FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (2016) SPOILERS REVIEW
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is a film that did have a lot going on in terms of the multiple stories they were telling and setting up, and so i thought it would be fitting to go through some of those more SPOILER FILLED events that i wasn’t able to talk about in my Non-Spoilers Review located HERE. So once again, that is a warning to turn back now if you have not seen the film because if you progress beyond the below image you will be spoiled and i don’t wanna hear any complaining. So lets get into it.
Ok, so lets start off with the biggest ‘shocker’ that this film revealed to us in the final moments, which is that Colin Farrell’s antagonistic character; Percival Graves, was actually Gellert Grindelwald in disguise. And for me at least the bigger shock was that he is being played by Johnny Depp……. um ok. This was a revelation that you could tell David Yates could not wait to reveal to us. From the opening scene where you see the back of Grindelwald taking out four wizards with ease it didn’t take a genius to recognise the similarities between his distinct haircut and the haircut of Percival Graves. From that exact moment i knew the reveal was coming sooner or later. And then during the film at the point of one of Graves’ interactions with Credence Barebone he hands Credence a necklace that was very obviously the symbol representing the Deathly Hallows. Not having an insane amount of knowledge of the the lore of the Harry Potter Universe i didn’t know the exact implications of the symbol but as per my previous observations i could only assume it was a way of confirming to die hard fans that this was in fact Grindelwald in disguise. So even though i knew it was coming it was still a very well laid out reveal with the constant hints throughout alluding to his possible appearance. They did a good job at setting him up as an evil force on the same or a similar level to that of Voldemort.
Now for the fact that Johnny Depp is going to be playing Dumbledoor’s infamous rival in the future of the Fantastic Beasts Franchise. His appearance in this film was a complete surprise to me as i knew he was going to play a role in the future of the series as a potentially large character but showing up here was the big shocker. I don’t know if i like the choice, on one hand if you say the star of ‘Black Mass’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ then i’m all in, but then again he is ‘The Mad Hatter’, and ‘Mortdecai’, and a long list of other terribly annoying characters. In the end i think everyone will end up liking him as it is what usually happens in these scenario but for now i will stay skeptical until that FB2 trailer drops.
Lets lighten up the tone and talk about and highlight the presence of Newt’s fantastic beasts in this film even though they don’t have as much of a presence as i thought they would. The CGI on the variety of creatures that escape from Newt’s briefcase was great, when each of them shows up you get the magical tones of the Harry Potter universe coming through and it makes for some of the best parts of the film. When you delve inside his briefcase and get to see the various regions each with many creatively designed creatures you want to know more about those creatures because they do look so damn cool. Some of the beasts such at the massive rhinoceros-like creature and the growing/shrinking snake were good for one off gags or short adventure scenes. But then you have the money loving mole and the invisible monkey-like beast who were cute little animals that added a lot to the film in terms of humour and just pure entertainment. I really hope we get to explore them some more in future films but i feel like now the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ elements will have brief appearances in the rest of the franchise as they will probably take a back seat for the Grindelwald story to develop further.
Now for the most boring storyline in the film, the one dealing with Credence Barebone, his struggle with trying to contain the Obscurus within him, and his family who want to eradicate the existence of all magical beings (witches). The events surrounding these characters got way too much screen-time and considering the film doesn’t give you much time initially to get to know these characters there is no emotional investment in their story. Every time it cut away to Credence about to get whipped by a belt, or his sister acting all mysterious and shit, or his ‘adoptive’ mother advocating the presence and eradication of magic in New York it was taking up time that should have been spent focusing on Newt or even on Percival Graves. The way they try to link these characters into the main story with the idea of the Obscurus was not handled well and seemed like a rushed element to try and give them some purpose in the film. So when the reveal came through that Credence was in fact the Obscurus everyone in New York was looking for my initial reaction was a bit of confusion, and then the feeling of being underwhelmed. There were moments where Graves was talking about looking for a child, one with immense power, and i was looking forward to learning more about this child and why he is important. But then they reveal it to be Credence, the one character i did not care about at all and it was just an entirely underwhelming section of the film.
They even try to add an emotional element to his story at the end when Newt and Tina confront Credence trying to calm him down and then again when he is about to die and then does. But because they didn’t establish any reasons to care about this character earlier i’m most definitely not going to give a shit about him when he is blasted into oblivion.
On the other hand, one emotional element that does really work is towards the end of the film where the inevitable happens and everyones favourite no-maj Jacob Kowalski needs to say goodbye to his newly discovered friends as his mind is cleared of all of the magical events he went through forgetting everything including Newt, Tina, and Queenie. I didn’t expect to feel anything at all in that scene but it was effectively emotional as clearly the film did a very good job at introducing you to this character that you end up really loving by the end of the film. Speaking of the end of the film, i probably have to specify which one i am talking about because this is another case of the ‘Return of the King’ ending. This film takes too long to wrap up, it felt like it was gearing up to fade to black almost 5 times at the end there and it was beginning to get annoying. It’s odd because this isn’t like RotK or the final Harry Potter film as they had to close off an entire franchise which is hard to do, this film only had to close off the stories introduced in this film alone and it messed it up. It didn’t weigh heavily on my enjoyment of the film it just got on my nerves when it continued past some fantastically set up moments to end on.
So that is all i guess from my Spoiler Review, just had to get through some things i couldn’t put in my non-spoiler review for obvious reasons. If you are looking for my final score for the film that can be found in my non-spoiler review HERE. Is there anything i missed? Let me know and i will give my opinions of those moments as well.