Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is the 1st installment of what will be a five part Harry Potter prequel series. It is directed by David Yates, who also directed the final four Harry Potter films. The film stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, as well as Jon Voight and Colin Farrell in supporting roles.
Newt Scamander (Redmayne) is a travelling wizard who arrives in New York, carrying a suitcase that contains many magical creatures. His suitcase gets mixed up with Jacob Kowalski (Fogler), a No-Maj (synonym for Muggle), who accidentally releases a few of the creatures. Scamander also meets Magical Congress investigator Tina Goldstein (Waterston), who eventually comes to assist him in his search for the runaway creatures. However, they soon discover that a much darker magical force is at work and is causing havoc around New York.
Fantastic Beasts takes place about 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter franchise. We, of course, expect to hear no mention of Mr. Potter or Voldemort. J.K. Rowling, though, has offered us another chance to immerse ourselves in the world of wizardry and magic that has fascinated us for years, ever since the first Harry Potter book was published. We now have a new host of characters to fall in love with and gravitate towards. Best of all, we will have future opportunities to continue to see more of the creative spell-casting, exciting monster-vanquishing, and visual splendor that J.K. Rowling has continued to deliver for years with no signs of slowing down.
- The Harry Potter nostalgia. Anyone who is an avid fan of Mr. Potter will have no trouble finding themselves feeling giddy and, perhaps, reliving a part of their childhood.
- The magical creatures. The array of beasts we observe throughout the film are a definitive example that Rowling is adept at keeping the creative juices flowing. The first one we see resembles something like a duckbill platypus possum, and it likes to steal shiny and valuable items and keep them in its kangaroo pouch. There is also another creature that looks like a cross between a blue snake and a predatory bird. These beasts are colorful, sometimes cute, and other times sinister.
- The uneven storytelling. Rowling's script is telling two different stories for an elongated amount of time, and then these two stories are brought together for the grand finale. The focus is dichotomous, and we get frustrated trying to keep up with the relevant characters. A fun adventure to retrieve some lost creatures becomes embroiled in a fight to save New York.
The wizarding world of Harry Potter remains alive and well in Fantastic Beasts. Rowling gives us even more reason to love this magical world despite some uneven storytelling. Harry Potter fans of all ages should consider this a must-see. For newcomers, this isn't a bad place to start. Doesn't it make sense to start here since it comes before Harry Potter?
Recommend? Yes, especially for Harry Potter fans
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