Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Magical Release Date: November 18, 2016
Wizarding Time: 2 hours and 13 minutes
Rated PG-13
Grade: A
Spellbound & Directed By: David Yates

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEMYou’re an interesting man Mr. Scamander. Just like your suitcase,
I think there’s much more to you than meets the eye.
In 1926, Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who works for the Ministry of Magic, has traveled to New York City with a suitcase that has trouble keeping itself locked. Once there, he meets a muggle named Jacob Kowalski as Jacob prepares for a bank loan interview. After Jacob is turned down for a loan to open a pastry shop due to a lack of collateral, the two accidentally switch suitcases. A defeated Jacob returns to his apartment with the suitcase and strange creatures erupt from it. Meanwhile Mary Lou Barebone, leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, preaches about the dangers of the witchcraft in New York City while Tina Goldstein watches Newt as he passes through the crowd. Sensing that something is amiss, she follows Newt as he searches for his missing Niffler. When she discovers that magical creatures are loose in the city, she takes Newt to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) where Newt meets President Seraphina Picquery and the Head of Security Percival Graves. When it is revealed that Newt’s suitcase contains pastries, Newt is free to leave. It soon becomes clear that Graves has an agenda of his own when he meets with Credence (the adoptive son of Mary Lou Barebone) while he is supposed to be investigating Newt’s purpose for visiting NYC. While Newt, Tina, Queenie (Tina’s sister), and Jacob search for the missing creatures a dark ominous creature continues to haunt the streets of New York. As more and more muggles witness their magical behavior, the MACUSA is at risk to be discovered. The introverted and eccentric wizard must use his all of his magic to save his creatures and make things right.FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Yesterday, a wizard entered New York City with a case. A case full of magical creatures.
And, unfortunately, some have escaped.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEMFive years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 concluded the depiction of J.K. Rowling‘s infamous book series, comes a rather delectable cinematic treat to satisfy the appetite of millions of fans across the world. While originally she cast her spell on the teens and tweens in 1997, she has successfully gathered fans across many generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features four adults as the main characters so I believe that the children who grew up with Harry Potter will immensely appreciated this expansion of the franchise while drawing in new fans of all ages. Based on J.K. Rowling’s 2001 embellishment of the Hogwart’s textbook that was introduced in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, this magical masterpiece had me entranced during its 133 minute running time. David Yates returns for this 5th collaboration with the iconic writer to draw the audience back into the immensely entertaining world of witches and wizards while introducing Rowling’s exquisitely clever magical creatures that are a memorizing combination of some ordinary and some not so ordinary animals. Our first peek into the suitcase reveals a Niffler which has a penchant for shiny things. Eddie Redmayne was Rowling’s only choice to portray Newt Scamander and we find out why when watching his performance in casting spells, explaining the habits of the creatures, and forming new bonds with people. I can relate to the character of Newt who has found his purpose in life by collecting and breeding these extraordinary creatures. His favorite is a Bowtruckle, named Picket, who he keeps in his pocket due to attachment issues. Three creatures escape the suitcase, but we also get to soak in the complexities of several more including the magnificent Thunderbird who plays an important role in keeping the peace between muggles and the wizarding community. The breathtaking creatures are brought to life in incredible form by the CGI magic of Rodeo FX. Redmayne has several scenes in which his dry humor provides many chuckles but Dan Fogler cracked me up as he highly complimented the skills of Redmayne. Collin Farrell proves that he has some magic up his sleeve as the mysterious Head of Security while Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol weave their feminine magic on the men. Four time Harry Potter director, David Yates, harnesses all of the movie magic by expertly directing the talented cast and crew while eight time Academy Award nominated composer, James Newton Howard, brings his magical music to accompany the heart pounding and endearing scenes of the film. ACCIO! (A summoning charm) Fly into the theater to capture this one! ~Movie Buffette

You’re an interesting man Mr. Scamander. Just like your suitcase,

I think there’s much more to you than meets the eye.


FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM“I am not one of Grindelwald’s fanatics.” ~ Newt Scamander

Wow!   Where do I begin to tell you how much I love Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I watched it twice before the opening date.   The second time around I viewed it in a Dolby Cinema and it was beyond amazing.  Director David Yates (Legend of Tarzan and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P1 & P2) and J.K. Rowling produced a film that is worthy of being associated with the beloved Harry Potter world.

Muggles around the world rejoice.  There is enough reference to names, things and places that we feel a sense of familiarity, but still allow Yates and Rowling to introduce us to an entire new cast of characters and creatures. Fantastic Beasts is set in the roaring 20s in New York City.  Newt Scamander, a magizoologist from the Ministry arrives at Ellis Island with a mysterious brown suitcase. The customs representative tells Newt that he wants to take a look.  As Newt is putting the case on the counter, he discreetly moves a switch that makes the case “muggle” ready.  When the worker opens the case, all he sees are typical items a tourist would pack.

Unlike the Potter films that are set in Great Britain, Fantastic Beasts is set in America.  The MACUSA (pronounced Ma Coo Sa) is the Magical Congress of the United States of America and is modeled on the Wizards’ Council of Great Britain. Is it located in the Woolworth Building in New York City and run by Seraphina Picquery.  Muggles are called No-Maj for non-magical.

When Newt and his mysterious case arrive on the scene in 1926, strange things are happening in the city.  The film is spectacular in all respects, from the script and screenplay to the casting.  Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl) is brilliant as usual. I especially loved Alison Sudol as the Legilimens Queenie and Dan Foger as No-Maj Jacob Kowalski.  Ezra Miller’s performance as Credence Barebone was chilling.

Fantastic Beasts is mesmerizing.  The special effects from Oscar-winning artist Tim Burke (Gladiator, Black Hawn Down and Harry Potter series) are some of the best I have ever seen.  The motion picture industry continues to improve with emerging technologies. The apparition scenes are dazzling.  I can’t mention the special effects without talking about the extraordinary creatures.  Some of them are downright beautiful.  For one thing, the colors are vibrant, glowing and magnificent. Picket the Bowtruckle is adorable with his expressions and Frank the Thunderbird is glorious with his iridescent feathers.

Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood’s wardrobe is eye-catching.  Once again, she creates outfits that are so well liked that knock-offs are already in the stores.  From the detail in Newt’s overcoat, to the lovely dresses worn by Queenie and Tina, Atwood has crafted striking period pieces and an indelible image for Newt’s character.

“I don’t have the brains to make this up” ~ Jacob Kowalski

 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was worth the wait.  Let the magic begin. Cast a spell on your friend or loved one and take them to the cinema because this film is best seen on the silver screen ~A.S. MacLeod

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander
Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein
Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein
Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski
Colin Farrell as Percival Graves
Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery
Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone
Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone
Ron Perlman as Gnarlack
Jon Voight as Henry Shaw Jr.
& Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald

About Laura McDonald