Monday, November 21, 2016



From IMDB:


The year is 1926 and Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident...were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) on IMDb

Reviews 70 user | 203 critic

From Rotten Tomatoes:

The magic of Harry Potter lives on in this Warner Bros. spin-off penned by {J.K. Rowling}, and intended as the first chapter in a whole new fantasy film franchise. 

Rating: PG-13 (for some fantasy action violence.)
Genre: Action & Adventure , Kids & Family , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: David Yates (II)
Written By: J.K. Rowling
In Theaters: Nov 18, 2016 Wide
Runtime: 132 minutes

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 201
Fresh: 153
Rotten: 48

Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
AUDIENCE SCORE 87% liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 49,143


Meet Newt Scamander he's a bit odd, I think he has Aspergers or something. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

A story about wizards, muggles, amazing creatures that don't take place in England and years before Harry even exists...

Truth time. I am not a fan of the Harry Potter books. Have not read a single page from any of the books. Of the film adaptations I have only sat through the first one and not the other ones. The first one I didn't find amusing or interesting enough that I just didn't bother with the rest. There.

Now that that's out of the way let's get on with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. If you've read every book then you would know that the book was mentioned in the first books in the series and that the author's name is Newt Scamander. If you've only seen the movies then you would have no idea who he is and why there's suddenly a movie about him. But sometime in 2001 J.K. Rowling published something that is known as a false document. That's when an author writes a book that is related to another book or series but isn't relevant to the actual narrative of that book or series. What was this book called? 

He has very interesting pets. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

Well it was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with an introduction by the "author" Newt Scamander. The book was about the many magical creatures that Newt Scamander has studied and is effectively a directory of magical creatures and beasts. The book was also supposed to be owned by Harry and had notes and scribblings by Harry, Ron and Hermione regarding their own adventurous encounters with some of the beasts listed in the book as well as some in-jokes related to their adventures from the series. The book was published to raise money for the British charity Comic Relief.

This is Jacob and all he wants to be is a baker and not walk into a strange man's withered suitcase. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

So the honest truth is is that there never really was an actual story to Newt Scamander until sometime in 2013 when it was first announced that there would be a movie about him and that J.K. Rowling would be the screenwriter for the film. And aside from that the directory of fantastic beasts written by Newt Scamander there probably won't be a book about Newt's adventures. Newt's life will instead be told on the big screen as in addition to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them there's no less than 4 films that will follow it. 

This is Credence and he has a very interesting secret.©Warner Bros. Pictures

Anyway, on to the film at hand and what I like about it. 

  • I rather liked the story. Granted I may not be as familiar with the Harry Potter world seeing as I've really only seen one of the many Harry Potter films from start to finish I still have to say it feels very familiar yet very different. It's a lot lighter throughout, there's more whimsy to it. Yes it is also quite dark in places but in general the mood of the film feels light and whimsical.
  • The cast. Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander did a brilliant job portraying the somewhat awkward and introverted character in my opinion and the cast that were constantly around him, Dan Fogler who plays Jacob Kowalski and Katherine Waterston as Porpentina Goldstein really complemented each other in their scenes together. Then there's also that little budding romance scene between Kowalski and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) which was just adorable. Also Colin Farrell who plays Percival Graves who throughout you're wondering what he's really up to. And finally I liked Ezra Miller's portrayal of Credence Barebones. 
  • The Beasts. There were quite cool to look at even though at times they looked less than believable. 
  • I loved the attention to details given to what you see on screen in terms of the costume and set design. The details were crisp and lovely. 
  • The visual effects were also quite good aside from the beasts. The only time I sort of thought they were a little disappointing was during the scene where Newt shows Jacob around his fantastic beast sanctuary. There the physical backdrops and set pieces didn't seem to blend all too well with the special effects. 
This is a very angry man. He too has secrets. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

Overall Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an entertaining movie. For those who like me didn't seem to fancy the Harry Potter series for whatever reason this might be just be the franchise that'll get you somewhat interested in the Potter universe. For those who are already fans then this will be the next second time the fall in love with the whole wizards and magical world of Harry Potter albeit this time with an all adult cast, which I guess would be perfect since most of those who grew up watching the Harry Potter series are pretty much adults now. 

You'll see this little guy the most and he causes the most problems for Newt. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

I really did enjoy watching this movie and am sort of looking forward to where J.K. Rowling will take Newt Scamander on his next misadventure. It also helps that I think Eddie Redmayne is pretty darned good actor. I'm going to give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a solid 3.5 out of 5.

Check out the latest trailer for it right here.


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