Wow, I mean WOW. I'm completely blown away. I'm talking about the LOVE MEME at lokifan
's journal! AAAAHHHHHH people are being so kind and ridiculously amazing and it's SO GREAT to read, I'm just obsessively reading other people's threads and feeling all happy and choked and contented and EEEEEEEEEEEE. Fandom really is the best place. And someone said I made Draco's exposed wrist when he's stirring soup hot AAAHHHH YESS I CAN DIE HAPPY. Thank you very much to everyone who has contributed to that utterly glorious meme, it's a joy, such a joy.
And then I saw Fantastic Beasts. The non-spoilery version is that I feel quite mixed about it, and liked it a lot less than I was expecting, which was a real surprise to me? But that there was a lot of good in it, too. And the spoilery version is below.I think my main problem was that there was just too much crammed into 2 hours 13 minutes. There were such a lot of new characters and settings to introduce, and I felt like we kept racing from one to another and this felt ultimately unsatisfying. I didn't feel like we got more than a snapshot of the personalities involved, and the relationships between them were mostly sketchy at best. It also felt like two films, one with Newt being all adorable and making new friends and having hijinks with his kooky creatures, and one with Credence and Graves and Mary Lou and dark forces and angst and death chambers (what the FUCK was that? Really?). And they couldn't decide which tone they were going for, so they tried both, and it... just didn't work, for me at least.
I liked Newt a lot; Eddie Redmayne is a very loveable actor, and Newt is a beautiful character, although I would have liked more things about him explored. Why did people find him annoying? He seemed mostly charming. I love his physical awkwardness, his single-mindedness, his loner characteristics, and his self-deprecation. I also thought he was quite asexual, which was actually refeshing in a male lead? But then made for this awkward, unconvincing arc with Tina.
I didn't warm to Tina at all. Again, it was refreshing to have a female lead who wasn't overtly sexual, but I found her cold and her motives were sort of confusing and unbelievable. She seemed to spend most of the film frowning. When she and Newt had their little moment at the end, I felt... odd. There was absolutely no chemistry between them throughout the film and then when he touched her hair, it felt inappropriate and.... ugh. I didn't like it. I can't imagine shipping Newt with anyone at the moment, but I'm prepared to be proved wrong, heh. I also felt unsatisfied with his relationship with Jacob - he said near the end, "I like you. You're my friend," and it's clearly this touching moment, but I didn't FEEL that connection between them during the film, even though I wanted to.
Have to say Queenie and Jacob were adorable together. I liked Queenie far more than I thought I would. The actory played her so appealingly, she had a real charm. I read a review which said something like "never since Ron bagged Hermione has a man got a witch so out of his league", but I found her attraction to Jacob quite believable in that she clearly fell in love with his mind, ahhhhh. Personally, I find Dan Fogler attractive anyway, so pppffffftttt.
Jacob was a joy, an utter joy. Which brings me onto the part I really, REALLY hated: when Jacob got Obliviated. I was absolutely devastated by this. I loved Jacob so much. He's the film's beloved Muggle character, who is allowed to come along for the ride with the magical people, who is explicitly told "You're one of us now" (and this clearly meant a lot to him as he echoes it back to Queenie later), and he allows everyone in the audience to feel the wonder of the magical world through his reactions and awe. He's US, he's all of us in fandom. We're not wizards, but when we watch Jacob, we feel like we could be, and that we could be accepted and valued in the magical world. I found this so powerfully affecting. I thought it was a genius move, really a gift to the audience, and then-
FUCK. They Obliviated him. They could have fought it, found a way out of it - MACUSA didn't even stick around to make sure it was done, but no. He walked willingly into the rain because he thought it was the right thing to do, and he's a profoundly good guy, and they stood and watched him. FUCK. I flat out hated this. I know it was meant to pull at our heartstrings, and I was fighting tears through the whole scene, but I didn't let myself cry because I was so ANGRY. There was just no need to do it, and I felt BETRAYED, that the film makers did this on purpose, showed him the reality of the magical world and let him feel a part of it, let us share his joy and then TOOK IT AWAY. Purely to make us sniffle a bit into our popcorn.
I seriously think this was a DICK MOVE, and I'm not going to forgive them for it. I'm guessing Jacob doesn't stay Obliviated? He clearly has some memories as we see at the end - I *adored* the pastry Nifflers, so hard - and recognises something in Queenie that's more than "ooh, pretty lady in my shop." They've left it open for him to rejoin the magical world in the future. In which case why make the Obliviation scene so painful? Just to fuck with us? I hated it. Truly.
The other character I loved was Credence. God, I love the misfits and the freaks. I want all the Credence backstory and I want him in the rest of the series and I *whisper* I think I want Credence fic. Possibly with Graves pinning him up against a wall in an alleyway and-- Yep. Sorry. But they killed him? Again, wtf? I'm just.... huh? It felt cheap, again, like our sympathies were aroused for this fucked-up person, who just happened to be ANOTHER magically gifted child raised in an abusive setting by Muggles, with his magical parentage denied through fear and bigotry. So there's those parallels, which got all of my feels rampaging around for this character who was the catalyst for so much of the film's action, and a brilliantly compelling creation from Ezra Miller, and then they go, "Yeah, kill him off." AUGH?
Aaaaaand GRAVES. OMG. I wasn't expecting to have Graves feels. He kind of took me aback at the fan event when they showed us the first 10 mins, and he was standing in the rubble with his coat all billowing, and my ovaries sort of sat up and went "HHHNGH?" He was so physically excellent. I think this is the first time I've seen an actor make magic look the way I imagine it to look when done by a powerful wizard. He had complete conviction, the way he moved, all of his gestures, the way he used his wand, his whole body going with it. It looked natural and flawless and powerful and really HOT. I approve 100% and am going to use this for inspiration when I'm writing people casting spells. I've seen interviews with the other actors, Eddie, Alison and Katherine, where they each said they felt so awkward with their wands at first, like self-conscious and silly. I think they did a good job in the end, but Graves was just GRRRRRRR YES, he clearly had no such qualms about feeling silly, he WAS a wizard. I adored that. And his voice was also wonderful.
So then, the Graves reveal - AUGH again! I wanted more of Graves being sinister with Credence in alleyways! I need menacing intense Colin Farrell whispering, not bad Johnny Depp German! I have to say, I enjoyed the surprise of the reveal, even though it was a bit daft. who_la_hoop saw it coming from the beginning. We were laughing at Grindelwald thinking, "I know, I'll change my complete appearance EXCEPT FOR THE HAIRCUT. I have to keep the evil sexy haircut at all costs." :D
The beasts... I was worried this would be a problem for me, and, yep, it was. I'm really not into beasts. I LOVED the Niffler. It was cute and hilarious, and the scene where it's hiding in the jewellery shop window with its arm outstretched as Newt walks by is probably my favourite thing ever.
Yep, I'd watch a LOT more of the Niffler. But the others... *sigh*. There were so MANY of them, and really, Newt's suitcase was cool, but that looooong section with all of the beasts really didn't hold my attention. I find it hard to care about things that are basically CGI creations. I admit Pickett was cute, but the rest felt like, "Here's a lot of pretty magic things to amuse the children in the audience." But then it wasn't really a children's film.
And so many confusing questions. Why did Newt have to take a boat and go through Muggle customs? What happened to Portkeys and Apparating? They Apparate all over the fucking place throughout the rest of the film, and there seems no internal logic (eg "You can't Apparate in the grounds of Hogwarts") to it. Ditto Accioing things - they didn't REALLY need a teapot, did they (I was starting to see why Newt said people found him irritating, at this point) and if they did, er, how about using magic, instead of throwing a cockroach twenty feet into a TEAPOT (sorry, the teapot really got my goat).
And the death chamber? HELP? That was sick and sinister and HUHHHH? They decide to kill them, but they're going to suck out their memories and put them in a bath of magical acid first, so they can willingly go into it and be consumed very slowly (giving them time to escape)? And if there's two people this is happening to, they let the second one watch the first dying?? I can't TELL you what my face was doing during this bit. And the Lestrange teasers? Where are they going with that?
So, can anyone explain why Grindelwald wanted to find the Obscurial? I didn't get that at all. And was Ariana Dumbledore an Obscurus too? I like this new canon, but I am confused by it.
I also had mixed feelings about the clothes. Graves looked EXCELLENT. My feelings on Newt's outfit are probably clear from my obsession with it. But in general, people weren't wizardy enough. The Aurors looked shit, I'm sorry. They should look magical and amazing, and not have leather macs and bad hats.
To sum up: It feels like a nice set up for a longer story, introducing lots of new details about the magical world (and random beautiful things like: magical umbrellas! YESSS!). The plot is presumably leading up to the war, and that's all exciting and cool. But I feel like they can't decide WHICH story IS the story, and I hope the later films have more clarity about that. I hope they find a way to give the characters enough airtime for us to really get to know them. And that there are fewer beasts. Which I admit seems unlikely, given the name of the franchise.
I read a few reviews and this one says a lot of what I think, and also this one, but more elegantly. I agree with pretty much all of that first review except the griffin - I didn't give a fuck about the griffin :D
I would LOVE to hear what people think about any of this! I'm so interested in different reactions to the film! I'm going with other friends on Sunday, and I'll see how I feel after seeing it a second time.
Oh and one more thing, who_la_hoop, who is an ACTUAL REAL WIZARD, managed to get Cursed Child tickets on the Friday 40 where they release 40 of the best tickets each week for a ludicrous low price, So we're going again! On Thursday and Friday (we have to watch it on two separate days this time) and I am part stunned, part excited, and part terrified for my soul, ahahahahahaaaa. And I realise I never finished my reviews of it from last time, sigh. One day I will get to all my unfinished projects, but not today.
LOVE TO EVERYONE! ♥
ETA: the comments are pretty spoilery, too, so please take care!