Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, Carmen Ejogo
Directed By: David Yates
Plot: Newt (Redmayne) is working on a book about magical animals, and his journey leads him to New York City, where he runs into Tina (Waterston) and uncovers a dark plot about a beast wreaking havoc all over. He also runs into Kowalski (Fogler), and some of his beasts accidentally get let out, so the three of them must get them back.
What Works: I enjoyed pretty much the whole film. I thought the cast was great. As standouts, I’d pick Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol, who end up the worlds most adorable couple. Farrell was great as the “bad guy”, not playing it over the top. The special effects are great, and the imagination is totally there. They’ve made a mountain out of a molehill. The book it is based on is not nearly this involved in terms of plot. It’s not Harry Potter, but Fantastic Beasts could be a really great franchise in its own right.
What Doesn’t Work: I hate the ending. There are some spoilers ahead. I hated that the film allowed Kowalski to be obliviated. He could have gotten in Newt’s case. They could have figured out a Plan B. Instead, Kowalski walks into the rain, and is obliviated. So infuriating. It ruined the movie for me. And THEN they give you a sliver of “oh wait, maybe not” later when he runs into Queenie and it looks like she might jog his memory. But you’ll have to wait for the sequel! If you’re going to make a terrible choice, stick with it until the next movie, don’t just take it back in the next scene. I also didn’t like that Credence was destroyed. So basically, the whole ending didn’t work for me.
Final Word: I liked the film all the way until the end. I’m still really looking forward to the sequel, and I still think this is a promising franchise, but I really do hate the end. I hate everything about it. I wish I had walked out and not seen the last ten minutes. I would have given the film an A. Instead, I can’t.
Final Grade: B+