2016 **1/2 133 mins.
I'll admit, I may not be reviewing this film with a completely unbiased mind. Once Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was completed, I was done with J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World. It was a fun ride, but, like the Twilight Saga, it served its purpose and should be laid to rest. When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was announced, along with that ridiculous stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, it became obvious to me that Rowling, Warner Bros., and Scholastic were going to make like Disney with Star Wars and milk the cash cow for every last cent.
In the world of Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a text book used at Hogwarts, written by a man named Newt Scamander. In this film, the great Eddie Redmayne plays Scamander, completely squandering all his God-given talents. He bumbles through every scene, being completely un-captivating. He is surrounded by likewise bumbling fools who do nothing but make the film laughably ridiculous. Colin Farrell is the only real redeeming factor here, as his presence actually brings some sense of quality to this otherwise bland film. The special effects are terrible, the hokey 3D elements seem to be lifted out of cheesy 1950s B-movies, and the writing is abhorrent. There seem to be whole scenes missing from the film that would greatly explain what's going on much better. For example, in one scene we see Scamander chasing a giant creature across Central Park. The next time we see him, he's coming out of his suitcase, with no explanatory scene to bridge the gap. Then, there's the whole subplot of the witch-hating family and the Obscurous, which seems to almost be tacked on as an afterthought, to pad the running time to over two hours. And while I'm on the subject of the Obscurous, why couldn't they make up their minds as to what to call it? We're first introduced to it as an "Obscurous," but by the end of the film, everyone is calling it an "Obscurial." Which is it? Sloppy writing and filmmaking abound in this lackluster film that only gets any sort of credit because it did have some sort of charm that made it worth one viewing.
J. K. Rowling