Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fantastic Beasts (2016 Film) Review

 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is something I've been looking forward to for quite some time. It's a "prequel" to the Harry Potter books/movies but The Boy Who Lived and Lord Voldemort are absent and even the Dark Lord will never be in it. Instead it's set in 1926 and the hero is Newt Scamander, a character briefly mentioned in the books. While the Harry Potter series took place almost entirely in Great Britain, this one is set in the United States of America. Harry Potter lore let us know almost everything about British wizards and witches, but we knew almost nothing of the society of American magic. The biggest question is if  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them holds a candle to Harry Potter's story? My fellow muggles will have to read on. 
 Newt Scamander is a British wizard who is far too old for Hogwarts. But he did go and was sorted into Hufflepuff House and was considered to be respected by even Professor Albus Dumbledore. He arrives to America with a briefcase which is really a magical house for creatures that muggles do not know exist. One manages to escape and he has to track him down. Once he's caught the wily creature, his briefcase is accidentally switched with that of Jacob Kowalski, a muggle who aspires to be a baker. He doesn't realize this for quite some time, and Jacob accidentally opens it up and chaos unfolds. Several magical creatures break free, and it's up to Newt Scamander to put them back where they belong. But he hopes that American wizards or muggles don't hurt these creatures before he arrives as he sees them as misunderstood. But there is a problem for the foreign British wizard in America. 
 And that is Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein, an ex-auror who tries to relive her old job and catches Newt breaking many no-nos for American wizards. He learns from her the word "no-maj" which means muggle or non-wizard. Tina lives with her sister Queenie, but still works for the American magical government known as MACUSA. And they honestly aren't very happy with him. However there is other things to worry about. Like a dark force that is capable of killing muggles and wizards known as an obscurus. There are also muggles that believe that wizards and witches exist and publicly protest and hope to shed light on their world to the rest of the no-maj community. But the worst is that the fearsome dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is still on the loose, and the magical governments in America, Great Britain, and the rest of Europe are unable to find him. 
Overall I really liked  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but I'd say it's not quite as good as the Harry Potter films. But there was a lot of good chemistry between Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein as well as Jacob and Queenie. I wasn't really interested in the magical creatures part, but apparently the new film series isn't suppose to be like that anyway. I hear that some of the sequels won't even have Newt at the center of the story. So while I really liked the original, I have a good hope for the rest of the films. Especially as the "end" is suppose to have (I think) the greatest wizard duel of all time. We'll just have to wait and see to find out. But I will say I really enjoyed Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Johnny Depp in the movie. 

Score: A-


Emmylou said...

Ooooo...your review makes this sound promising. I haven't seen it yet, and being a Potterhead, I should just really go. Really love Eddie Redmayne too. One of the TO critics didn't give it a high mark....baaaaaaah! If the screenplay was written by JK Rowling, it has to be good!!!!

Blue Grumpster said...

Nope, it's not nearly as good. Rule number one: make sure people care about the characters. I only cared about that nomag.

Sailor Mars said...

I'd watch it just to say I did. I finally saw the Harry Potter movies and they were pretty good. It probably wouldn't be as good as I wasn't into the series when I was younger, but it should still be a fun watch.

Unknown said...

nice review!

lu | Giveaway at Coco&Louis

Unknown said...

I have seen in twice (the second time i was actually forced by friends) and it is an OK film at least.
I am hoping Mr Depp will bring something interesting to the series in the next installment.

stephen Hayes said...

Will probably see this movie this weekend.