As big fan of JK Rowling and her work it upsets me to say that upon watching this picture I found it as a whole, rather mediocre. While the direction and general story of the movie were pretty decent I found it was not at all what I expected. As its own film I’d probably give it an 8/10 but as a prequel of one of the most popular movie and book series of this age, I’d probably give it around a 5. My reasons for this are quite simple: the overlying plot of the movie I found was quite vague and confusing, and to me it just seemed like just another “fight for our kind” style movie. This being said, I haven’t read the book so as it stands I base my critique on the movie alone. Should I get around to reading the book my opinion may change, or it may not…that remains to be seen.
As the movie begins it doesn’t really explain much to you about the main character Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne nor does it explain much about his journey. What is interesting however, is up until around the 60-80 minute mark you’re constantly left wondering “what the hell is in that case?” and also “is that it?”. This for me is one of the only redeeming points of the movie. After the 60 minute mark it all just goes down-hill…essentially becoming just another action movie. Having said that, the overall direction and general story as I’ve stated previously are well worth paying to see.
The main problem I have with this movie, to be quite honest is the fact that I was under the impression it was going to be more of an exploration and discovery movie than an action adventure, fantasy. It does however show the first on screen appearance of the Death Eater, Grindelwald played by Johnny Depp whom I have only ever heard mention of in the book series, and occasionally in the deathly hallows movies…this brought a whole new light to the movie franchise as it gave us a deeper understanding of the origin of the death eaters. The movie also gives us an understanding of the reason the law for underage wizardry was created, and why it is important for wizards to harness their power instead of suppressing it.
To summarise, I would definitely say this movie is worth a watch, but I would suggest you attempt to watch it as its own film, rather than as a prequel, as I feel this was probably my mistake. If you do watch however, as with any Rowling story, be sure to pay very close attention to detail as it is most definitely a “blink and you miss something” type of movie.
Words by Kyle Barraclough