Friday, 18 November 2016 00:00

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 4 out of 4 paws

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Warner Bros. Pictures and Heyday Films present a PG-13, 133 minute, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, directed by David Yates, textbook by J.K. Rowling with a theater release date of November 18, 2016.


It’s 1926 in New York and writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just arrived from London carrying nothing but a small suitcase. Inside is his menagerie of fantastic beasts that he has collected from around the world. Something has been wreaking havoc on New York and the hidden world of wizards and witches run by Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Marzano) with the help of her Director of Magical Security at MACUSA Percival Graves (Colin Farrell). Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) used to work at MACUSA, Magical Congress of the United States of America, as an Auror that is until she was demoted to a desk job for thinking too often with her heart rather than her head. She lives in New York with her younger sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) very beautiful and able to read minds who happens to work at MACUSA as well. Porpentina has always wanted to be an investigator for MACUSA and while keeping an eye on Newt while in town she figures this is her chance to catch him in the wrong.

It’s a small world even in New York, Newt bumps into a man on the street named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) a No-Maj (American for Muggle) who happens to work in a cannery which he hates. He was in the city trying to get a loan to open up his very own bakery, out to make mamma proud. Still Porpentina has a close eye on Newt and what she discovers is after just arriving in the city he is already causing havoc. His Niffler has escaped and is out for shiny valuable things; basically this creature is a bit of a thief and will stop at nothing to get what it wants. Once again Newt and Jacob meet up and thanks to the Niffler things don’t look good for either of them. Eventually the two men after going through some rough encounters part ways yet Newt did not erase his memory and Jacob mistakenly left with Newt’s bag since they both looked alike. Porpentina took notice and escorted Newt to MACUSA for breaking the magical laws.

MACUSA ignores Porpentina and releases Newt who in turn is in the city looking for Jacob and his bag which contains the beasts. Meanwhile back at his apartment Jacob has released some of the beasts which are loose in the city and when Newt finds Jacob his next step is to capture his beasts, Niffler the thief, Erumpent a huge beast that happens to be in heat and in one hysterical moment falls for Jacob and Demiguise who has been taking care of Occamy that hides in a huge building in the city. Also in the city once again Credence (Ezra Miller) is being beaten by his adoptee mother Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) who happens to despise Wizards and Witches and hopes to expose them and rid the world of them. Mary Lou has adopted Credence a shy and quiet boy and his sisters but for some reason she uses any excuse to abuse the boy. Meanwhile the darkness looms throughout the city causing destruction along the way but this time a No-Maj, son of Henry Shaw (Jon Voight), Senator Langdon Shaw (Ronan Raftery) has been violently killed and Seraphina blames Newt and Porpentina for the death and the exposure of their society to the rest of the No-Maj’s.

So Newt and Porpentina are trying to clear their names along with the help from Queenie and Jacob as well as capture his beasts and discover the presence of the obscure darkness. Graves is battling Newt because he does not trust him and his beast and afraid he could break their code of secrecy yet for some reason Graves has taken a confusing obsession with Credence. Jacob has fallen for Queenie and being aware of the secret world around him and now a good friend of Newt’s he wishes he could no longer be a No-Maj. Albeit in the end it all comes to a closed chapter and the darkness has lifted but all that you thought was true may not all be so yet thank goodness for Newt and his fantastic beasts.

This film was fantastic and to a degree I enjoyed it more than the Harry Potter series maybe because of all the amazing beasts that fly, jump, slighter and roar across the big screen for over two hours and each with their own peculiar personality. The score is right up there with the Harry Potter films and the wardrobe is spot on. Great direction and superb writing along with spectacular special effects and cinematography make this film the one to watch at the Oscar’s as well as the box office. I highly recommend this prequel to the Harry Potter films. A matter of fact Harry ends up reading Newt’s books seventy years later. You must pay attention though because at times there are many things going on at once and you don’t want to miss a thing. I did think there were a few down times but not enough to take away a top rating from me.

Redmayne once again hits the ball out of the park. I am a huge fan of his and he certainly does not disappoint in this film. The one moment with him and the Erumpent is hysterical and so many other scenes of him and his beasts are just plain breath-taking and beautiful. Waterston was a great cast for his sidekick and brings a sense of silly yet intriguing quality to their scenes along with strength when needed. Fogler is spot on, hysterical and dramatic adding the perfect mix. Sudol is truly beautiful and brings a sense of show girl to her moments yet loving and tenderness to her counterpart in the film, Fogler’s character. Miller is deep and bit odd which is perfect for his character and Farrell as well tends to have an odd quality that keeps you guessing of his motives. A great cast of characters and beasts along with a cameo by Johnny Depp as Gellert Gindelwald make this the perfect film for the holidays. I am already looking forward to the next film with all the fantastic beasts and more.

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