By which we understand that neither entertainment nor intellectual depth nor emotional insight are generalities because they would exclude each other and this isn't a question of generalising about films but about why you can't generalise your critical senses. Or rather when do you switch off those senses. Is it when the film is childish? The idea you would go in with your senses switched off seems equally wrong. So can we assume there's a point when you think "I can't hold this to the standard I would normally apply to a film" and turn those standards off so you can be entertained. Again we know there's more available in any film so the implication is these films are bereft and "entertaining"'becomes "merely entertaining".
Wanted to talk directly about this in relation to the movie and not in the general conversation about critical thinking because there is a definite moment in Fantastic Beasts when my senses turned off and didn't turn on again until Kylo Volder-Snape became a nebulous cloud of anger. (Didn't Green Lantern prove once and for all the dumbness of this kind of bad guy?)
Just after the bank, Newt and Tina enter a building with a lovely Art Deco interior. There's some movie magic and the building reveals itself to be a government office for MACUSA. (sidebar: while I hate that title as printed, I love how it's pronounced, which is similar to the Japanese Yakuza.) The camera then swoops through the lobby of the building and it's the Magical World in all directions. That was the moment when my senses dimmed down. I didn't know how many crew carried over from the Harry Potter films, but this looked like the work of the same time, unlike The Hobbit, whose Middle Earth felt very little like that of Lord of the Rings, much like the Star Wars prequels didn't feel like Star Wars. When Skyfall came out, Mark Kermode often referred to the opening shot of Daniel Craig entering the room ready for action while the score plays just a couple of moments of the James Bond theme. The effect is "and we're back." That's what happened here. The film enters the world and even though we're now in America, this is very much a part of J.K. Rowling's vision as brought to life by David Yates.
The Depp casting (and who he is) really blows, but this is the same studio that cast Redmayne as the lead and has hired the same director for all five movies. I got mad at Disney for playing it safe with STAR WARS, but I never imagined this.
The Depp casting didn't intrigue me either. My thought was, "well that's one way to revive your career," when I think the film was attempting something more breathtaking. Between the two, I would rather have stayed with Colin Farrell. I don't know who might've created the desired effect. Perhaps Daniel Day-Lewis or Leonardo DiCaprio. I think Christian Bale might've been an interesting reveal and Tom Hardy would've gotten us interested if not the box office community at large.
I'm noticing that people who are not enjoying the new movie - not everyone but the majority - are not fans of David Yates to begin with. If you don't like the last few Potter films, you're not enjoying this one for many of the same reasons. I find Totoro's comment even more interesting because why wouldn't you want a director with a single vision for the entire series? If Alfonso Cuarón had directed all of the Potter films from Azkaban on, would that be a bad decision? So is the problem that they're going with one director or that they're going with Yates? Is it better or worse that JJ Abrams isn't helming Star Wars 7, 8 and 9?
Along similar lines, I've seen a number of comments about the CG, sterile portrayal of 1920s New York City. I think it looks grand, a state of heightened realism. Does anyone think Peter Jackson did it better with King Kong? Did anyone see Florence Foster Jenkins, which had a much smaller budget and attempted the same look with more practical locations? It looked just as unlived in and that was a biopic. This is an alternate reality and I hope the Art Direction gets an Oscar nomination.
It's good to be back at my computer.