Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

Today my friends and I went to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in cinema, and I'm here to review it for y'all!

J.K. Rowling actually wrote this screenplay, unlike the other Harry Potter spin off, The Cursed Child.  It is tells the story of Newt Scamander, the author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  The story takes place long before the events in the Harry Potter series, and Harry and friends are not mentioned at all.

This is going to be spoiler heavy and I'm not going to do much summarizing, so if you haven't seen the movie, go watch it (I recommend it) and then come back and we can talk about it.

Alright, ready??? Here we go!

First of all, I loved Eddie Redmayne as Newt.  The fact that Eddie Redmayne starred in it was a huge reason I went to see it in the first place.

Redmayne did not disappoint at all.  He already has a sort of funny and quirky personality, so pulling off the eccentric and somewhat awkward character of Newt seemed effortless.  Not only was Newt lovably awkward and relatable, but he was also extremely knowledgeable deep down, and talented.

The character reached emotional depths and seemed haunted by some sort of past.  This can get very cliche in movies, but I felt that Redmayne pulled it off flawlessly in this film.

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Every shot with Newt in it was instantly better; he lit up the screen.  You know that feeling when you have one character you just love and want in every shot?   Newt was that character for me.  Other characters like this are Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, Han (and to some extent Luke) in Star Wars, Enjolras in Les Mis (movie version), Arthur in Merlin, and Hermoine in Harry Potter.

Newt wasn't the only amazing character though.  The "everyman" character, Jacob, is also very likable.  Early on we are introduced to his goal of opening a bakery for a very sweet reason (pun intended).  He works in a canned food factory and hates his job because he feels that canned food doesn't make people happy.  He longs to open a bakery with his grandmother's recipes because he wants to make something that people will like.  He unfortunately has a hard time fulfilling this goal and getting a loan from the bank.

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Business Insider

Jacob, as a muggle, or "no-magic" as the Americans call them, is the perfect excuse for Newt to explain all things magic to him (and therefore to the audience).  Jacob also is there to look in awe at the different fantastic beasts and let the audience know when to gasp.

Normally characters like this get on my nerves because I feel like it is a dumb excuse to tell the audience what to do.  But Jacob was really funny and I enjoyed scenes he was in as well.

Porpentina is a character that I didn't start off liking, mostly because I sensed a cheap love interest for Newt being introduced.  Throughout the movie she grew on me a bit, and proved herself to be fairly clever.  I felt that Katherine Waterston who plays Porpentina, as well as the rest of the cast, did a phenomenal job.

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With that said, Porpentina did end up becoming a love interest for Newt.  I was happy at the end of the movie when she and Newt agreed to meet up again later in an (admittedly) cute way, but didn't go the extra step and seal it with a kiss.  I really didn't want this to become a huge romance or something.

Can you think of any female character who becomes friends with a male character and they don't fall in love?  There aren't really that many, and sometimes I wish that characters could just remain friends.

I do love a good romance, though, just as long as Porpentina gets on Newt's level, because I really like Newt and want someone suitable for him.

There are five more movies or something like that coming, so hopefully the arc will be long and fulfilling.  I'm so happy they didn't rush it in this movie!!

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Harry Potter Wiki - Wikia

This movie was really funny, with some awesome scenes.  Here is one I particularly loved.

Jacob went to a saloon-type bar with Porpentina and Newt.  He was unaccustomed to the magical world, and so was surprised to find a house-elf tending the bar.  The elf said something like "what you've never seen a house elf" rhetorically when he saw Jacob's surprise.  Jacob, wanting to seem like he fit into the magical world replied, "of course, of course I love uncle is a house-elf."

The movie also had some heart wrenching moments, like when Credance was beat by his "mother", and when Jacob had to have his memory wiped so he wouldn't expose the magical world to no-magics.

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New York Daily News

The very end had a twist ending and revealed Percival Graves, one of the employees of the American Ministry of Magic, was revealed to be Gellert Grindelwald.  Now I don't know much about Harry Potter (I've only ever seen the movies) but my friends explained to me that this was a big deal.  I guess he's kinda like Morgoth and Voldemort is kind of like Sauron?  He is Voldemort's predecessor in evilness?  I dunno, but this was a pretty clear set up for more movies.

As for the plot of the rest of the movie, some places it lagged just a bit, but for the most part it was pretty fluid.  It had a lot of exposition to get through, but with a voice like Newt's explaining things (he ranks with Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Shippey for best British accents), I didn't mind too much.

The movie was pretty aesthetic and had lots of special effects.  They didn't look the most realistic at times, but hey, how are you going to make a giant thunderbird look realistic?  You can't, because they aren't real!  Or are they...?  XD

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Screen Rant

Overall, I felt that the movie was pretty good.  It introduced a lot of new elements to the wizarding world including a whole new continent of wizard functions.  I recommend this movie, and rank it thusly:

  1. The Half-Blood Prince
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  3. Deathly Hallows Pt. I
  4. Deathly Hallows Pt. II
  5. Prisoner of Azkaban
  6. Order of the Phoenix
  7. Goblet of Fire
  8. Chamber of Secrets
  9. Sorcerer's Stone
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  1. My sisters and I are going to go see this first chance we get. :D It looks so fun!

    1. It's definitely worth a watch! Let me know what you think :)

  2. Now I really want to see this! It sounds like a good movie :D