Fantastic Beasts and How to Avoid It


I am a Harry Potter fan (books and movies, although I still have not read The Cursed Child; I am determined to finish The Count of Monte Cristo first). I found the franchise fun, exhilarating, even wonder-inspiring. I loved that it inspired such a love of reading in a new generation of kiddos, including my own. Fantastic Beasts belongs to the Harry Potter universe, but it does not have any source material-- no original novels. It's based on a reference book Harry and the others study at Hogwarts 80 or so years later. JK Rowling wrote the screenplay herself. There will be a total of five Fantastic Beasts movies over the next decade or so, all to be directed David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films.

My biggest question, after seeing the first movie: Why?

Hint: in a couple of weeks it's made roughly $180MM.

The movie looks great, is incredibly loud, but really has no story or plot. Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, who will eventually write the Fantastic Beasts textbook, tries hard to move the thing along, and has a couple of funny scenes, but can't. The screen is filled with such overwhelming effects that it's hard to relate to anything or anyone. I did like the casting of Dan Fogler, who sort of reminded me of the great Lou Costello. For me, he's about all there is to enjoy. 1920s New York was fun too.

Our family watched FB at the marvelous downtown Dallas Alamo Drafthouse last Saturday on our way home from Thanksgiving in Bay City. Christy and Miles (11) liked the movie very much, although Miles "watched" a fair amount with hands clasped over ears and eyes closed. Not sure how Linus (9) felt about it. James (14) and I both gave it a thumbs down.

This is not a kids movie, by the way-- take them to Trolls or Moana instead (Miles, Linus, and my mom all said that was great). If you want a good fantasy movie, check out Dr Strange. Or you may know there's a new Star Wars movie coming in thirteen days!

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