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Just a warning, about to rant on and on about that new Harry Potter-verse movie. If you love Harry Potter, it’s okay to totally disagree with me! *SPOILERS*

Man, I do not get Harry Potter. Admittedly, I didn’t read the books as they were released, and I may have already been too old or already exposed to a lot of other fantasy authors when Rowling was on the rise. I’ve always found the Harry Potter books and movies frustrating contradictions. The world established in the series is one built on whimsical fantasy, with silly names like “Hogwarts” and “Dumbledore”. It’s full of magic trains and candy, and quirky magical creatures and characters. But the stories most often told in the Harry Potter universe are dark, angsty, and permeated by a theme of death and suffering. Maybe that’s part of the appeal of the franchise for some, but it’s always felt like stories diametrically opposed to the world they’re set in. Aside from Prisoner of Azkaban, I can’t say I really love any of the films, and that one only because of some clever time travel, which actually opens a whole well of plot holes in the entire series, if we’re being honest.

Anyway, the whole reason I bring this up is because I’d kinda hoped that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be a new beginning, one where we could finally tell some whimsical stories that worked in the context of the world. Instead we got a film about child abuse (*spoilers* the child dies). The first 15 or 20 minutes don’t bother to tell us who any of the main characters are, we just watch them bumble around watching each other with little context given. There’s also a lot of slapstick comedy to establish the tone of the film, but once all the protagonists are introduces, we immediately jump to some political family that plays basically no role in the film, and then a hyper religious woman who physically and emotionally abuses her gaggle of adopted children, especially an older boy that she beats with a belt. It’s tonal whiplash and sucks all the fun and energy out of the film. The whole movie is very slow, doling out information at a snail’s pace.

Also, it seems every magic using character can teleport without reservation or restriction. Several times, the main character goes through a difficult or inconvenient scenario that would’ve been possible to completely bypass with a teleport. At the beginning of the film, he goes through customs when entering the U.S., and his magical creature suitcase is almost discovered. Yet he could’ve simply teleported from the ship onto the dock, avoiding customs security altogether. Another time he enters a jewelry store not by teleporting inside, but by shattering the store side window, attracting the police. The main character is played off as competent with magical creatures but otherwise a lousy people person and somewhat absent minded outside of anything pertaining to his interest. Unfortunately, he mostly comes off as an unobservant idiot.

I also have little faith in the American branch of wizarding society, since their police force seems wildly incompetent. They couldn’t even set up a security perimeter around a wizarding world leaders summit! One of the characters, a lady cop who’d been suspended from the force, walks right into this summit meeting and everyone’s just like “what’s she doing here?” Post some guards at the door, guys! You’re here to talk about a terrorist dark wizard threat, for potter’s sake!

The music in the film is trying SO HARD. The soundtrack works overtime to deliver emotional impact, sometimes with musical queues at odds with what’s actually happening on screen, but there’s jut not a lot of chemistry between the characters to get invested in. Probably the best of the cast is a muggle baker who just gets dragged along for ‘reasons’. He’s the only person genuinely having a good time throughout the story, but in the end, he’s basically told to stand in a corner for the film’s entire finale, rendering his character mostly pointless.

The finale itself feels like a huge turning point in the franchise lore that should actually contradict the previous eight films (since this is a prequel, after all). Basically a good chunk of New York is outright demolished by a rampaging magical creature (who happens to be the belt-beaten orphan boy, because ‘magic’). the creature/abused boy is murdered by fifty wizards shooting it to death with wands in a sewer, but the destructive aftermath of the battle is immense. It seems like there’s no way to keep the magical world a secret anymore, but then the wizards just wipe the entire city’s memory by poisoning the water supply and reversing time so that none of the destruction happened. But were there any fatalities in all those destroyed buildings? Can these wizards even reverse DEATH? In the end, the magic on display in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is so over powered and deus ex machina that any story tension is completely destroyed by the ending.

If the film had been about a quirky British wizard breaking all sorts of magic laws in an attempt to find some magical creatures in 1920’s New York, I probably would’ve loved the film. Instead, it’s just a slow, sloppy, plodding story with a lot of plot holes and very little whimsy to speak of…

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  • clogboy

    …and that, kids, is how you get AIDS.

    • McNutty

      Also PTSD. And all because of one guy with DICK syndrome.

      • suburban_samurai

        Hey, DICK syndrome can often be an incurable disease! Show some respect!

        • Blake

          I once worked with a man who had DICK syndrome. That was the last time I worked at a male-strip club. Suffice to say everyone soon came down with a case of DICKs

      • Jake

        DICK syndrome? Do I Care, Kid? or reference to being a jerk?

        • Bree

          The answer is yes.

    • KungFuKlobber

      Atsumori Is Dead, Son

      • Din Till

        too soon

  • McNutty

    Assuming he cut Eljiro so he could claim killing Atsumori was to defend him, 10 points to the first soldier to ask where the blood on Atsumori’s sword is.

    • Nos Rin aka CTCO

      that’s exactly why he did it, but he forgot to use Atsumori’s sword to do it. sadly for plot’s sake I doubt any of the guards will notice but I really hope so!

      • Xinef

        The problem is, those soldiers are all too afraid of Nataku, to question him.

        … and any soldier who would try to investigate, would join the corpse pile. And they know it.

        • Nos Rin aka CTCO

          eh, true, i guess… but they’d know. and knowing is half the battle!

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    Damn man, that’s harsh, but well said and understandable.

    I have always seen Harry Potter as a sort of stepping stone (that too many people get stuck on) into the world of modern day magic as far as books go.

    If you want a really good modern day magic book that actually takes magic seriously instead of just having fun with silly ideas, please, read the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It is probably one the greatest book series I have EVER read.

    • cu

      DF was another series which derailed catastrophically. Magic meets noir was ok, when stuff went cosmic soap my WTF meter exploded. There’s only so far you can stretch an idea so you can keep milking the cow.

      • suburban_samurai

        I love the Dresden Files, and although I totally agree that the series has gone off the rails with its scope, even the later books are still a lot of fun to read (except maybe Ghost Story, that one was kind of a slog). Admittedly, the ‘one night of hell’ with a rough yearly gap between them format is no longer conducive to the intricate stories the series is trying to tell. Each book has to spend a lot of time catching the reader up on all the events that transpire between books, and with the expansive cast of the characters and the run on plot lines, there’s less division between books now, they all kind of blur together. I still enjoy the series, though, because Dresden is a snarky asshole who makes me laugh.

        Unfortunately, I think at this point Jim Butcher is sick of writing Dresden books, or he’s written himself into a corner. And his other books series have not been as fun. I read through Codex Alera, and I found it fairly blah. I read Aeronaut’s Windlass and was also left feeling kinda meh about it. I’m not sure why his other fantasy books don’t grab me, but he seems fairly determined to break away from being just the Dresden Files guy. I can understand that, but, really, I just want more Dresden.

        • Xinef

          I don’t know much about Jim Butcher, but this description reminds me of how Arthur Conan Doyle was trying to stop writing Sherlock Holmes books.

          I guess there’s probably many more authors with the same problem.

          • suburban_samurai

            Sometimes you only get one great success. Most people get none, so one’s still pretty damn good.

        • Thewizardguy

          You know if you’re looking for more good stuff in that direction I would recommend works such as Skullduggery Pleasant by Dereck Landy, or the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Both are excellent modern fantasies. Former has a bit of emphasis on the ‘fantasy’, while the latter puts more emphasis on the ‘modern’, in a variety of ways, but both are excellent series indeed.

          If you’re looking for something not including a wizard who is also an investigator of some sort, try the Mortal Instruments series, or Darren Shan.

        • Midori Ren

          I know it’s late to the party, but the book ‘The Library of the Dead’ by T.L. Huchu is another you/readers of Dresden Files might enjoy. It has a sequel, ‘Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments’ which is also good. The main character is snarky, erudite, and well read, while also being uninformed about things the reader learns with her. A map of Edinburgh comes in handy.

          • suburban_samurai

            I’m always on the lookout for good recommendations! I’ll add Library of the Dead to my list.

      • Nos Rin aka CTCO

        cosmic… soap….?
        I’ll admit my interest has wayned after changes because, it’s just not the same kind of detective story anymore, but damned if it’s still not amazing. even at it’s worst it’s still better then a lot of other stuff out there.
        I mean, Wizard riding T-rex. WIN

        • cu

          Absolutely, Dead Beat action scenes were thrilling. What put me off was things like all the soapy family drama (I am your long lost brother, I am your long lost gramps, I am your long lost daughter, etc.) or all the new deadly power players that keep appearing out of nowhere, never having been mentioned before. It feels like one of those cheaply written animes where they beat an enemy only for it to take a new more powerful form.

          In the end, all that eye-rolling was starting to get physically painful, so I dropped the series after finishing Cold Days, 4-5 books too late with the exception of Turn Coat.

          • Nos Rin aka CTCO

            Yaaaa, i thought Thomas being his brother was a bit weird but they did an interesting storyline with the mom thing. Ebenezear was even weirder but i accepted it although im not sure it needed to be that way. and you know, they could have maybe had a kid together, they had sex, what, twice?
            *shrugs* I kind of got thrown off reading by an online game for maybe a year so it’s slow going back for me but I really enjoy Jim Butcher’s writing style so there is that.

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    i actually rarely notice how well music does or doesn’t fit a scene. is that bad?

    • suburban_samurai

      nope, especially since movie scores now day are usually sitting in the background anyway, not taking center stage. Although in Fantastic Beasts, one of the weirdest parts was when the rhinoceros was trying to mate with the baker character. He’s running for his life, and the creature’s wrecking the zoo, and during all of this, a grand, sweeping melody is swelling from a full orchestra and it seems totally at odds with the comedic/dangerous situation that’s happening on screen.

      • Nos Rin aka CTCO

        what… the… frak…

      • clogboy

        I stopped listening after I heard the similarities between the score for
        Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean. Same composer, no coincidence.
        But IMO ‘less is more’. Silence is sometimes the best score. Point in
        case: Cast Away
        The acting must make up for emotional impact though.

  • Sunwu

    Omg yes thank you Alex! Thats exactly how I felt watching that movie! No exposition and the characters only became less two dimentional at the very end! Who the hell can read those spinning news papers in time? who the hell is the villan?why should I care about the protagonist?

    • suburban_samurai

      Yeah, I wanted to pause the movie so I could read those magic newspapers too! But they fly by so fast, it seemed like bad a bad editing choice. Also, what a weird way to open your movie, with a fifteen second long scene of some guys walking toward a building, then having it explode, and then showing another guy looking at the dead guys. I’m pretty sure the following headlines explained what we saw, but it was such a quick edit I honestly don’t know why they bothered with the scene at all, other than to start the movie with a random explosion.

      • clogboy

        Thank Holland for subtitles.

  • clogboy

    I agree with a lot of stuff in the review. The plot didn’t quite exploit everyone’s full potential. However I did like most of the movie. I can turn a blind eye to the acting and use of music, but that teleportation spell had some serious limitations that nobody talks about.
    About the tone of Harry Potter: the way they explain it is that no matter how dark things get, if you have friends then blablabla

    • suburban_samurai

      A lot of my friends really liked the movie too! It just had a lot of narrative elements that seemed poorly handled, and bad narrative, even for franchise movies, drags me out of the experience pretty violently.

      • clogboy

        Still a better love story than Twilight though 😉

  • SKy

    The Harry Potter franchise never had any consistency to begin with. I know I’m going to upset many fans with this but for me it’s just a cheap teen hero story draped in a wild mix of randomly selected and badly connected fantasy tropes.
    The whole world doesn’t make sense if you think about it. Wizards are all powerful beings without limitations apart from the occasional unexplained “that doesn’t work!” – yet they hide from non-wizards because they are afraid what they’d do to them? With their puny guns? Because we haven’t seen like 20 spells that could render an entire army useless?
    And how do they hide everything magic? I mean I can see how they might be able to hide themselves and a few select places – but there’s so many wild creatures and communities that don’t listen to wizard rules… How do you hide free roaming dragons, gryphons, tooth fairies, mandragoras and giant spiders or communities of centaurs and giants from a civilization that has planes, phones, photography, a hyperactive press and the ability to cartograph the entire world down to a few meters…?

    • KungFuKlobber

      Owl post can find anyone, even people who very much don’t want to be found. Why not send Voldemort a letter bomb and be done with it?

      • suburban_samurai

        But then we’d be no better than the dark wizards!

        • SKy


    • Ladon

      Yo. I’m late but I kinda gotta ask. Whatchu talkin ’bout? The wizards in Harry Potter are pansies. Lord Voldemort himself wouldn’t hold up against a few muggle cops, near as I can tell.

      • SKy

        They are pansies, yes. But not because they are weak but because they don’t use the abilities they have. In the series you can do anything with magic given you know the spell – and if executed right even easily half of the non-forbidden spells can be lethal… They can fling people through the air with just a flick of their wand, create fire/water/whatever from thin air, summon wild creatures (or even strong magic beings) for help, use magic shields, transform into a far stronger creatures at will or even just paralyze their opponent… And that’s just things we’ve seen mere students do.
        Also there seems to be no limitation to what can be done with magic. Regrowing entire limbs, perfect view through solid objects, instant teleportation, undetectable spacial distortions, perfect tracking of hundreds of people at once, instant death… There seems to be nothing wizards can’t do – yet they appear to be unable to do anything…

  • Xenterex

    @Potter-verse: haven’t seen Beast, things and whatever, and likely not going to do so. Your review seems to confirm some of the same issues i had with Potter stuff before and why I kinda consider anything rowling-related to pretty much be click-bait now. I kinda wish I knew a better term for this (or at least its escaping me at the moment) but Rowling/Potter stuff is ‘forced’ by the author to progress the story. A lot of the quirks, macguffins, character tropes, etc are already borrowed as is, but rowling has a strong prevalence to having an author/god-complex that steps in to progress the plot and resolve conflicts by whims of the author’s fancy, rather than a more ‘organic’ approach where stuff happens and evolves as a natural consequence of the characters interacting together.

    As such, character interactions can be awkward, result in unwanted/nonsensical endings, stunting character growth, leaving characters to mire about in plot-induced stupidity (and even worse, when it leads to stupid deaths of major characters) and a host of other issues that then get pointed out as authorship regrets in postscript tweets — such as “character x should have married character y” — stuff like that is supposed to be reserved for fanfiction.

    The stories are largely just a mix of tropes that were seen to be ‘successful’ in other works, and then forcefully tried to work in a slew of words that try to project that the author’s word IS ‘god’ for that story — and that’s really not how good storytelling ever works. And its not something that I ever expect rowling to get over. Each new installment/play or whatever is more than likely to just be the same rehashed crap forcefully handled by the word of the author to the point it pretty much just comes off as trying to argue/reason with young children; the sort that respond with a ‘nu uh, nu uh, I have an anti-anti-anti infinity forceful lazer nuke ray”

    • suburban_samurai

      In other words, she wants all these tropey things to happen to her characters, but doesn’t write a way for them to happen organically, so all major plot events feel as if they don’t play out naturally or through logical character decisions. What a mess!

  • Flaming Squirrel

    I would like to congratulate Atsumori on his promotion to abassa– oh, too late.

    • suburban_samurai

      At this rate, replacing the Wataro ambassadorial position is gonna be a killer proposition.

      • Bree

        “Wataro ambassador–it’s a position to DIE for!”

  • prime_pm

    Speaking of security, to its credit, the movie took place in 1926, six years before the Nazis took over Germany and several decades before the fruition of Al Qaeda. Terrorism back then was more of a European thing and everyone still loved America.

    • suburban_samurai

      I suppose, although you’d think there’d at least be a guard or two at the door, if for no other reason than to prevent unwanted interruptions.

    • clogboy

      Terrorism is still more a European thing. Unless you count all sorts of mass shootings as terrorism.

      • prime_pm

        True, but right now America has a more “complex” relationship with the world. Not exactly “fell down some stairs” kind, but closer to “I can change him/her” type.

        • clogboy

          But the relation with Europe has always been based on dependency. Not necessarily abuse, but in more than one way a mutual dependency on approval. And common interests. And oil. With a side of no religious terrorism plz.
          It’s just a shame that so many things initiated by the Bush administration have an outcome that affects Europe directly, without us having enough leverage in world politics (at least not big enough to invest in armed forces to help protect our way of life).
          What d’ya say… one more united effort against ISIS, friends when Russia attacks?

  • kimi432

    I feel you on the Harry Potter thoughts. I heard a good discussion talking about some of the issues with the series is the lack of following the world rules at a narrator standpoint. Writing from a narrator standpoint means that things must be consistent rather than changing on a whim, which you can do if you write it from a character’s perspective. Changing the rules breaks immersion and makes it seem less logical.
    As for caring about the main characters, I sort of stopped that around the 4th book. Not that teenagers can’t be hormonal or moody in writings (and Harry has every right to be depressed or moody), but it didn’t feel well written, and felt forced on some occasions.
    I also find it weird that there isn’t a school counselor or psychiatrist on the grounds when you have students, some who didn’t even know there was a magic world until recently, suddenly all put together in a remote location with possible disastrous magical, physical (from animals or flying, etc.) or chemical (from potions) accidents. Or at least show up after traumatic events, such as the basilisk attacking people, Cedric dying, etc.
    You would also think there would be a class for those coming into the magical world as well as a couple of days with the parents there so they can know about the school their children are attending before they attend it. It might be my lack of knowledge on boarding schools, but most parents I know would want to see a school and learn about it and the professors there in person before letting their child go.
    All of these things you can let go if the book series doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just a fun tale, but when it takes itself seriously, then you start to look more into it, and logical issues don’t fly as well.

    • suburban_samurai

      HAHAH! YEAH, where are the school counselors to help kids deal with all this shit?? It’s another thing where, if the world were just meant to be fantastical and whimsical, then having a school where it’s just expected for kids to keep their shit together works, but with all the ‘real tragedy’ the stories try to simulate, Hogwarts seems wildly ill-equipped to handle its angst-ridden student body.

  • cu

    How evil can Nataku be? You, evil meanie, you!

    JKR is a witty world builder. HP is full of funny little sparkling gems, like “The Monster Book Of Monsters”, a magical zoology book which will bite you if you don’t stroke its spine first. Now, how cool is that? But yeah, she’s not much for drama.

    In my opinion the HP series would have been better served by staying a kids’ tale, your usual “mischief and adventures in boarding school” meets “Agatha Christie’s endings”, like the first two books. Turning it into a teen epic didn’t play to JKR’s strengths, I have read better written HP fanfiction than canon.

    • suburban_samurai

      I totally agree. I don’t hate the world of Harry Potter. I think it’s charming. I just dislike the stories that get told within it.

    • Heather Martin

      It’s more that the books grew up with the readers. I read the first book when I was 10, and the last one when I was like 20 or 21. The idea was that the main character grew up, it wouldn’t make sense to write a story about an 18 year old at the reading level of a 3rd grader.

      I can totally understand not liking the dark part of the stories. It’s one of the reasons I stopped reading G.R.R.M…..just too grim for what I wanted to face. But with HP……it was more a “kids go through hard things too”. You deal with family members dying, you deal with bullies, you deal with abuse. And those kids need stories about them triumphing despite those things.

      Not everyone loves that. I have a friend who reads nothing but chick lit because she has to read about terrible things for her job and she wants nothing about ponies and rainbows when she goes home at night.

      Nothing wrong with not being JKR’s target audience.

      • cu

        I am not discussing content, but form. I can take dark and angst and be moved by them, no problem, but drama tolerates sloppy writing worse than comedy: it needs solid characterization, consistent plotting, etc. Otherwise you keep thinking “come on, this is ridiculous, no way” and drama as such never gets to happen.

      • cu

        I just read this reply, more than a year after it was written. Heck, it’s teh internetz, so I can’t let this stand, can I?

        Bzzzzt! Nope, sorry, that’s not it, I have no problem with drama at all. Only with badly written drama, which HP books are, starting with PoA and going steadily downhill from there. You can look up, for instance, HP fanfiction by author jbern, if you are so inclined. No rainbows or ponies, I assure you, but much more engaging plots in the adventure genre than JKR’s.

        I stand by what I wrote: JKR can pull one heck of a universe. Deep, consistent characterizations? Not so much. HP did grow, but it didn’t grow well.

        I quit A Song of Ice and Fire, too, but only because it got me bored. It took an effort to finish A Dance With Dragons and, after it, I completely stopped caring about that universe and its characters.

    • Midori Ren

      I loved the stories when I read them, probably because I was a kid when they came out (age 7 with the first book), but probably also because of my usual thing with certain kinds of literature, especially back then: it didn’t tell me everything, so I filled in the blanks for myself. I went back through later and was rather surprised to find some of the plot stuff I remembered wasn’t in the books or movies, but what I made up to fill in the gaps.

      I agree with you though: the first two books were the best (though I’d argue #3 was pretty fine also, because everyone has been or known an anxty teenager once). Her worldbuilding is indeed amazing. Arguably some of the best things that have come from her books are the fanfiction. I have read some truely epic (literally and figuratively) fanfic both of alternate endings to the series and of total rewrites.

      Meanwhile, I have 6 notebooks full (so far) of my own invented world and some characters that live there, but no plotline, so I can empathise…

  • vancho1

    Thanks for the warning on Fantastic Beasts – I was considering going to see it, but now I don’t really feel it.

    Also, I bet Eijiro just realized that Nataku is way too dangerous to keep around and start plotting to remove him as general once he’s not needed any more.

    • suburban_samurai

      we can all be sure that Eijiro’s feelings toward Nataku at this point are likely less than glowing.

      Fun story, the wife and I were actually going to see Moana, but Joe wanted to see it too and was out of town, so we opted for Fantastic Beasts instead. THANKS JOE.

      • Flaming Squirrel


  • Chad Norris

    It would serve Nataku right if Eijiro gave into panic, and started shouting that Nataku went insane, and cried out for help. I doubt this is where the story is about to go, but I’d be pleasantly surprised if things promptly went to shit for this asshole.

    • Xinef

      Fun fact: realistically, when people panic they become very unpredictable. For example a panicked soldier is quite likely to run towards enemies, rather than away, or to do other things that put him at more risk. Such as staying immobile and hoping it’s all just a bad dream. Or going berserk.

      Thus even if Nataku has a “perfect plan”, and assumes Eijiro will cooperate out of fear, if Eijiro panics he might just break this plan apart.

      • suburban_samurai

        Seeing as how realism it a core tenant of the NN4B story, you can expect wildly unpredictable behavior from everyone!

  • Xinef

    My thoughts on Harry Potter:
    Read the first few books. I think first 3 or so. They were ok.
    Didn’t read the others. No regrets.

    • suburban_samurai

      You made good decisions in life.

  • Yasmin Mazur

    I did read the HP books, still didn’t really connect with most of the movies – I thought they didn’t match the spirit of the books after 4.
    Of course – HP 5 is the worst anyway you look at it, The rest are better.

    I just wanted to point out regarding aparating past the inspection point – that would make no sense to someone who is not sneaking into the country, and is inteding to spend some time interacting with other people. Remember – Newt is british, and they’re doing everything proper as a rule. He has a camoflage option for his suitcase – there’s no reason to aviod getting his passport stamped legaly.
    I agree that they use the aparating option too much – it’s supposed to be hard and dangerous to do so, and basically you can leave parts behind if you do it wrong – especially if you’re not focusing properly on what you’re doing because you’re busy staring down a niffler. If anything – what Newt did at the bank was weird – he was aparating all over the place without any good reason.

    Oh. well – chalk it up to Rule of Drama or Cool or something like that.

  • Leo

    Eijiro might now be willing to entertain the thought that Nataku isn’t a wonderful person

  • Flaming Squirrel

    I haven’t seen Magical Beasts yet, but as much as I love HP (or rather, loved it– haven’t read or watched it in years so maybe I’ve changed!), I’m finding it harder to tolerate Rowling and the HP fandom itself. Rowling seems to have come to a point in her life where she’ll do anything to stay relevant. Have you noticed, whenever SJWs start complaining about something, Rowling is always there with a way to “identify” with them? Like when she revealed *coughRETCONNEDcough* that Dumbledore was gay? Or when she claimed that she’d written Hermione to be black, despite a ton of real evidence that she didn’t? And then she decided the world needed to hear her opinions on the US elections. Donald Trump is worse than Voldemort? Really, JK? I’m not his biggest fan by any means, but even I can see that’s bullcrap.

    And, imo, the HP fandom has become as toxic as other fandoms like bronies and Undertale. You’ve got the people who consider their Hogwarts house an integral part of their identity and will get genuinely offended if you don’t respect it enough. You’ve got idiots trying to change the books with “headcanon” and will call you a bigot if you don’t support their Totally-Not-a-Fanfic “theory” of a Draco/Snape/Harry/Filch’s Cat Quadruple Ship Extravaganza. They tolerate no disagreement with their god/favorite author, so if you think it was stupid for Harry to name a kid after Snape you’d better keep it to yourself. I mean, I’m a pretty rabid fan of a couple authors myself, but it seems like Potterheads, more than any other book fandom, takes things way too far. And it annoys me.

    And I just realized I’ve become a cranky old man… at 24.

    • suburban_samurai

      I think you just described fandom on the internet in general! Heck, I’ve had some weird conversations with Star Wars fans who will do anything to justify all the crap that goes on in that franchise.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        I keep telling people, just idolize Brandon Sanderson like I do! Having a set in stone magic system makes EVERYTHING better! If there’s one thing that annoys me about Harry Potter (and Star Wars too, to a lesser extent) it’s that the magic has to follow only one rule: be convenient to the plot. That leads to everyone and their mother going, “But why didn’t/couldn’t Harry just do this?”, and coming up with better ways for the story to have gone. And try as she might, Rowling can’t denounce all of them because if you don’t tell your readers how it works, you can’t tell them how it DOESN’T work.

        • suburban_samurai

          The first two Star Wars films do a great job of establishing what scope of the Force. It doesn’t make you invincible or impossibly strong and powerful, it does enhance your physical attributes and allow you premonitions of the future based on your disposition (either anger or tranquility). In A New Hope, Obi Wan establishes the Force as Good vs Evil, but in Empire, Yoda broadens that understanding by showing that the Dark side and Light side are more a philosophy of closed fist vs open palm. The Light side is the acceptance of change and the willingness to embrace it even if sacrifice is required. The Dark Side is the maintaining of control over your environment at the expense of change. Yoda specifically says that neither side is stronger than the other. The Force, in the end, is all about conflict of philosophies. Then in Jedi, they kinda back step on that and make the Force about strict Good vs Evil again, and then the prequels make it almost exclusively about the super powers and not having sex because reasons. So, yeah, the Force just does whatever you want and is wildly inconsistent in its own universe… lightsabers are pretty cool, though.

    • RobinGoodfellow

      Donald Trump is worse than Voldemort? Really, JK? I’m not his biggest fan by any means, but even I can see that’s bullcrap.

      See, JKR is a piece of crap who is as far from a ‘SJW’ as she can be, but looking at what Drumpf’s done to this country… He and Voldemort are at least equal. Trump is worse because he’s real. God I wish I could go back to four years ago. The world wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as life under Drumpf.

  • Shey

    Just a few comments on your review of fantastic beasts, since it seems like some of the things you didn’t like are caused by not having the background context from the books.

    The teleporting is not something they learn until they are 16, and they cannot legally do it outside of practice until they are adults. Since the movie established Newt was expelled from Hogwarts, it’s understandable that he cannot simply teleport around and avoid easy obstacles. It would also explain why he does some rather stupid things. Having been expelled, it’s quite possible he doesn’t know a lot of the spells he should have known by this point.

    The time turners are extremely limited. The one we see Hermione use in the third book/movie is the standard one. They are closely monitored by the ministry and each turn is one hour of time. They are limited to how far back you can go. You cannot just stand there for several hours turning the dial to go back years. They only do a few hours at a time. You could probably get a day or two, but that’s about it.

    I do agree that it’s a load of crap that they had no guards outside the leader summit.

    The memory wipe at the end is debatable. It was a potion mixed with creature magic, I believe they were using a thunderbird. Thunderbirds are around the same power level as a pheonix, so pretty darn powerful. Because it is established in the books that there are creatures with magic waaaaay more powerful than anything wizards can do, I can accept this. However, I can also acknowledge that it may feel like cheating to some.

    The massive building repair at the end was just a bunch of very powerful repairo spells all being cast together. And, yes, there should have been some death there but at the same time these are supposed to be kid friendly. So, death isn’t brought up unless the story needs it. Also, remember how I said magical creatures are more powerful than people? Pheonixes have healing tears. We don’t know how much the rain of a thunderbird can do. It’s possible that did heal and restore some life. It’s sort of cheating to use that, but also plausible.

    Not trying to argue, you are totally entitled to your opinion of the movie. I just get slightly irked when I stumble upon reviews where the viewer didn’t have all the context prior to seeing the movie. I love your comic and can’t wait for the next update!

    • suburban_samurai

      Although I appreciate context, none of this particular context was given in the movie, and if it was given in the previous films then any moviegoer who has not recently watched those films containing said context would likely not remember it. A moviegoer should not have to read the book a movie is based on to understand the movie because it limits the audience.

      Over all, though, none of the limitless magic bothered me in itself, it was that combined with the tone of the film and the story being told. The abused boy was the main conflict of the film, and yet he had no real connection to any of the protagonists other than the police lady, and even that was tenuous. And yet we’re shown him abused both emotionally and physically while never really getting to know him other than through the pain we see dealt to him. Then he’s basically murdered by a bunch of unnamed officers with wands. Immediately after, everything is undone and the main cast goes on their merry way. For all the deplorable treatment of children in the film, everything’s basically wrapped up in a neat, happy package with no consequences. It honestly made me feel gross with how tone deaf the movie was, or the mixed messages it was sending.

      I suppose I can liken your context argument to people who loved the Hobbit films because they took place in Middle Earth. Fantastic Beasts takes place in the Potter universe and for many that is likely reason enough to enjoy it. I just want to see compelling or entertaining stories with memorable characters, and I did not get that out of Fantastic Beasts.

  • Carli Anderson

    I personally enjoyed the movie but I do see a lot of what you are talking about with the plot holes and character flaws. I definitely feel like they were trying to go darker and grittier with this new film series but I also felt like they really rushed to cram in character introductions for the next movie. I am curious about the introduction of more lore and I think that they are hinting that there will come a time when the wizarding world will become exposed possibly causing a grand scale war.

  • Flaming Squirrel

    Just watched the movie, so here’s my take on it: Rowling had two great ideas. The “Fantastic Beasts” part could have provided, as you said, a really fun lighthearted kids movie. When I watched the trailers I was reminded a lot of Night at the Museum. Grindewald was a really big player in the pre-Harry Potter lore, so if Rowling wants to tell his story I’m all for that too! The problem was that the two ideas would have worked on their own, but they don’t blend. You can practically see the two narratives wrestling with each other, fighting for screentime. Throughout the movie, it’s either one plot or the other, they never come together to tell a single story, you know what I mean? It’s either Newt hunting monsters or grim, depressing child abuse. A good movie would combine those two elements (somehow…) and creative a single, cohesive plot out of it. And the saddest part is, the plotline the movie was NAMED FOR is the one that keeps getting shoved on the backburner. It keeps going on about the child abuse, the terrorism, the exposure of their realm– oh wait, wasn’t there something about that weird guy with the monster suitcase?

    I kinda get the feeling that Rowling wanted to do both as different books and/or movies, but she was only greenlighted for one so she decided to throw them together in a mishmashed Frankenstory. And yes, Harry Potter *does* get dark as the series progresses, but that’s just it: it eases you into it. Each book is a little bit darker than the last, and they never go back. Fantastic Beasts jumps between them at the drop of a hat. Silly –> Dark –> Fun –> Scary –> Whimsical –> Tragic. And like you said, it’s jarring. These two ideas are GOOD ideas, but they just don’t work together. And being forced into the same movie only served to reduce two great ideas into one mediocre one. I enjoyed it in the end, but not nearly as much as I should have.

    • suburban_samurai

      So you did see it in the end! I agree with you, of course! Although I didn’t enjoy it much at all. It’s actually one of the few movies I considered just walking out on. And I’ve seen worse movies! I think that lately time has been more valuable to me, and so a movie like this, that’s over two hours long and drags its feet while not being very compelling or consistent was like a PERSONAL INSULT!! Also I wanted to play more pokemon sun.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Oh yeah, I knew I was going to see it sooner or later. So far this year I’ve been to see Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Kung Fu Panda 3, Tarzan, Doctor Strange, Kubo and the Two Strings, and now Fantastic Beasts. The only ones I felt were worth the money were Zootopia and Doctor Strange. That’s led me to the conclusion that 2016 is the year of “That movie was okay, but it could have been better.”

        • suburban_samurai

          I thought Kubo and KFP3 were a hell of a good time, even if they weren’t perfect films. Then again, I do have an affinity for martial artsy-asiany stuff made by not-asian people and full or anachronisms.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Oh, and one thing that occurred to me: if a wizard child that suppresses its powers turns into one of those Obscura things and then dies, why didn’t that happen to Harry? Living with his abusive relatives (who weren’t that different from the crazy church lady, now that I think of it) for 11 years logically should have turned him into a big cloud of screaming craziness… right? Don’t worry, I’m sure Rowling will have some kind of excuse for that too. Just give it a few weeks.

  • endplanets

    The most overly-dramatic ‘swipe right’ of all times. Thought in this case its the opposite of rejection.

  • Frank Royce Harr

    A goofy world with a dark undercurrent of pain and danger? Yeah, that is totally the appear. And no, that isn’t sarchasm, I like it. It’s O.K. if it’s not your cup of tea. it can’t be everyone’s.

  • Juan

    So. Looks good..

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