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November 20, 2018

Fantastical Beast and Where to Find Them (2016) --- “From J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, Explore A New Era Of The Wizarding World Before Harry Potter.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Once again Director David Yates returns along author J.K. Rowling as the writer to helm Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2016), the first film in the much anticipated multi-part film series that is pre-Harry Potter. The film takes place in 1926 New York and follows British wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist and writer who collects and preserves fantastic beasts in order to educate wizards and prevent their extinction. After a few mishaps, Newt finds himself on an unplanned adventure amidst the supernatural occurrences plaguing the New York City, as well as finds himself at odds with a Mr. Graves (Colin Farrell). In an effort to save New York City and its inhabitants, Newt allies himself with Tina (Katherine Waterston) an Auror, her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) a Legilimens, and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) a No-Magi/Muggle.  Will they succeed in time? Or will darkness and hate win?

     Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2016) is simply fantastic. By adding this storyline, Rowling offers a new level, a new dimension, to the Harry Potter series. Like its predecessors, or should it successors, Fantastic Beast is captivating from beginning to end and it was refreshing to not experience a rehashing of something that has already been seen before. There references to Harry Potter’s world but they were subtle and don’t take away from the story. In fact, they add to story as little Easter eggs that only fans of the series will pick up on. In addition, both the direction and writing effectively pull on the audiences every emotion and yet still manages to keep a dark and somber feel to this film. It makes sense considering what’s brewing in the background. For those who don’t know, before Voldemort, there was another Dark Lord called Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and his reign of terror is constantly felt throughout the film. These films are not meant to be lighthearted. Instead, they aim to show the true distinction between good and evil while also keep an effective amount of comedic relief which is something the Harry Potter series has always been good at.
     The visuals (Philippe RousselotBig Fish and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) are stunning and magical. The magical duels are exciting and the creatures themselves are interesting, a bit weird, and rich in color. The music (James Newton HowardKing Kong and Batman Begins) is not as magnified or in the forefront of the film like it is in the Harry Potter series, but that does not mean that it is any less magical.
     Aside from the story and technical aspects, another important part of this film is the acting. Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything and Danish Girl) did a wonderful job as the quirky naturalist and magizoologist Newt Scamander. Colin Farrell (The Beguiled and Dumbo) filled the screen as the confident and even arrogant American Auror, Percival Graves. Katherine Waterston (Logan Lucky and Alien: Covenant) was great as the rule stickler American Auror Tina who is trying to get back into the good books with her job. Alison Sudol (Dig) portrays natural Legilimens Queenie, Tina’s sister, with a dreamy, Luna Lovegood like quality that is absolutely perfect for her character. Dan Fogler (The Goldbergs) is perfectly fitting as No-Magi/Muggle Jacob Kowalski, he acts as if he really is Jacob and that makes his performance all the more humorous and real. Ezra Miller (Justice League) was cool and dark as the troubled Credence Barebone who is hiding more then he lets on at first. His character helps give the film a somber quality to it. Carmen Ejogo (Selma and True Detective) portrays Seraphina Picquery, the American Minister of Magic, and while she has limited screen time when she is on screen her performance is effective. And finally, I went into this film with having barely seen the trailer, so it was an interesting surprise to see Johnny Depp (Murder on the Orient Express) as Grindelwald.

     Overall, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2016) is simply fantastic and this is exactly what fan of the Harry Potter series needed. The film is captivating from beginning to end with a new story that is its own thing and yet contains nostalgic references to the Harry Potter films. The creatures and beasts are interesting, the visuals are stunning, and the action is exciting. The music is also reminiscent to the Harry Potter films but also fits with the different tone beautifully. Although this film is a little dark, I highly recommend it as a great family adventure film with lost humor, action, and excitement to captivate any audience member.

"My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice." 
— Newt

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  8.8 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  8.8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Chronicles of Narnia 1: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Chronicles of Narnia 2: Prince Caspian (2008)
Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Eragon (2006)
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016)
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 2 (2018)
Golden Compass (2007)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
Oz The Great and Powerful (2013)
Pan (2015)
Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)

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