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Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Friday, December 9, 2016 - 11:00

Well, I saw it. Lots of fabulous effects, especially in creating the creatures. But also lots of unanalyzed tropes that felt worse than lazy. The ditzy blonde with the heart of gold. The callously predatory mentor of a teenage boy where the relationship involved enough physical affection to cross the line (for me) into evoking pedophilia. The message that you can be an endearingly dorky guy and still be a hero, but if you're a tormented broken outsider, you have to die. And for a story that engages with themes about prejudice and persecution, there's a startling lack of addressing racial issues in 1920s New York, whether it's the complete glossing over of the contradictions of having a black MACUSA president who would face dual prejudices in "nomaj" society, or the substitution of non-human background characters for what would be expected to be black roles in the nightclub scenes.

It isn't awful...it's just...not very self-aware. But we sort of knew it was going to be like that, didn't we?

[I'm posting this a day early as part of trying to trouble-shoot some access issues with new posts.]