Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

27/11/16, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

It was the weekend after graduation, we're Creative Writing MSc post-grads, it was appropriate to go and see this film, and in 3D IMAX too. Harry Potter has become so integral a part of the literary landscape, at least from a UK perspective, like football among blokes, that everyone has a perspective, for good or ill. Of the original seven books by JK Rowling (the first one apparently written here in Edinburgh, in The Elephant House café on George IV street – which I can't be bothered visiting, for all the tourists who seem to stare at it), I thought the first one was cute, the third and fourth genuinely excellent, and bits of the rest well-made and overall, very readable. Like so many, back in the time (1997-2007, as I recall), I got excited at the arrival of a new story (despite being in my twenties), went out asap to get my copy, would read it in bars and cafes, while everyone else read theirs at their relaxed locations. As global phenomenon goes, it was one of the nicer ones.

So to this film: I don't doubt a new franchise is underway. The ending, for one, sets up future episodes with a glimpse of the 'new' villain, Grindelwald, (SPOILER ALERT) played by Johnny Depp and dressed and made up – as I perceive it – to look like Sherlock Holmes's nemesis, Moriarty. Does this mean a 'young' Dumbledore will appear in future episodes, battling him in a Holmes-Moriarty way?

If so, then I hope for films with clearer narratives than this one. There is much in FBAWTFT that involves Redmayne's awkward, Dr-Who character running around, chasing after the unusual animals that have escaped his magical brief case. The 'real' darker plot, such as it is, is consequently pushed to the background. The real star of the film, in terms of character arc and screen time, is Dan Fogler's 'no-mag' character Jacob Kowalski, a decent, chubby everyman stumbling through life, hating his factory job but without the money to escape it by chasing his dreams. He helps Redmayne's Newt Scamander find and return the escaped animals, and in being allowed into this magical world, discovers love and friendship and the opportunity to be a hero, all of which he gladly embraces.

As said, the consequence is the darker, more serious 'other' plot is pushed to the side. It involves some kind of monster-spirit killing people in scenes I would describe as unsettling for a family movie. In this second, darker plot, we have Colin Farrell's ambiguous wizard-police agent trying to capture the evil monster-spirit. We have a disturbing anti-magical family of staircases and shadows and the suggestion of child abuse who come and go in this second, darker plot. Ezra Miller's Tom-Riddle-esque character Credence becomes pivotal, and with it, a theme of the dangers of repressing your inner-nature.

In truth, though, this second, darker plot fails to engage. The 'big reveal' at the end isn't properly developed and so left me nonplussed, the character Credence insufficiently fleshed out, Colin Farrell's detective too two-dimensional. Johnny Depp's appearance is more 'cameo' than performance, he utters something seemingly important as he's taken away at the end that neither I nor my friends could understand. The poorly executed scene sums up this second, darker plot.

So to conclude: FBAWTFT is a film with two parallel plots – always a difficult thing to pull off. This film fails to do so. The first, lighter plot has its charms, the second darker one suffers from lack of screen time and accompanying substance. An uneven film, therefore, that will leave you unengaged at the big final action moments when you feel you should be engaged. For the more cynical among you, the added thought as Depp's smirking, incomprehensible Grindelwald is taken away, 'there goes a rat leaving a sinking (pirate) ship for the next big franchise.' But for me too, nice to see a happy ending for the no-mag Kowalski, the real star of this movie, and a cute message from the film as a whole: nice guys don't always finish last.
Snowden / The World I Live In (2) 11.12.16
16/11/16 Arrival + Magic Train
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Monday, 08 March 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

If I were to detransition, this is what I would write

Warning: this is a speculative piece of writing, not an official announcement, although I have recently begun to imagine an 'ideological' detransition (from trans woman to GNC male). Here, I'm trying to articulate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings, and imagining myself from a different perspective. In this post, I'm Gina v...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
October 17, 2020

What if gender-critical feminism came to power?

This scenario is inspired by a dialogue I had yesterday evening with a gender-critical feminist just before I went to bed. Here is what I dreamed: In the summer of 2021, the Conservative minister Liz Truss introduces legislation, making women-only spaces legally accessible only to those born female. This U.K. law includes a provision for funding al...
October 13, 2020

Responses to my blog post (1)

A frustrating aspect of my website is that when people write in, there's no trace of an email address so no way of getting back to people, and also no way of publishing their messages. However, I received such a nice response to my article just now that I'd like to include it here. It's from some who for the sake of confidentiality (in case it's ne...
October 11, 2020

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism Note to the reader: This post is intended as a contribution to addressing the current tensions between transgender activism and gender-critical feminism. The way I see myself in relation to female i dentity, and the ideas I express here, are not a prescription for other trans women. The t...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...