Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

You know, after the spectacular conclusion that of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, some of us never really imagined we would return to the world full of wizards. But the word prequel could lead into eye-rolls. But Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one of the good prequels out there. As this takes place 70 years before the first Harry Potter movie, we get to experience this fictional world full of wizards following magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) running around New York with his briefcase full of beasts that have escaped into the city.

This is an interesting story to following because this takes place in America. Something we’ve never have seen before and how other people have no existence of magic. Redmayne as Newt Scamander was a delightful character. He’s a really likable protagonist who cares about protecting these creatures the best he can. Personally, he was charming and I never thought he was annoying. Even he addressed it that people think he’s annoying. What really surprised me was Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. He’s a No-Maj a.k.a. Muggle who gets roped in this world. The other characters were really good too with magic investigator, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her mind-reading sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). And can I just say with scenes with Queenie and Jacob are just wonderful? There was really good chemistry between them.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Colin Farrell’s performance as Percival Graves was interesting. The fantastic beasts themselves were very magical indeed. The CGI work on them was so neat it makes you wanna take some of them home with you. There was a creature that was a scene stealer called a Niffler. The musical score by James Newton Howard was also really good.

It’s definitely a flawed movie as I can’t say it’s great: Some of the story elements weren’t that impressive and there should’ve been more focus on Newt tracking down the creatures. Ezra Miller was a bit pointless and how his character plays out could’ve been handled better. And the pacing was kind of tough during the second act.

Director David Yates, who returns after directing the last four previous Harry Potter films, did an excellent bringing us back to this universe. The action sequences were fun and spectacular. And this is a good mulligan after The Legend of Tarzan. But the credit should go to the author, J.K. Rowling. She wrote the screenplay for this as it was based on Potter’s textbook and you can just see her imagination set free since this is her world because it’s her ideas coming to life.

Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Eddie Redmayne, and Katherine Waterston in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

The best thing to consider is that it didn’t need to rely on the previous Harry Potter films to make sense for this movie. After hearing recently that there will be about four movies continuing in this universe, it’s a good step up for hopefully proving upon the next film to be better than it’s predecessor. For someone who has always been a fan of the Potter series for a long time, it’s worthwhile.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them stood on its own with an adventurous prequel that’s a good beginning to a franchise set in the Harry Potter universe.

Grade: B

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