Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

(2016)

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Title:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Release Date:
16th November 2016
Runtime:
133 min
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Genres:
Directors:
David Yates
Writers:
J.K. Rowling
Languages:
N/A
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

The year is 1926 and Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident...were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 77%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 86%
IMDb Rating 8.0

Casts

Sam Redford as Customs Official
Scott Goldman as Customs Official (voice)
Tim Bentinck as Witness
Tom Clarke Hill as Photographer 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moviexclusive 17th November, 2016

As enchanting as the best 'Harry Potter' films, this beginning of a new chapter in J.K. Rowling's wizarding world is fun, edgy and ceaselessly fascinating

How do you make a 'Harry Potter' movie without Harry Potter? Before the last of the eight films of J.K. Rowling's staggeringly popular universe five years ago, that must have been the conundrum facing Warner Brothers executives as they stared at the end of the line of their most lucrative franchise. And yet thanks to Rowling herself as well as series stalwart David Yates, there is once again new life to be found in the world of witchcraft and wizardry that she had dreamt up in the seven books of the boy wonder. The inspiration is one of Harry's textbooks at Hogwarts, an essential text which served as a guide to magical animals written by one Newt Scamander. Rowling had written it into a companion piece in 2001, but as those who had read the 128- page book will tell you, there is a lot more that Rowling must have had to add to her first movie script even as an adaptation of that earlier book. That explains why the film's narrative feels like two parallel story lines, both of which are set in the 1920s in New York City. The first (and the one more obviously drawn from her text) concerns the magizoologist and former Hogwarts student's (Eddie Redmayne) arrival with a suitcase of magical creatures in tow. He's here to do field work for the titular book that he's writing, but no thanks to a mix- up involving a klutzy working-class 'no-maj' (meaning 'muggle' or ordinary, non-magical human) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), some of the beasts Newt keeps hidden in his suitcase – which is really a magical device enclosing a massive nature preserve – have escaped. Together with two comely female wizards, the struggling investigator Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson) and her mind-reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), Newt and Jacob set out to chase down these creatures before they wreak more havoc on the city. And yet their blithe adventure could not have taken place in a more complicated time – not only has the Magical Congress of the United States (or MACUSA in short) set out strict rules against the revelation of the existence of wizards and/or the wizarding world, its meticulously cautious Madam President (Carmen Ejojo) has outlawed the possession of all beasts. There is perhaps good reason though – the city is torn by a mysterious force purportedly to be that of an Obscurus, a dark and uncontrollable power manifested by wizards who have repressed (rather than being taught to control) their innate powers. Rounding out the second, and much darker, story is a missing dark wizard called Gellert Grindelward (Johnny Depp), which the opening prologue via numerous newspaper reels informs us has gone underground since his dark doings in Europe. It's no secret that Grindelward and by extension, Depp, whom we see only briefly at the end of the movie, will take up much of the acreage of the four other 'Fantastic Beasts' films that Yates and Rowling have planned. Given how this needs to set the stage for the beginning of a new franchise, there is understandably yards of exposition and a lot of introductions to do within the just-over two hours it has. It also means that, aside from its city-shaking cataclysm of a climax, this is pretty much like an origin story, such that like the first 'Harry Potter' movie, one gets the distinct sense that it is holding back for bigger and hopefully even more intriguing things down the road. Not to say that this first of a quintet isn't charming in and of itself; oh no, in fact, we are confident that Potter fans and newcomers alike will find much to love and beguile of the rich and fascinating fictional world that Rowling has created. Indeed, there is sheer delight in discovering the menagerie of creatures that Newt has hidden in his briefcase – among them a scene-stealing platypus with a penchant for stealing shiny things, a majestic avian which changes shape and size to fill any available space, and a tiny stick-like green insect that can pick locks. Before things get serious, the early scenes with Newt and his unlikely companions pop with escapist fun, not least when he and Jacob get caught in incriminating situations by law enforcement while pursuing their small, furry and oh-so-cute kleptomaniac around bank vaults and jewelry stores. It is also here that we get to savour more fully the effortlessly endearing Redmayne and Fogler, one quirkily adorable as the shy and slightly awkward boy-man and the other an unassuming bumbler whose wide-eyed wonder upon the world previously hidden from his eyes channels our very own. Like how she did with Harry, Ron and Hermoine, Rowling gets a strong character dynamic going around the four cohorts, including a budding attraction between Newt and his Auror-turned-ally Tina as well as a gentle romance between Jacob and Queenie. It is these characters that anchor the busy plotting in the second hour with heartfelt emotion. Even so, the beautifully ornate production design shines through every frame, whether a seedy underground jazz club with all manner of peculiar (if slightly grotesque) creatures to Manhattan's old City Hall subway station where the climax unfolds. The special effects are equally stellar, particularly the transition from our world to that inside the suitcase and a breathtaking scene where the Obscurus wrecks destruction across several of New York's skyscrapers before plunging into the City Hall station. And of course, the close-ups of the various beasts are just as visually stunning, some scary, some cuddly, some ethereal and some just downright goofy. Even without the appeal of adorable young children, 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' is pure enchantment, perfectly setting the stage for a whole new chapter of the wizarding world we've come to embrace through the 'Harry Potter' films. To call it fantastic may be slightly hyperbolic, but you'll be glad to know it doesn't fall too far short.

Reviewed by regula1 17th November, 2016

Harry Potter's Universe Without Potter is Just as Good

The magical community in Britain has been fleshed out rather well through the seven Harry Potter books and the eight films that followed, but America's magic users have been pretty much overlooked. Until now. The year is 1926. In the midst of the dark wizard Grindelwald wreaking havoc in Europe, an unassuming man travels to New York City with a case full of, well, fantastic beasts ( a case which goes full TARDIS, as well). There's also an unknown magical threat tearing up streets and striking fear in the hearts of the nomaj (non-magical, US term for muggle) community. The Magical Congress of the United States is searching for the culprit, and who do they blame? The unassuming man, Newt Scamander, a role that Eddie Redmayne fits into perfectly. With the help of Tina Goldstein, a disgraced Auror, and Jacob Kowalski, a nomaj who gets caught up in Scamander's creature exploits, they must clear Scamander's name and find out who is behind the attacks in New York and stop them. This film has a lot going for it, but it really holds up as an installment of the Harry Potter franchise in the way that it showcases the allure of the universe without the old story of The Boy Who Lived. It is also buoyed by great visual effects and witty banter throughout. This will prove to be just the first of possibly many films in the Harry Potter universe (and yes, Johnny Depp does show up as Grindelwald), and if this film is any indicator of the wonder this universe instills, I can't wait for more.

Reviewed by Harun Karali 15th November, 2016

Magical, Mischievous and Wicked

Perhaps the biggest dilemma you will have before going into this, is whether or not it will live up to the legend of Harry Potter. As someone who loved the series and was skeptical about Yates undertaking this endeavor, I am pleased to say that I'm relieved, As Yates delivers a refreshing and whimsical film. Sure, it doesn't have the characters we've come to love, but with the creatures you encounter and with the added humor of J.K Rowling, you will come to grip with the fact that this movie will leave an impression. Newt is a scientist who has an uncanny resemblance to Doctor Who, as his strange and cunning outlook bares the trademarks of the epic character. Newt is searching for unorthodox creatures. As he stuffs them into his suitcase which is an accident waiting to happen. The suitcase seems to be unhinged and dire need of a proper lock. As he arrives in New York he mixes his bag with Jacob Kowalski, who lets loose beasts that start to run rampant in the streets. J.K. Rowling's first outing as a screenwriter is a wild success, with her keen eye for detail and whimsical taste. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" becomes a fine addition to her epic saga. I'm glad that there are four more awaiting us because if Rowling proved anything, it's that she has a lot more to offer.

Reviewed by tellakemppinen 15th November, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is FANTASTIC

Amazing movie, they've done it again! The cast was amazing (though Johnny Depp as Grindewald takes time to get used to),visual effects stunning and the movie is everything you can except it to be. The movie has so many great moments, it's happy and funny yet serious enough and has AMAZING humour, I laughed a lot while watching it and so did everyone else :) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS MOVIE and can't wait to see more!!! I also love the fact that they didn't try to continue the Potter series but instead made a ''stand alone'' movie franchise which has so many connections to the Harry Potter books/movies, it really made me feel like they're not trying to ''milk us'' but just want to provide us more amazing movies from the world we all love so much :)

Reviewed by Robin Vangampelaere 15th November, 2016

A journey from beginning to end!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a spin-off of the highly successful Harry Potter-franchise. Naturally, there were great expectations for this first part of a whole new franchise in the J.K. Rowling's wizarding world and I can honestly say that it delivers everything you would dreamed of. From minute one the movie gets you on a journey with great visuals, very recognizable music and great performances from Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler. From now and then you get the, sometimes funny, sometimes smart references to Harry Potter, but nevertheless is this a movie that can totally stand on it's own. There are some nitpicks, such as the very long introduction before we start to see what the story is all about and the fact that there were a lot of lines referring to events that were setting up the second or the third movie, but for a film that had to set up the rest of an upcoming franchise it was totally acceptable and not a slight bit tedious. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them stands perfect on its own and doesn't need Harry Potter or any of the planned movies to get you invested in its story and yet it is an obligation for every J.K. Rowling wizarding world-fan to go see this movie. The director David Yates found this perfect balance and ended up with a result that has to be seen in theaters by everyone.