Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemReleased on: November 18, 2016 (USA)
The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) 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.
This is not technically a “movie date night” because I saw Fantastic Beasts last week during the Friday matinee showing by myself. Of course, Pierre wasn’t really happy about that but I just couldn’t wait for him to come home from work.
I had high expectations for this film. REALLY HIGH expectations and I have to admit that even though I enjoyed the movie, it didn’t live up to what I expected it to be. This is unlike what my experience was when I first saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. According to JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts is NOT a prequel to the Harry Potter series, but a spin-off. But thinking about it now, it does seem like sort of a prequel. JK Rowling also said that this will be a 5-movie series and will feature Grindelwald and Dumbledore, ending in the fight between the two wizards.
But I digress. I expected Fantastic Beasts to be about Newt HUNTING and LOOKING for the beasts that will ultimately be featured in his textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But let me just tell you this. IT IS NOT ABOUT that at all.
Newt Scamander enters the United States via New York en route to Arizona where he will be setting his Thunderbird free. In New York, he mistakenly switches suitcases with Kowalski, a No-Maj would be a baker who unwittingly sets a few of his animals free. It is also here that he meets his future wife Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, an ex-Auror. Newt is then unwittingly dragged into this No-Maj/Wizard war that has been going on due to the threat of Grindelwald.
Let’s talk about the fantastic beasts.
I thought there weren’t as much shown in the movie. Sure, the niffler was super cute (and now I WANT ONE), and going into Newt’s suitcase where he keeps all his creatures was SUPER AMAZING, I felt there was still something missing.
Let’s go back to my expectations going into the movie. I really thought it was about Newt catching all these fantastical beasts so, I was totally thrown off. I did not expect it to be political AND about Grindelwald AT ALL.
First, I thought all the actors were well cast. But I’m not entirely sure I like Newt’s passivity. He wasn’t what I would have expected in a hero at all. I did like that Tina had all the spunk, Queenie had the innocent charm, and Kowalski was the comic.
The Obscurus is an interesting creature! It is said to be the evil that develops when a wizarding child inhibits/does not use their magical abilities. Obscuri reportedly die before the age of 11 (usually around 10 years old), but Graves thinks that it is an Obscurus who is responsible for the baffling attacks in New York.
I think the most interesting aspect of the movie is the Obscurus! I also have a feeling that this is what Ariana Dumbledore is! Remember that incident where an “accident” killed Dumbledore’s mother? I have a feeling it was Ariana who couldn’t control her Obscurus (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
Because I went into the movie thinking about adventure and capturing magical creatures, I DID NOT expect what the movie was really about.
I wanted more creatures, more adventure.
I LOVED the concept of the Obscurus.
I also think that Newt’s character was underwritten. I wanted more Newt, more adventure.
Also, I want a niffler. And a Thunderbird.
This is a more adult film with a political tone.
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, you will definitely enjoy getting immersed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I saw it in 3D but you don’t really need to see it in 3D.
Have you seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? What did you think of the movie as a whole?
Did you expect it to be about Newt hunting and capturing the beasts or did you think that it was about Grindelwald?