Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

(UK/USA, 2016)

I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling, both as an author and a human being. She is a huge contributor to several charities, and politically has donated £1,000,000 to the Labour Party, another million to the anti-separatist cause in Scotland, and another million against Brexit. She is reputed to be the only writer who has ever made a billion dollars at her craft, and I can believe it, with the fantastic success of the books, movies, the infinite amounts of Harry Potter merchandise, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan, three whole theme parks devoted to her stories! I really liked the Potter books, and I understand the books she has written for adults are good, too.

But this is the first time she has scripted a movie, and I’m sorry to say that it’s not very good. I don’t know how faithful it is to the book it’s based on, but there really isn’t much to see here. The effects are amazing, of course, but the story is the same-old same-old. Nothing new here at all. Nothing that challenges my imagination. Eddie Redmayne is mis-cast as a bumbling wizard who keeps insisting that the creatures in his infinite suitcase are harmless, as they lay waste to large parts of 1926 New York. You can’t tell me that many, many people were not killed or injured in the mayhem we see. But guess what? Wizards come along and magically put everything back together and wipe out the memories of the muggles. So … it never happened! How fucking convenient! I wonder, did they resurrect the dead, too? This is very lazy, very sloppy storytelling. If all damage can be un-done, why the hell should I care what happens?

But I guess I must just be an old sourpuss muggle, because I’m the only one who seems to have noticed this. It got good reviews, and has grossed almost a billion dollars, so it is now the first episode of a trilogy. I don’t think I’ll watch the other two.