Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them – Movie Review: Still Magical

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Dan Folger, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell, directed by David Yates, and with the screenplay written by J.K. Rowling. Fantastic Beast takes place in New York City during the roaring 1920’s, and fifty to sixty years before Harry Potter is born. It follows the story of Newt Scamander who is traveling to release a Magical Creature back to the wild.  Events go awry in the city and some of his animals escape from his magical suitcase.  At the same time his creatures begin to run around the city another dark force or creature is terrorizing the magical and non-magical people of New York.

To say I’m Harry Potter fan might be an understatement. I love the series and jumped on the bandwagon when the fourth book was released. Having another movie separate from Harry Potter, but set in the Wizarding World is fantastic. Just the fact we are escaping back into the magical world was enough to sell me on the movie. My thoughts on this film might be slightly skewed because I enjoy the magical universe J.K. Rowling created to a major degree. I really enjoyed Fantastic Beast, and thought it had the perfect amount of fun charm, message, and hints of the darker world which make up the core of most Potterverse books and films.

The performances for the most part are great. Eddy Redmayne loses himself into the role of Newt. The only issue I had with his performance is the mumbling he did throughout the film. It was hard to hear what he was saying about the animals and what they could do. This was more than likely a character trait of Newt, but maybe they could have highlighted his quirkiness another way. I think the other standout of the film is Dan Folger who plays the muggle or non-mag as they are called in America. He is the audience for the film showing the sense of wonderment a person introduced to the magical world would have. His slight comic relief, but sweet and good natured persona adds a great touch to the film overall. I liked Katherine Waterson character Tina who is a disgraced Auror trying to get her job back. Something however seemed a little off with her performance, but overall it still worked within the framework of the film. Alison Sudol plays her sister Queenie in the movie and quietly steals the show every time she is on screen. Her ability to mind read and turn situations on their head played into the overall fun nature of the Fantastic Beast.

On the flip side of the heroes is Colin Farrell’s Auror detective, Graves, whose motivation isn’t completely understood until the very end of the movie. He keeps interacting with a troubled and abused boy, Credence played by Ezra Miller. Credence’s foster mom beats him and wants to expose the wizarding world. The woman wants to bring Wizards and Witches into the light to persecute them. Graves wants and needs Credence to find a child for him. We don’t find out why until closer to the end of the film. If there is one slight miss for the movie it is with Farrell’s character. The ending of the film helps explain this to a degree, but I would have preferred more motivation for him provided throughout the story.

The underlying message the film has, like any good Rowling story, is about not hiding who you truly are and the damage it can cause. I liked the slight twist Yates and Rowling had in the story, and while I probably should have seen it coming the setup had me fooled. It is overall a very well put together film. The action is fun, the story engaging, and the message is subtle. It is a fun movie which also has a ton of heart and love put into it. The ending might have been too neat, but when you have magic I guess anything is possible. Fantastic Beast is well worth seeing, and worth seeing multiple times in the theaters if you are a Potter fan. If you are just a casual fan or want to see a fun film it is still worth checking out.

What did you think of Fantastic Beast and Where to Find them? Like it or love it, not like it? Comment and let me know. Like share subscribe and all that fun stuff. 

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