What it’s about:
This film - set many decades before the Harry Potter films - centres on Newt Scamander. A wizard with a mysterious briefcase and way of rubbing people the wrong way. Newt sails to New York with his briefcase. There, he encounters two witches and a person who doesn’t know magic, or as they are called in the film, a no-maj. The four end up on an adventure that is transformative for all concerned.
What we thought of it:
There has been a lot of criticism of this film, from movie critics and avid film buffs alike. They have said that David Yates’ directing style is aesthetics over substance or that he has no style at all. Some have also said that the film is bloated by a slow moving storyline along with a myriad of other issues.
While those points might be up for debate, because some of them do hold water, I believe that this film is not meant to be a technical triumph. It was meant to introduce you to a new world. It was meant to immerse you into a new world with a new magical protagonist. Does it do that in spades with visuals that will make your head spin? Yes. Are there still non-technical things that bothered me on that new journey with Newt? Yes to that as well.
I found the two sisters, who are witches, Tina and Queenie (played by Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol respectively) to be one dimensional props for Newt (played by Eddie Redmayne).
Their plotlines very forgettable, and I can only hope that if they are in the next film there is more meat for the established actors, who play the sisters, to bite into. The no-maj however, Jacob Kowalski, played brilliantly by Dan Fogler stole the show. He often played the straight man to Eddie Redmayne’s very wacky wizard and did it very well.
At the start of the film I found Redmayne’s Newt to be almost unlikeable. I didn’t see his motivations for his actions and I often felt as though the character was just a bit of angsty whiny lead. But by the end of the film, which I will not reveal, he had won me over.
I give full credit to Redmayne for this. He, along with writer J.K Rowling and director David Yates, have crafted a character that I could see several films being centred on. He is like the wizarding version of Indiana Jones, only a lot more awkward and Hufflepuff.
I think that everyone should go watch this film, despite it’s faults and shortcomings. Because at the very least it is feast for the eyes and will give you a taste of something that can’t be described. A world beyond the mere mortal’s eye. Spend money of the 4D for this or even Imax if you can find it.
I am looking forward to the next one and the one after that and the one after that. I might not be the biggest David Yates fan, but I could watch Newt on screen a lot more.