Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

To the fans of Harry Potter movies who thought they would never see another movie from this magical world, will jump for joy to know that J.K. Rowling is far from over and to prepare ourselves for another set of movies. Over the weekend, the first of I am sure many to come was released. I am a Harry Potter Fan. I discovered I would be a member of the Hufflepuff house in Hogwarts school of Wizardry. The kind of fan that have seen the movies but not read the books. So this review is based on the perspective of such a fan.

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Anticipating and going into this movie I was very excited and curious how they were going to continue this story. By the end of the film, I found myself a little conflicted whether I liked the movie or not because it felt like I was watching more than one movie. From what you see in the advertisements and the title of the film, the likelihood you are going to see a lot of beast, that a pretty fantastic, and you will probably find out where to find them. For the most part that is what I got as Eddie Redmayne leads us into this prequel as Newt Scamander, who travels to America in possession of a briefcase which contains some wonderful beast that need to be watched over and not set loose because in America as well as the rest of the world doesn’t know what magic is and to avoid exposure and possible war the world of magic needs to keep it that way.

This is where the conflict comes in. To start of the first of possibly five movies we are introduced to a world where it is rumor that the world has magic in it, there are such things as witches and wizards. Sort of like the Salem Witch Trials, it’s in everyone’s best interest that the world doesn’t find out about such things. Hijinks ensues when some of those beast are released in the world. Catching the beast seemed to have taken a side story to a main plot, in my honest opinion, didn’t mesh well together. For a while there I wasn’t sure what kind of movie I was watching. The film is more adult than the tone you were use to from the Harry Potter franchise. There is a crime noir vibe that I liked with the costumes, music, and set pieces. Also, the special effects were visually stunning as we see the magic and wonder you would expect.

Mixing the crime noir vibe with the fun and fantasy just felt a little awkward. Just as awkward as our lead and possible love interest found in Katherine Waterson’s character Tina. I didn’t believe in the chemistry between the two. Both great characters but together didn’t make sense. The imagination and creativity of the beast we were exposed to were great. I loved everything about them. Made for good laughs when needed. The character who really shined for me was Queenie played by Alison Sudol. I could have watched a movie all about her and her character. I wanted to know more about her and hope to see her in other films in the franchise.

Overall, this movie is worth a watch, it should also be seen either in 3D or IMAX. Director David Yates, who directed the darker second half of the Harry Potter series, he is a great choice to direct this film. The movie definitely left you wanting more but the journey through didn’t seem to grab you like a catchy pop song would. You aren’t sure if this was a stand alone movie and the next one will have a whole set of new characters with a small connection from one to the next. That made it hard to connect to what was introduced to us. Remember, this is from a fan who watched the movies but didn’t read the books. For those who did read the books and enjoyed them as well as the movies, you could possibly get more out of the film than I did. If you are someone like me who just watched the film, you could walk out just a little underwhelmed as I did.

3 1/2 out of 5

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