I loved the original Harry Potter films and really looked forward to the initial prequel. However, when ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them’ let me down I quickly lost hope that any further film in the franchise would ever live up to the originals. Nevertheless, I wanted to give the latest instalment a try; as: even if I didn’t enjoy it, it was likely to be a cinematic experience and maybe I would be pleasantly surprised.
What is it about?
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is back and this time with bigger problems; as the wizarding world finds itself split between: hope of a magical dictatorship of the muggle world with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) at the helm and the forces of light headed up by Grindelwald’s greatest adversary- Dumbledore (Jude Law.) However, caught between the two sides lies Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller;) an unimaginable power, desperate to find out who he really is. His relentless search for answers could turn the tide of the fight; but, who’s side will it favour?
What did I think?
Aside from the initial sequence of this film, it started out very slowly. The laborious build up and constant chasing after things that were just out of sight, grew tiresome very quickly. Although all of the parts for success seemed to be there, with some fascinating beasts and an intriguing overlying plot; the aforementioned factors meant that my initial enjoyment was rather limited.
Nevertheless, after about an hour the film really began to kick on and the seemingly unnecessary plot development from earlier in the film became a key part of the overall arc. Specifically, I thought that the way the fantastic beasts, which initially just seemed like pieces of special effects nonsense, became spectacles to admire, later on in the film was truly admirable. It is the first time in a long time that I have been truly shocked and in awe of such computer generated creatures and considering my initially mediocre reaction to them this was a very pleasant surprise.
From an acting point of view the standouts, for me, were Johnny Depp and Eddie Redmayne. In each of Johnny Depp’s speeches, I personally felt roused and actually thought “what is so bad about what he’s proposing”; as I was actively being drawn in and fooled by his powerful words. In this sense, his performance was incredible as his effect on me was paralleled by his effect on those in the wizarding world. In a different sense I thought that Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Newt Scamander was a pivotal reason for my continued interest as the film progressed as he fascinated me. His quirky nature and interactions with others were captivating and I was constantly left wanting to see more of him and get to know more about his character.
Furthermore, the main reason I left this film feeling exceptionally positive was because it had a fantastic ending. The action was good; it had narrative threads executed in a way that I hadn’t initially anticipated and most importantly, it made me excited for the next sequel. However, my one issue with the film after the poor first hour was that the colour palette was much too dark. Although this made explosions of light and mythical creatures particularly spectacular; from a personal point of view the dire colour palette meant that everything felt a bit dreary and exacerbated my negative emotion in times of frustration.
My Rating- 7/10
I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this film. In the early stages I felt certain that it would just continue to disappoint like it’s predecessor; however, I concede I was wrong as I actually found myself engrossed by the end and was shocked that the entire 134 minute run time had passed me by.
P.S. My showing was marred by an absolute nightmare in my screening room. When there was a power outage halfway through the film the screen went blank and everyone sat expectantly for the picture to return, expecting it only to be a minor glitch. How wrong could we have been; although the power cut meant that every other screen had shut down at the time, it was only ours that persisted with not working. It wasn’t until forty minutes later that the film resumed and further along than it had initially stopped at that. Thirty minutes into the stoppage, we was told that if we stayed to the end of the film we forfeited the right to a refund; seems completely unfair considering it completely broke up the flow of the film. Nevertheless, it is a credit to the film that in the second half this palaver was soon put behind me.