Fantastic Beasts disappoints Harry Potter fans

The Harry Potter franchise is a masterpiece. I spent years obsessing over the books, watching the movies every week, collecting Harry Potter merchandise and dreaming about going to Harry Potter World. However, this was years ago, any my Harry Potter days are behind me. So, when I heard about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I was annoyed.

I had come to terms with the fact that there would never be a new Harry Potter movie, and now I was being forced to revive my enthusiasm for the magical universe. But, as a committed fan of J.K. Rowling, I searched for some excitement deep within me and went to see Fantastic Beasts.

Despite knowing that the prequel-spin-off series is never as good as the original, I went into it Fantastic Beasts hoping that maybe somehow they had managed to recapture the charm and beauty of the Harry Potter movies. Of course, that is impossible and my expectations were way too high, leading to a disappointing experience.

Fantastic Beasts is set in the mid 1900s, decades before Harry Potter and his friends were at Hogwarts. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is traveling to America to find a home for the magical creatures that he cares for. However, he runs into some trouble when the creatures escape and he is arrested by the Magical Congress of the Unites States of America.

The plot sounded intriguing at first, but the movie turned out to be incredibly predictable. I was not shocked, startled, surprised, or shook. I was bored. From the opening scene, I could tell how the movie would end.

For a normal movie, Fantastic Beasts was good. But for being a part of the world of Harry Potter, I expected more. There was action and humor, but the movie lacked emotional intrigue; I didn’t get attached to the two main characters, Scamander and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). In fact, I found them rather annoying. Redmeyne’s smile was disturbing and his inability to look people in the eyes while talking made me very uncomfortable. Scamander and Goldstein’s personalities were not likable, either. Goldstein was very nosy and arrogant, while Scamander was uncooperative and awkward.

The character development was minimal and rushed, as the movie focused more heavily on world building. However, I did find myself rooting for Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), the bumbling muggle side kick.

Where the original Harry Potter movies were endearing and inspiring, Fantastic Beasts was dark and disturbing. The mood of the film was entirely too creepy. Furthermore, the movie ended rather abruptly and the characters quickly forgot about the conflict that had consumed the plot of the movie.

However, I did appreciate that everything in the movie made sense. There were no crazy surprises or unexplained twists. For example, at one point I found myself going “oh, that’s why they mentioned the properties of that animal’s venom earlier.” Thoughts like this were common. Despite being centered around magic, the movie made logical sense. And the small ties it made to the original Harry Potter movies, in referencing Albus Dumbledore and the Lestrange family, were nice as well.

If you’re looking for an interesting and original movie, I would tell you to go see Fantastic Beasts. But if you’re looking for a magnificent extension of your long beloved series, I’m sorry to say that Fantastic Beasts is not that.

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