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[personal profile] therealsnape
This afternoon I've been to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Here's the short version:

Fantastic Beasts: very well done. They knew where to find them and how to bring them alive.

Plot: Alas, they were totally unable find one.

All in all, despite my enthusiasm after seeing the trailer and my real eagerness to see the film, I thought it a waste of time.

It must be said, though, that I really don't like action movies. And this is an action movie: good guys hitting bad guys and bad guys hitting good guys and a Force of Evil that hits just about everyone. I find that sort of thing seriously boring, and what I loved about the Potter books was that they were so much more than that. And the part of it that was action was about a quest. To me, that's something entirely different.

So if you enjoy action movies, you may well like this one. The visuals are stunning.



What I liked: all the visual aspects. They are really well done.

The beasts. They are beautifully-executed and come in an interesting variety. Some are cute, like the bowtruckle, some are impressive, some are downright hilarious. The scenes with the beasts are by far the best part.

The costumes are well-done too. I especially liked those in the magical flapper-nightclub. And need I say I loved the pink coat?

I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner party scene in the girls' house. The apartment was beautifully done, cozy but in line with the girls' position in life, and it was great fun to see how magical people arrange their parties and how the food is cooked. This is truly a scene to remember and to use as visuals when writing fanfic, and it's all the more interesting because the technicalities of house-keeping are an adult theme, and as Harry wouldn't notice them, they're not in the books. But they're fascinating.

I also admired the scene in which Tina is sentenced to death. There's a Ministry employee in that scene, a woman of colour, who does a brilliant acting job. When you watch the scene, you like her because she's so kind and humane - if you were in hospital, you'd be glad to have such a warm, caring nurse. Only, later, when you reconsider the film, you realise she does what the Ministry tells her, i.e. kills people, without a scruple. And she probably goes home and feels good about the caring way in which she does it. Her neighbours would call her a lovely woman, and if they only see the caring side, they cannot be blamed for doing so. She probably is a lovely neighbour. Seriously scary, that scene, all the more because it does take time to figure it out.

And perhaps even more scary because I didn't feel any critical distance in the story line. The bit about 'how caring is this woman really?', 'what happens here?', 'is a government that orders this even remotely OK?' - it's hardly there. It's like Gilderoy - there, too, I felt that the aspect of a man who destroys other people's minds, the truly psychopathic point of view behind that, got seriously overlooked. But the books were aimed at a children, and perhaps that age group shouldn't contemplate the full horror of such a deed. These movies aim at a more adult group.

Also, what happened to Aveda Kedavra? That's as good a way to execute the death penalty as any. Well, I know what happened: That spell acts at once; there is no time for a lengthy scene full of life-passing-before-us. No time for maidens rescued by heroes either. But in that case: reconsider your plot. Write better.

And Carmen Ejogo, who plays the Wizarding President, is a truly beautiful woman.

What I didn't like: the rest.

The story line is more than flimsy. It's practically non-existant. Basically, Newt goes to New York. (Lovely visuals of 1920's NYC)
He has this suitcase full of Fantastic Beasts. He's not very good at keeping them in the suitcase.

So: mayhem in bank.

In the bank, he encounters the thoroughly lovable Jacob Kowalski, baker-to-be, who carries a similar but non-magical suitcase. And yes, the cases get mixed up. This is a plotline so boring one can only yawn through it.

Then there's this kick-ass girl. She's an Auror (but one who just lost her job for saying unpalatable truths) and she is allowed to be a proper little second-fiddle Hermione alongside Newt. The actress makes of it what she can, and part of the problem is that it's only about Newt's beasts, and he is the expert on those. But this is a young woman who could and should have agency at some point in the story. And she doesn't.

Then there's a Minister of Magic (or President, as they call them in the USA) who is both a woman and a person of colour. She's also incompetent (sending people away when they want to tell you something and then complain they didn't tell it is not a good plan) and is as decent a ruler as Carroll's Queen of Hearts. Moreover, her Ministry (and ultimately its President) is very casual about sentencing people to death.

In fact, the whole depiction of American wizard society, with its severely restrictive rules like an absolute ban on marrying or even befriending a Nomaj, is a typical case of America-bashing.

And then we get to see the contents of Newt's suitcase, and that's another fantastic visual. Truly. It's glorious.

But.

Either it is possible that Newt was capable of creating this suitcase (and while the Little Beaded Bag contained full bookshelves, this piece of luggage contains the world, more or less. A huge Zoo, with more outdoor space, from desert to Antarctica, than any Zoo ever had).

And if he can do that, he can also keep the damn thing shut and make sure his creatures don't go running all over the place.

Or he can't keep his blooming luggage shut, in which case the notion that he could create, own, or manage this separate universe is ridiculous. So while you look at the stunning visuals, there's a little voice that says, "This is nonsense. There's no way our likeable little blunderer manages this."

And then there are scenes of destruction and more scenes of destruction and a base traitor. It's clear from scene one he's the base traitor.

And there's another woman in a position of power, and she is horrible, too. A sort of Muggle Umbridge. And, you know, I'd really like to see a woman in a position of power who does an excellent job.

And then NYC gets torn down and reconstructed. Reparo must be a seriously handy little spell to know. And the whole city gets Obliviated. Not literally a Deus ex machina, but the quality of Obliviation is not strained, it droppeth like the gentle rain from heavens, and it felt like the worst of Dei to me.

But in the end Jacob gets his bakery (you can see that one coming, too) and lo and behold: it's in Orchard Street. And I have lovely memories of Orchard Street. So it ended on a pleasant note.

Date: 2016-11-21 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Thank you so much - I just love to read your film-reviews! I know I am not going to spend money on a movie-ticket (have none to spare at the moment, we have to do a big (last?)investment on the house these days), but I will be so glad to be able to discuss it with A., who is watching it at her Uni-town cinema (OV) as I write :-).
I can very well imagine the high magic of the universe of the suitcase clashing with the carelessness of its owner (this kind of jumped out at me when I watched the trailer) would bother me to no end.
And *yeah* for your thoughts on creating women in a position of power on the screen who are really good at it.

Date: 2016-11-23 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
If you do get interested after reading all the debate, note that there are some snake-like creatures. They have little wings and a bird's head as well, but be prepared for some coiling and slithering.

Wouldn't want you to get the shock of seeing it unprepared.

Date: 2016-11-23 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Thank you for this warning - I think I'll definitely skip the 3D then, which A. went to see (wich made her trying to grab a piece of the apple-strudel, as she told me :-) ).

Date: 2016-11-22 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queen-of-snapes.livejournal.com
The Consort asked if I wanted to see it (with an air of annoyance, like he would come along grudgingly because I went along to some superhero movie he really wanted to see) and was surprised when I said I wasn't interested. I really don't care about any of the new stuff...

BUT now that you mention visual reference for writing fanfics my resolve wavers a little. Not that I'm writing much these days, but there's a lot going on in my mind and the movie might offer some nice ideas.

Date: 2016-11-23 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
Oh, perhaps you'll find it great fun, by all means, see for yourself. I just really didn't like it, but that's an opinion.

Date: 2016-11-27 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranky--crocus.livejournal.com
Watch it with me on Skype/rabb.it/whatever else where we can mock it without fear of disturbing others. :D

my daughter's answering review:

Date: 2016-11-23 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Hi dear TRS: I sent your review along to my daughter, because she went to see it on the same day you did and I wanted to be able to discuss it with her..... oh my, was I in for a rant on the phone later - she could not disagree any stronger with your "waste of time", she will see it again at the weekend.... and she wrote this down for me to post, if I like:

Well, I kinda disagree…

- Consider that by reading the following you will be hugely SPOILED!!! -

I absolutely LOVED the movie (and I expected a let down)! I liked it even more than the Harry-Potter movies (wich doesn’t in any way include the books).
Yes, maybe Rowling needs a little more time to get the hang of writing screenplays instead of novels, but if we keep in mind, that this was the first out of five films, it perfectly makes sense for the story! I agree that there was more „action“ than in the first few hp-movies and the the visual effects, costumes and sets were beautifully done. But the movie is so much more than destroying buildings! In my very own biased opinion it is teaching to appreciate the differences in people, wich is a strong message in these times and one we badly need. Friends of mine who watched it with me say the message contained more of „people have to care more about the nature and the world" and "family-abuse and teenage-angst". (And I don’t even want to start on that wrecked relationship between Percival Graves and Credence. That psychological abuse was - for lack of words - mind-blowing!)

The America-setting delivered a very interesting new view on the witch- and wizardry-community and I was sitting in the theatre wishing that I had a laptop with me to write a study about the political and social structures and developments. I didn’t see any ‚America-bashing‘ whatsoever in the movie. It’s 1926 for gods sake! In real life the marriage between people of different skincolour was still forbidden 1950 in 30 states. So the Rapppaport’s Law is more of a metaphor than ‚bashing‘. (Btw, the Rappaport’s Law was created 1790 as a "result of one of the worst breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy ever known, a breach in which the daughter of Rappaport’s Keeper of Treasure and Dragots and a Scourer descendant almost exposed the existence of magic worldwide“. Rowling [2016]: Rappaport's Law. Pottermore.com)


Re: my daughter's answering review:

Date: 2016-11-23 10:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] minervas_eule, for taking the trouble to post this! Please feel free to send my email address to your daughter for further correspondence; Minerva's Owl you may be, but that doesn't mean you have to go on delivering letters.

(ETA: I have set this post to public and for the time being allowed anonymous comments, so you can send your daughter the link if she wants to comment directly.)

My dear (I won't use your real name in this space, so please allow me to call you this),

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write all this and start up such a fascinating debate.

Your review had to be posted in four comments, and your mother carefully separated them by theme, so I'll answer in separate sections, too.

First of all, thank you for pointing out the US laws on interracial marriages and their dates. I was clearly insufficiently aware of this, and your point is an excellent one.

Then there is the Pottermore backstory, and I'll use this comment to go into my ideas on that aspect.

Now, you did mention that as an aspiring writer and a teacher of literature you find the comment on bad writing offensive. My dear, both as a teacher and as an author you will have to be able to look critically at texts, even if they are texts that are very dear to your heart as a reader or that you wrote yourself.

What JKR does here is a mistake ever writer has made - I have often made it myself and so will you when you write. When one writes fiction, one has one's own head-canon of people's backstories and the world you created for them.

And occasionally, one forgets that readers cannot look into your head and see that backstory.

Which is why ever writer needs a good beta-writer who will point this out. At which point my first response is usually, 'but what I write makes perfect sense because [insert headcanon information]. And the second response should be: true, my readers had no way of knowing this. I must find a way of informing them.

Someone should have pointed out to JKR that, while she may expect the movie-going audience to be familiar with the books and/or the movies (I think it unlikely that large groups of people who never took any interest in the Potterverse will now flock to Fantastic Beasts), she must not expect complete familiarity with Pottermore.

No, she doesn't have to explain who Grindelwald is, and yes, she may refer to Dumbledore the teacher or to Letta Lestrange (very nice touch, I thought), because all this is in the books/movies. Also, it's fun for the true Potterhead to pick up the references, but it doesn't affect one's understanding of the story to miss them.

But she should have explained vital points of the Pottermore backstory.

She could have done this easily, for Newt Scamander is the perfect vehicle for this information.

"Don't you know what happened here? Didn't you learn about the Salem Trials at school?" Tina might well ask this foreign young man.

And if Newt would say that History of Magic wasn't really his favourite subject and that he didn't really pay attention, he would not be a bad student, merely one of generations of Cuthbert Binns' old boys and girls to feel that way. It fits the book/movie canon beautifully.

And any bit of contemporary information Newt and the audience don't know, could be explained to Newt, who has just spent a long time doing research in Africa, so he hasn't seen all the papers. And he only just arrived in the US.

If the 'mayhem with beasts' scenes would have been slightly shortened, something that could be done, imho, one could easily gain three or four minutes overall movie time, to be used for these explanations at various moment.

Edited Date: 2016-11-23 01:23 pm (UTC)

2. part

Date: 2016-11-23 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Concerning the Death sentence: Avada Kedavra isn’t used for practice of justice. We know that already from Harry Potter where the Death sentence is exercised by the death eaters, and it isn’t really human-friendly either. I’m personally strictly against death penalty, but we all know it is still used in America so I think it’s quite plausible the magical-community - especially in 1926 - is using it as well. And considering their past with the Scourers it is very logical, they wanted to leave a punishing element for determent. (excursus: Scourer are an unscrupulous band of corrupt wizard mercenaries, who enjoyed bloodshed and torture and did trafficking not only with No-Majs but fellow wizards as well, a few of them were even intensifier in the Salem Trials. This was one of the reasons for the creation of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in 1693 - their Emblem is a ‚burning‘ eagle - who put the Scourers on trial for betraying their own kind. A lot of them could ‚vanish‘ into the No-Maj communities and some of them even married No-Majs. But the desire for revenge grew in the Scourers and so they passed a strong belief that magic was real and had to be exterminated onto their descendants. - cf.: Rowling [2016]: History of Magic in North America. Seventeenth Century and Beyond. potter more.com) And to be honest I find it very philosophical that the convicted is being burned by his own memories in an own aspiration to die. I can also understand that Tina and Newt are being sentenced to death under those circumstances. The Congress is on high alert, their highest goal is not to be exposed to No-Maj Scourers who would immediately start a second Salem and here are two people (one of wich has already committed such a crime) who not only exposed magic to a lot of No-Majs, but befriended one (against the Rappaport Law) and released magical creatures which could endanger many more people. It is in their eyes a heavy crime which could easily be committed by a supporter of Grindelwald in favor of exposing the magical community to force them to suppress the No-Majs. With all this in mind it is very logical to choose this sentence in that form and I find it as a fellow wanna-be-author and a future literatur-teacher very offending to write „I know what happened“ and „reconsider your plot. write better.“
Edited Date: 2016-11-23 07:03 am (UTC)

Re: 2. part

Date: 2016-11-23 11:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
You are right in pointing out the part of the Dementors. And while the Dementor's kiss isn't technically a death penalty, it is de facto.

However, the Dementors are not fully controlled by the government. Their actions are a terrible consequence of using them as guardians; they are not in the position of official executor.

In this instance, the death sentence, if one may call it that, is given without a trial or a formal accusation, at the end of a witness interrogation.

In the books/movies, trials are held prior to a sentence of any kind. Even in the worst days, Dolores Umbridge holds trials prior to sentencing Muggle-borns. The difference between those trials and Harry's hearing before the Wizengamot clearly shows the horror of a totalitarian regime and the destruction of basic rights that goes with it. But even then the form of the trial is respected.

Here we see a guy who takes a witness statement and then, without so much as a by-your-leave, without even the presence of an observer, decides that two people must die.

One might argue that Percival Graves is, in fact, Grindelwald, and it's in character for Grindelwald to think he has the right to do this.

But there is no-one who questions the procedure - officials come, take the victims away, and start the execution.

From this point onwards, MACUSA can only be seen as the most frightening of totalitarian regimes, and the only answer is to oppose it by every means possible.

And I truly do not think that is the point JKR wanted to make; I do not think we are to see MACUSA as a despicable organisation. So yes, consider your plot.

As to the rescuing of maidens, see the comment in the 'women' section.

3. part

Date: 2016-11-23 07:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Let’s move on to the women of the movie. Porpentina is in no way ‚a Hermione‘. This are different stories, we don’t need to compare them. Besides, Hermione is smart, bossy and has a strong sense of justice. Tina is strong willed, job oriented, determined and proper. I don’t think that she is a ‚Hermione-sidekick‘ and I strongly believe she doesn’t have to be one (although both are quite ‚kick-ass girl[s]‘)! Queenie is my favorite character, because she is temperamental, undoubtedly very attractive and appears to be a little naive, but is very clever (and she knows how to use her looks without taking advantage of it) and has the heart at the right place. That is especially evident when she falls in love with Jacob, not because he’s a desirable man, but because she likes what and how he thinks wich is a huge deal for her as a Legilimentor. Mary Lou, the ‚Muggle-Umbridge‘ is in fact a descendant of a Scourer and therefor a bad guy, yes. But not every bad guy has to be a man and so I am very glad that the story shows again, that women can be foul as well. We have two brilliant, good women as heroes next to two male ones, so why can’t there be a female villain? I personally like it. President Picquery is indeed a beautiful women, but I don’t really care about that. She is strict, calculating and can delegate which is a good base for a competent President. Her sending Tina away (when she as a downgraded employee without any codetermination who could have been completely fired after her felony) is completely logical and right. We as viewers who know what Tinas concern was are of course in a superior place but from her point of view she can’t listen to every 'little insignificant employee' that bursts into a meeting with a problem. You want to see a woman in a powerful position who does a wonderful and empathic job? What happened to Minerva McGonagall? Or Hermione Granger who becomes prime minister after finishing school? In my opinion both did a bloody fantastic job at that!

I also liked the hints to Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the affectionate connection of the Thunderbird as one of the four houses saving the community.

The only thing that irked ME was the connecting of the wands in the fight between Tina and Graves. Johnny Depp wouldn’t have been my first choice as Grindelwald as charming winning psychopath, but maybe he will surprise me. Oh and I was wondering why Newt had to take the Ferry to get to America instead of just apperating. But maybe restrictions were more strict at that time...

Re: 3. part

Date: 2016-11-23 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
This are different stories, we don’t need to compare them. Well, they are set in the same universe and written by the same author, and pointing out a continuation of themes is perfectly permissible in literary criticism.

As you say, both Hermione and Tina are capable, smart, ambitious in a good way, and determined to do the right thing. And they are both shown as kick-ass girls.

But in both cases, there is an underlying theme of such a girl/woman doing nothing else with all of these things than assist the male hero in a second-fiddle position.

(Slightly less continuous in Hermione's case, but there the author had seven books to flesh out the character, and that does make a difference.)

And even Minerva McGonagall, who is all we have decribed in a fully adult version, spends most of her time supporting Albus. The final chapters of GoF are a case in point.

Tina really doesn't have any agency, in spite of all her abilities. Just to make sure we're singing from the same hymn book in terms of discourse, 'agency' to me is to take decisive action in one's one life, to make your own decisions and chose your own path.

No-one has that all the time: sometimes bad things just happen to people. But Tina is someone to whom everything just happens.

A perfect example of a woman with agency is Queenie, and I so agree with everything you say about her.

She has two very clear moments of agency (and for a supporting character, that's a lot!): when she says she wouldn't dream of Obliviating Jacob. That is very much her decision, against official rules.

And, even stronger, she decides that she wants to have Jacob in her life, and she seeks him out in his bakery. This is a woman who knows what she wants for her happiness, and who takes action to get it.

Now compare this scene to the farewell scene between Tina and Newt ...

As to President Pickery, you say Her sending Tina away (when she as a downgraded employee without any codetermination who could have been completely fired after her felony) is completely logical and right.

Absolutely true! At that point, with the intelligence available, that was the only thing to do.

But in the next scene between them, Pickery learns that Tina did have important information, that there was a problem. Not listening to her was a mistake. Understandable, but a mistake nonetheless.

And then she shows that she is, quite simply, not very good at being boss. To make a mistake and blame those below you in the hierarchy is bad management. To blame them while you are perfectly aware that they went above and beyond the call of duty to avoid the mistake is very bad management. To allow them to be executed within hours of this happening is ... unspeakable.

As to Hermione Granger the Prime Minister, if this is a reference to Cursed Child, I plan to read it this week and will get back to you if you are interested. If it's a Pottermore reference: please enlighten me. I don't have an account.


Edited Date: 2016-11-23 01:25 pm (UTC)

4. part

Date: 2016-11-23 07:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Having that said I will admit that the structure of the plot line could use some work. Superficially we have two: 1. Newt comes to New York, gets the suitcases confused with the No-Maj Jacob who lets some beasts free so Newt has to catch them again. 2. Grindelwald has fled from Europe to America and tries to set his plan into motion. The MACUSA, which is already very wary of the No-Maj community and their „danger“ to the magical community (thanks to Salem and the history with the Scourers), tries to eliminate every exposure of magic and is on high alert because an unknown magical creature is causing hysteria in the city. At this point both plot lines collide and Newt helps the Congress to identify the culprit and eliminate the danger.

To break it down: Maybe you should give the movie another shot. I was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of imagination and loving details considering the beasts and magical world and enjoyed every bit of comedy-vibe. I found it profoundly interesting to have a peak into the wizarding world of america especially from 1920! After all this was an adult movie and not a children’s book anymore.
And everything set beside, what makes more sense, than a movie about a Hufflepuff searching for things that have gone lost??

Re: 4. part

Date: 2016-11-23 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
Damn. A long comment just got eaten.

I agree on the two plotlines, the suitcase plot and the dark one. I think the dark one lacked the information to make it work; see above.

As to the suitcase plot, swapped suitcases/parcels are very much a cliché. One might call it a trope in a friendly mood. Mind, the trope can be executed in a fun way, and that it was, with the beautiful visuals we both agree upon.

But I have a problem with it, and it's something that happens more often in JKR's writing, though not before with such huge consequences.

On the one hand, JKR excels in writing fully fleshed-out, believable characters. Minerva McGonagall is one of them.

But sometimes JKR sacrifices this careful build-up for the sake of a fun moment. The scene in PoA where Neville has written down the passwords and Minerva punishes him for it is a case in point.

It’s a fun, well-written scene. A peach of a scene. But a good editor would have told JKR to kill this particular darling, because it is totally out-of-character for competent, intelligent, and above all responsible Minerva to deny a student the safety of the common room while a mad mass-murderer is out and about.

But this is a minor issue, since it doesn't affect the overall plotline, nor does it undermine completely the otherwise excellent characterisation of Minerva.

But here we are to believe that Newt is a capable, intelligent wizard who is an expert in his chosen subject. And he is familiar with a Statute of Secrecy; it’s not as if hiding things from Muggles is a totally new habit he has to pick up. He has arguably made and certainly maintains that huge, highly-magical suitcase.

And yet he is such a blunderer that he cannot keep it shut. While he goes after one creature, he loses an egg where Muggles can find it, and then he loses the suitcase altogether.

That is so incongruous. And it’s the basis for the whole suitcase plot.

what makes more sense, than a movie about a Hufflepuff searching for things that have gone lost?? Given the incongruity outlined above, one could make the very Slytherin remark that it would take a Hufflepuff to lose them in the first place. And I find that a tremendous weakness of the story. If Newt is competent, he can’t be this consistently idiotic.

I wanted to do justice to your interesting review by giving you full replies, thank you for bearing with me.

One small request - could you possibly use more blank lines in an answer? It's probably an age thing, but even with my reading glasses those large blocks of text were difficult to manage.
Edited Date: 2016-11-23 12:23 pm (UTC)

Re: 4. part

Date: 2016-11-23 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
My Hufflepuff-girl is here with me today (to bake cookies in a real kitchen ;-)), and has read your answers already, very eagerly so and at first a bit disappointed that there was no comment to the last part. I will copy it all for her and give her your email, because she has lots more to say *LOL* ... that is what life with grown-up kids is like, they always know better and must have the last word ;-). She says what you see as weakness is what she embraces lovingly: Newt is a Hufflepuff and that makes it all just right the way he is/acts...

Re: 4. part

Date: 2016-11-23 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
Which last part? I can see four parts of the comment, and I answered to all, the one after the other. I've rewritten the comment to section 4 after the disappearing act; it's the one you commented to here.

I'll look forward to her comments.

Re: 4. part

Date: 2016-11-23 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minervas-eule.livejournal.com
Yes, no worries, it is this last part 4 which had not been visible when we first read, but by now she has seen it as well. Se wants to respond from her place to quote and link the sources she has in mind and so on (she already even owns the Kindle-book of the screen-play by JKR, but read it after having watched the movie....).

Date: 2016-11-26 05:11 pm (UTC)
ext_53318: (Dungeon King)
From: [identity profile] sigune.livejournal.com
I'm sorry to hear you didn't like Fantastic Beasts... For my part, I rather enjoyed it - partly because I'm dying for more Grindelwald-era backstory :p. I do worry about the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. Let's just hope he plays him seriously (I wanted to say 'straight' but that might look wrong in a Grindelwald context).

I do agree that there are disturbing implications in the film that aren't explored/explained. But in that aspect, the film is no different from the books, and - well, it's ... kind of ... fun to theorise about these implications? Also, I have come to look upon many them as the quirks of the wizarding world. Wizards can do the most impossible things, but they are rubbish at others that Muggles consider basic. And great wizards do the weirdest things.

I'm thinking of Dumbledore and the running of his school - the greatest wizard of his age he may be, but as a Headmaster he is quite hopeless. It's true that if he were any better at what is actually his core business, much of the action in the HP books would be impossible. But to me it's part of the charm. So I don't find it odd or incongruous at all that Newt Scamander can create a small world in his suitcase and know everything about magical creatures, but still cause such a mess. He's a wizard ;). Wizards who think logically (like Snape) are very rare indeed, it seems. And all right, it's also convenient to the plot :P.

Re: Avada Kedavra - I don't think that curse could be used for death sentences. It damages the soul of the person who casts it. In the Potterverse, apparently you can poison someone and it doesn't damage your soul, but if you use the Killing Curse, it does. So dunking someone in a deadly potion is okay for the person who does it - they don't have to project absolute hatred and lethal thoughts on someone in order to kill. (Feelings of guilt are something else entirely.)

Date: 2016-11-26 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
You're right about the killing curse, of course. I was just so fed up with the whole rescuing the damsel sequence, and that highly disturbing way in which they handled the death sentence, I didn't think of what you mention.

I could buy the plot better if Newt was pants at things that Muggles consider basic. But the strange thing is, he's pants at something that's vital in the Wizarding world, i.e. keeping magic away from Muggles.

The images were beautiful, though. Visually it's an absolute feast for the eye, and I did like the Niffler. Such an endearing little chap.

Date: 2016-11-27 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranky--crocus.livejournal.com
Beasts: totally agreed.

Plot: also totally agreed. (Which is why I did not watch it for the plot at all: I imagined this might happen.)

I am not one for action films. In fact, the second time I saw the film (my friends wanted to see it the same day and I had a free ticket to the cinema, so I went to continue hanging out with them) I nearly fell asleep during the big action parts. I'm with you in thinking that an action about a quest is very different.

(I would have much preferred watching Newt get that lovely eagle-bird to Arizona and seeing what happened over there, to be honest.)

The scenes with the beasts are by far the best part.
Very much agreed. And I shall tell you, as a Professional Beast, the scene of communicating with the erumpent (and later the bowtruckle) were the most accurate parts.

Yes yes yes to the costumes (and the magical flapper night-club/speakeasy because that has always been my headcanon). And to all your comments on the dinner part scene/apartment and all that scene held.

But in that case: reconsider your plot. Write better.
Yes yes YES. To all of that about the Ministry woman, as well. As I was watching it I thought, 'Now there's a caring and charming way to be creepy as f@#$' and no, there was no real consideration over a Ministry able to do that. Or court case. And I realise the Ministry adapted and changed through the decades, thus wouldn't be the Ministry we know, but still...

He's not very good at keeping them in the suitcase.
RIGHT?! That pissed me off the moment I saw the trunk and realised what it held, so pretty much the first scene with him. I thought, 'They're going to make him into an idiot with animals. This is going to be mayhem.' And it was. The first rule of animal husbandry? Have the right tools. If your tools allow creatures to escape, they're not the right sodding tools!

I definitely came off as a Care of Magical Creatures instructor as I was watching this film. Right down to the, "Don't put your wand there, boy, you'll hurt someone!"

This is a plotline so boring one can only yawn through it.
Agreed. Also agreed on Tina and agency. And the President (so disappointing when I so very badly wanted her to be competent and a good leader).

And if he can do that, he can also keep the damn thing shut and make sure his creatures don't go running all over the place.
RIGHT?! For eff's sake! Not surprised the boy got the boot from Hogwarts; he would not have done well in class for that. (Then, if he'd had me, he'd never have got away with keeping his tools in shoddy, ill-magicked condition like that: it puts the very beasts at risk, let alone others, and that is the worst thing a conservationalist can do.)

And, you know, I'd really like to see a woman in a position of power who does an excellent job.
A-F!@#$in-MEN (have had enough of making women incompetent to make men look more competent: write better.)

Date: 2016-11-27 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranky--crocus.livejournal.com
My friends and I sat there after the film going, 'Well, JKR has a favourite few trick ponies.' The characters, the childhood trauma, the form the good v. evil takes, the abusive step-mother, and more I can't remember.

The other conclusion we came to was, 'Well Dumbledore is a f@#$%ing idiot.' Because if this happens in 1926 and we're about to have a whole bunch of wangsty stuff with Dumbledore/Grindelwald, there's no way Dumbledore wouldn't know about the Obscurus.

So...let's put a magical child into an abusive household where he will be punished for his magic? And just cross our ickle fingers nothing too terribly bad happens? Because the son of Lily & James Potter is definitely not going to have A Lot of Power that could potentially go Very Wrong?

I like the film for some of the headcanon, for the imagery and exploration of magical life outside of Hogwarts/teens, and very much for the beasts. But the rest? Naaaaah thanks. Not excited for Depp as Grindelwald, either. Goodness knows who they'll cast as young Albus.

Also, I'm a Hufflepuff, and you can bet I don't go losing my pets. Even the ones that go off-leash. No reason for a competent magical user and Animal Whisperer to be such an idiot for keeping their creatures nearby and safe.

And if he is so terribly incompetent with it--adding some twine will not help the issue when an effing niffler can squeeze through cracks, you numpty--then he needs to go back to school. Night school. Private tutoring, whatever it takes. Because those sorts of mistakes are stupid and preventable and rather boring to be the base of a storyline. And fix your goddamn suitcase or get a new one, because otherwise it's plain irresponsible.

Date: 2016-12-03 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealsnape.livejournal.com
So agreed with you on the flimsiness and disturbing issues. Glad I'm not the only one.

And thank you for the other lovely comments to the various entries.

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