Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review
This afternoon my family went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
About Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now available on BluRay, DVD, and as a digital download.
Unlike the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features adult wizards. In the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a textbook used at Hogwarts. The book was written by Newt Scamander.
The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie tells the story of Newt Scamander as he was researching the book. This first film is set in 1926 New York, about 70 years before the events of the main Harry Potter series.
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In the United States, the magical world is governed by the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). Non-magical beings are called No-Majs instead of Muggles. Also, in the United States wizards and witches are prohibited from associating with non magical folks so there are no half bloods like Snape or Lord Voldemort. I also heard no mention of witches and wizards born to non-magical families like Hermione or Lily Potter. The magical community is in hiding as there is a group of Second Salemers who are advocating for a a second Salem witch hunt.
In the Harry Potter stories, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is the author of the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In 1926 while researching his book, Newt Scamander has brought his case of magical creatures to New York. Some of Newt’s creatures escape his case and cause mischief through the city. Newt’s creatures are observed by No-Maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) who ends up helping Newt capture them. Newt catches the attention of former auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) who first pursues Newt and then aids him in locating his creatures. Meanwhile a magical force is wreaking havoc through the city. Graves (Colin Farrell) is a MACUSA employee who is trying to get to solve the mystery of what is happening in the city.
As fans of Harry Potter, we were all excited to see the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. There are some slow points in the beginning of the movie, but the action does pick up towards the end of the film. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a combination of a fantasy movie and a period piece.
Fantastic Beasts has enough connections to the Harry Potter series to delight fans of the series, while maintaining a full separate story. Fans with shape eyes (and ears) will see and hear several references to the Harry Potter films and books.
We definitely enjoyed the movie, but I would have loved to see more information revealed about the different creatures. Since I haven’t read the text book, I didn’t recognize the creatures like my daughter did and know what their magical powers are.
Newt’s creatures range from those that are familiar to readers and viewers of Harry Potter (a bowtruckle) to new creatures for this movie. The creatures each have their own personality and “talent”. My daughter said that most of the creatures in the movie are also in the book.
The Final Reveal/Sequel Setup
There is a final reveal towards the end that sets up the scheduled sequels for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, so I am being intentionally vague. This reveal features a cameo by a well-known actor who will have a much larger role in future films. I heard about the cameo the day before seeing the movie and looked up information on the role. I have to say that without knowing who the actor was, I may not have recognized him.
My husband says that even without advance knowledge, he had figured out the final reveal about halfway through the film.
I am interested to see what direction the future films go in. The movie ends with Newt Scamander returning to England. I wonder if the next movies will be set in England, the United States, or somewhere else completely.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is rated PG-13. The primary reason for the rating is violence. If your child has seen the Harry Potter movies, they should be fine with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Official Press Release
From Warner Brothers Studios:
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” takes us to a new era of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, decades before Harry Potter and half a world away.
Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything,” “The Danish Girl”) stars in the central role of Magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” blockbusters.
There are growing dangers in the wizarding world of 1926 New York. Something mysterious is leaving a path of destruction in the streets, threatening to expose the wizarding community to the No-Majs (American for Muggles), including the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction bent on eradicating them. And the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found.
Unaware of the rising tensions, Newt Scamander arrives in the city nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which are safeguarded in the magical hidden dimensions of his deceptively nondescript leather case. But potential disaster strikes when unsuspecting No-Maj Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in a city already on edge—a serious breach of the Statute of Secrecy that former Auror Tina Goldstein jumps on, seeing her chance to regain her post as an investigator. However, things take an ominous turn when Percival Graves, the enigmatic Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), casts his suspicions on both Newt…and Tina.
Now allied, Newt and Tina, together with Tina’s sister, Queenie, and their new No-Maj friend, Jacob, form a band of unlikely heroes, who must recover Newt’s missing beasts before they come to harm. But the stakes are higher than these four outsiders—now branded fugitives—ever imagined, as their mission puts them on a collision course with dark forces that could push the wizarding and No-Maj worlds to the brink of war.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also stars Katherine Waterston (“Steve Jobs,” “Inherent Vice”) as Tina, Tony Award winner Dan Fogler (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) as Jacob, Alison Sudol (“Transparent”) as Tina’s sister, Queenie, Ezra Miller (“Trainwreck,” upcoming “Justice League”) as Credence, two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (“In America,” “Sweet and Lowdown”) as Mary Lou Barebone, Oscar winner Jon Voight (“Coming Home,” TV’s “Ray Donovan”) as Henry Shaw, Sr., Carmen Ejogo (“Selma”) as Seraphina Picquery, and Colin Farrell (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “True Detective”) as Percival Graves.
The film marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, whose seven beloved Harry Potter books were adapted into the top-grossing film franchise of all time. Her script was inspired by the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by her character Newt Scamander.
In addition to David Yates, the film reunited a number of people from the “Harry Potter” features, including producers David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram. Tim Lewis, Neil Blair and Rick Senat served as executive producers.
The behind-the-scenes creative team included Oscar-winning director of photography Philippe Rousselot (“A River Runs Through It,” the “Sherlock Holmes” movies), three-time Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig (“The English Patient,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Gandhi,” the “Harry Potter” films), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Alice in Wonderland”), Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Tim Burke (“Gladiator,” the “Harry Potter” films), Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Christian Manz (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”), and Yates’ longtime editor Mark Day (the last four “Harry Potter” films). The music was composed by eight-time Oscar nominee James Newton Howard (“Defiance,” “Michael Clayton,” “The Hunger Games” films).
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films Production, a David Yates Film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The film will open worldwide on November 18, 2016, in 2D and 3D in select theatres and IMAX and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. This film has been rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence.