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You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
Why Isn't He In Prison? Why Isn't He In Seven Inception-Style Prisons? 
20th-Nov-2016 10:43 am
the end
I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yesterday!

I enjoyed Jacob! The Dursleys were the only Muggles who really had a role in the books, so it was good to see a Muggle who is not a terrible arsehole and gets to take part in adventures. I loved the way he went from complete bewilderment to just being awed by everything, and I'd like to see him back in future films. (I, er, I hope the Obliviating rain means he's no longer wanted for apparently robbing a bank and a jeweller's.)

I found the romances very unconvincing, which, to be fair, is sort of what I expect from Harry Potter. (Cursed Child looked like it was going to be an exception to this, until I realised to my genuine shock that the relationship between Albus and Scorpius was not, in fact, being intentionally built up as romantic.) Please put some effort into developing characters' relationships if you want the audience to become invested! I don't know how you managed to take 'forbidden romance between a magical and a non-magical person' and make it dull!

At least Newt and Tina didn't kiss in this film. I was internally screaming NO, DON'T, YOU'RE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING THERE YET at their last scene together. I actually hadn't realised there was supposed to be any sort of romantic connection between them until that scene. Again, you need buildup and chemistry before starting to hint at romance, or it's all going to feel a bit 'he was a boy, she was a girl; can I make it any more obvious?'

Newt himself was an interesting character! I'm not sure what I was expecting, but he wasn't it. I read him as autistic, and I think that may have been intended, although, again, since Cursed Child I don't really trust myself to interpret intent in Harry Potter any more. He reminded me of the Eleventh Doctor, actually. In fact, he reminded me so strongly of the Eleventh Doctor that I find it hard to remember that the two characters are played by different actors.

I liked Tina, her determination to get her job back, her general awkwardness. I get the impression that she's constantly trying to be professional and is just very bad at it.

The setting was gorgeous! It was interesting to get a look at the wizarding world in another time and place. The 1920s wizarding world didn't feel as different from the 1990s wizarding world as I was expecting, but I suppose that makes sense, because the wizarding world hasn't gone through the same technological developments as the Muggle world.

(I actually thought 'oh, because it's the 1920s' at both the gun-toting police and the bit where Newt and Tina are sentenced to death, and it didn't hit me until some time later that armed police and the death penalty are both still very much around in the modern-day United States.)

Graves was excellent, and I'm pretty unhappy that the development at the end means Farrell probably won't be playing the character in future films. Here's the thing about dramatic 'this character was actually the villain in disguise ALL ALONG' reveals: they don't work when the disguise is more striking than the actual villain. Farrell as Graves is absolutely magnetic; he drew attention before he'd even spoken. Depp as Grindelwald, alas, is not.

That scene with Graves giving Credence the necklace was really hot and I'm concerned by this.

(It's just as well that I don't foresee myself really getting into this fandom in a 'creating and consuming fanworks' way, because I suspect there are going to be some really vicious, horrible arguments over the Graves-and-Credence dynamic. I have very little patience for the 'it's morally wrong to write manipulative, horrible pairings' attitude in the modern fandom climate; it just seems to lead to attacking real, living people in order to 'protect' fictional characters.)

In conclusion, there were some things that worked better than others for me, but this was good fun! I enjoyed it, and I'm happy to accept it as Harry Potter canon, whereas I had reservations about accepting Cursed Child.

(Although there was no mention of Phineas Nigellus, and I am deeply disappointed by this.)
20th-Nov-2016 02:26 pm (UTC)
I read him as autistic too - the slightly awkward way he held himself and the avoiding of the eyes reminded me very strongly of my brother.

I was so disappointed with the Grindelwald reveal. I was loving Colin Farrell - he was so magnetic and charismatic and had such presence, you could see why he might have fanatical followers. But Johnny Depp? I nearly snorted my Pepsi all over me in laughter when that was the reveal, so if it was supposed to be dramatic...epic fail.
20th-Nov-2016 03:37 pm (UTC)
I was loving Colin Farrell - he was so magnetic and charismatic and had such presence, you could see why he might have fanatical followers.

Exactly! It's a travesty that they had the perfect person for the role and replaced him with someone so ill-suited.
21st-Nov-2016 08:39 am (UTC)
I agree about the reveal! I don't mind Depp and imagine he might be able to do something interesting in the next installment - but as a dramatic moment, this reveal was weak.

To me the whole film felt quite Phantom-Menace-y: sort-of but not-quite familiar world building, some fun characters and some weak ones, slightly too obviously setting up for a sequel, etc.
21st-Nov-2016 09:48 am (UTC)
I have a feeling there are going to be tense Dumbledore-and-Grindelwald scenes in future films and I'm going to spend all of them picturing Colin Farrell there instead. Stupid Farrell, getting me attached to his portrayal.

(Before watching the film, I saw people online talking about how hot Colin Farrell was in it and I was really confused. 'Colin Farrell? Hot? Really?' It took me a good while to realise I was thinking of Will Ferrell.)
21st-Nov-2016 02:14 pm (UTC)
Indeed - given what Rowling's said about Dumbledore and Grindelwald, I'll be interested to see how they handle that relationship, as well as how they develop Grindelwald as a character. For want of a better way of putting it, I'm going to use D&D alignments to make the following point: I felt like Farrell gave us an excellent lawful evil character here, while I associate Depp with more chaotic characters (whether evil or not).
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