Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Directed By: David Yates
On Thursday, my sister and I finally got to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them before they pulled it from theaters. We were planning to watch it during Thanksgiving break, but we both got too busy and didn’t have time. However, since it’s winter break, we finally got the chance to.
In 1926, Newt Scamander arrives in New York by boat that is en route to Arizona. Things get hectic when a Niffler escapes from his luggage. While trying to capture the Niffler in the bank, he accidentally switches suitcases with a “No-Maj” or Muggle named Jacob Kowalski. When Jacob opens the suitcase, he releases several of Newt’s creatures into the city of New York. Newt and Jacob team up to capture all the fantastical creatures and return them into the suitcase, but they also get entangled with a Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA)’s case where an Obscurus is terrorizing the city.
When I was in fifth grade, I bought J.K. Rowling’s textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I don’t know where I put it, though. T_T Hopefully, I didn’t give it away. My sister didn’t know that the movie was based on that book. In fact, she didn’t know that book existed. So if you are like my sister and are oblivious of the book’s existence, there is a book. 😛
The film can stand alone without book and film comparisons to Harry Potter. The storyline was entertaining and although it felt slow at some points, they did flesh out the characters and set up the major plotline for the future movies.
There’s a lot more action in comparison to the Harry Potter movies, whereas the Harry Potter movies are driven by dialogue more. My favorite scene is when Jacob and Newt were inside Newt’s suitcase and viewers get to see all the beautiful creatures he takes care of. That is something you rarely see in the Harry Potter movies. Fantastical beasts are an important aspect of magic, but Harry Potter rarely focuses on this. Instead, Harry Potter just talks about the dark arts as a primary subject point. So in my opinion, it’s great to have a film where magic isn’t just wands, spells, and potions, but also magical beings that make up this world.
Lastly, I think that the casting of Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone were excellent choices. They portrayed the awkward outcast fairly well. Newt Scamander got expelled from Hogwarts and no one truly understood his fascination to magical beasts. Yet he is able to easily communicate with these creatures as oppose to humans and individuals of the magical community. In fact, he didn’t seem to understand the undertones of Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein’s feelings for him and he didn’t know how to express his feelings towards her as well. As for Credence Barebone, he struggles with living in the “No magic” world because his adoptive mother is against magic and so he is forced to conceal his magic even though he has a desire to express it. Ezra Miller is actually one of my favorite actors. He plays the psychologically troubled character in films really well.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a must-watch. You don’t need to read the Harry Potter books to enjoy the film. So new fans and old fans of the Harry Potter series can enjoy watching it.