When I bought a crazily expensive 26£-ticket for a Saturday night run of Magical Beasts I could only hope for one thing – not to be disappointed.
Well, what can I say, I really fucking was.
Even though the first time I read the books was when I was about 15, I grew up with Harry Potter movies just like many other kids of my generation. These movies and books cannot be compared or seen as one solid piece – though connected with one story, they are drastically different and therefore independent, at least for me.
Books became a legend. Films were just good. It is pointless to talk about the whole complexity and timelessness of them both. The fact stays the same – they were charismatic, bold and magical. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Not really. Do not get me wrong, the movie was beautiful, the actors were great (the cameo of Johny Depp was a total surprise for me) and I don’t even want to think about how much time and money was spent on visual effects. It was a pretty decent blockbuster to kill a couple of hours in the evening but this movie has no part in the beloved Harry Potter saga.
First of all, and I think this is important, the film was based on an idea of a school book that was used in Hogwarts, J. Rowling wrote a screenplay herself especially for the movie. The reason why I stress that is because I think that this movie is a strictly commercialised project. If original HP series was born for the sake of art and self-expression, MB&WTFT was made with an intention to make more money on an original idea, to sell Harry Potter once again. Though I hoped that it wouldn’t happen to this franchise, It wasn’t particularly a surprise. It happens all the time, especially in Hollywood. Speaking of which, it is one of the most
Hollywoodised movies I’ve ever seen. It has it all –
an awkward protagonist that becomes a
hero and saves the day? check!
a G-rated embryo of a love story? yas.
a lot of booms, pows and colourful andexciting monsters? you bet.
As a result, it looks chaotic, awkward and just too much. There is no wow-factor left, you get bored by the middle of the movie because you feel like you’ve already seen it all and in fact, you really have.
It was very obvious how the creators tried to connect this film with the original series but it turned out to be just clumsy. They approached the story of Gellert Grindelwald but it was very skin-deep with some slipping shots of Deathly Hallows necklace; they mentioned Hogwarts and Dumbledore but with uncomfortable assumption of him being a lover of Newt Scamander (the protagonist); the “bad guys” were flying around resembling Death Eaters but that was pretty much all. Everything else was like from a completely different story, another universe and even fantastic beasts themselves looked like nothing you would imagine living in the Forbidden Forest.
On the bright side, it was interesting to see how the difference between Brits and Americans was portrayed and how the American wizarding world was represented in general. For example, in the American version of Ministry of Magic – MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America) – they have a President (a black woman, by the way) instead of a Minister of Magic like in Britain. If in Britain house-elves are slaves and wear pillow cases, in America they work as equals and wear suits.
The whole thing about equality and legal rights was played with quite provocatively, like the episode where Newt and Porpentina get imprisoned without trial and sentenced to a death penalty. To perform a death sentence in American wizarding community, people in white robes extract the happiest memory from the prisoner and put it into a deadly pool, so they would die willingly. Interestingly enough, in the original series the happiest memory was used to produce a patronus – a protector, the “positive force, a projection of the very things that the Dementor feeds upon – hope, happiness, the desire to survive”.
All in all, the movie was okay. It is shot beautifully with the full use of modern technologies and it is very nice to look at but that is all. The plot is messy and the general atmosphere doesn’t give you these tingles like the original series; it doesn’t aw
aken an inner child in you, in fact, it doesn’t awaken anything. You are
not excited, you are just amused and it conflicts with the original concept drastically. Even the famous main theme doesn’t save the day. I would say that I appreciate the attempts to
revive the story but so far both Cursed Child and
Magical Beasts are just plain bad. Let’s just hope that 4 upcoming “beast” movies will
make America great again reveal the story better and who knows, maybe open a whole new chapter in a magical universe. #stillhopeful
As for now, the rant is over.