it could be WB trying to make this Harry Potter spin-off into it's own cinematic universe cause god forbid make the first film stand out right?
There's quite few things to like about Fantastic Beasts where the film truly shines. First off, I like the world the film takes place with The American Depression era setting allowing for a much complex story to be told where the relationships between No-Maj and wizards are troubling while racial tensions due the streets with paranoia and uncertainty including The Salem Witch Trials who are a group of wizard haters who see magic as the devil's curse and the MACUSA Order who are responsible in maintaining their world a secret from humans. I also liked the main character Newt with his award but noble personality with his relationship with animals & humans while the interactions between the supporting cast was genuinely fun, some of the action was pretty good and the cast was solid with Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrel, Ezra Miller, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman and many more doing a great job in portraying the characters with plenty of personality & wit while the score was decent despite some misusage of the Harry Potter theme by John Williams during a scene where it just didn't click with me at all. Unfortunately, the film is held back by too many subplots that don't go anywhere, characters making idiotic choices which halts the plot for too long, the main baddy is uninteresting while also being mediocre at best with Johnny Depp looking more absurd than scary (he looks like Marilyn Manson's hipster vampire cousin who sprinted out the closet for attention but only to get hit in the broom by Manson to go back down the stairs), some of the humor can be cringeworthy and the film just felt too short for a movie with so much story & world building, it feels like we haven't seen enough of the setting to be fully invested in the situation the characters go through and I would hope we get more footage left out of the cutting room considering Rowling's script was supposedly very long but was trimmed down in order to be met the 2:30 runtime. I guess we must wait for the Extended Cut when it comes out on Blu-Ray then just like what WB did with Suicide Squad & BVS.
Overall, Fantastic Beasts was a decent good time and I am glad J.K. Rowling is putting her writing skills in crafting a new world out of the HP franchise despite the flaws that stop this film from being phenomenal. As long as the producers improve their mistakes, the 5-films may work if they fix the writing while properly establish the stories, characters & settings without throwing them under the bus for another film in the series. We'll just have to wait and see then until 2024 comes out and the world turn into a futuristic war between magic & scientology or nuclear warfare.