Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
|Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Yates|
|Written by||J. K. Rowling|
|Based on||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J. K. Rowling
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Mark Day|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$479.7 million|
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. A prequel of the Harry Potter film series, the film was produced and written by J. K. Rowling, in her screenwriting debut, and inspired by her book of the same name. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Perlman and Colin Farrell in supporting roles. It is the first instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series, and the ninth overall in J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.
Principal photography began at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden on 17 August 2015. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiered in New York City on 10 November 2016 and was released worldwide on 18 November 2016 in 3D, IMAX 4K Laser and other large format theatres. It received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $479 million worldwide.
In 1926, British wizard Newt Scamander arrives by boat to New York City en route to Arizona. He encounters Mary Lou Barebone, a non-magical woman (“No-Maj” or “muggle“) who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, which claims that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. As Newt listens to her speak, a Niffler escapes from his magically-expanded suitcase, which houses multiple magical creatures. As he attempts to capture it, he meets No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski and they accidentally swap suitcases. Demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard and takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, hoping to regain her former position. However, President Seraphina Picquery and Director of the Magical Security Percival Graves dismiss the case. At Jacob’s apartment, several creatures escape from Newt’s suitcase.
Graves approaches Credence Barebone, Mary Lou’s adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother in exchange for his finding the host of an Obscurus, a dark, destructive force inadvertently manifested by young magical children forced to conceal their powers. The force can be unleashed during periods of anger and stress; Graves believes that it has caused several mysterious destructive incidents around the city.
After Tina and Newt find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment and introduces them to Queenie, her Legilimens sister. Queenie and Jacob are mutually attracted, though American wizards are forbidden to marry No-Majs or interact with them. Newt takes Jacob inside his magically-expanded suitcase, where Jacob encounters a contained Obscurus that Newt recently extracted from a girl who died. Newt persuades Jacob to help search for the missing creatures. After re-capturing two of the three escaped beasts, they re-enter the suitcase, which Tina takes to MACUSA. Officials arrest them, believing one of Newt’s beasts to be responsible for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr., and decide to destroy Newt’s suitcase and obliviate Jacob’s memory. Graves interrogates Newt and Tina and accuses Newt of conspiring with the infamous dark wizardGellert Grindelwald. Newt and Tina are immediately sentenced to death, but they escape and meet up with Queenie and Jacob; the foursome then capture the last of the creatures after receiving a tip from the goblin gangster Gnarlack.
Credence finds a wand under his adopted sister Modesty’s bed. Mary Lou assumes the wand is Credence’s, but Modesty claims it is hers. When she is about to be punished, the Obscurus is unleashed, killing everyone except Modesty and Credence. Graves arrives and dismisses Credence as being a Squib (a non-magical person of wizard ancestry), and refuses to tutor him in magic after they enter Modesty’s biological family’s home. Credence then reveals himself as the host of the Obscurus, the real cause of Shaw’s death, and unleashes it upon the city in a rage.
In a subway tunnel, Newt talks to Credence but is attacked by Graves. Tina, who knows Credence, arrives and attempts to calm him, while Graves tries to convince Credence to listen to him instead. As Credence begins to settle into human form, Picquery arrives with Aurors and decides Credence’s life must be forfeited to keep the existence of magic hidden. The Aurors apparently disintegrate him, but Newt notices a tiny wisp of the Obscurus fleeing.
- Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander: an eccentric, introverted wizard, magizoologist and an employee at the Ministry of Magic. Scamander is the future author of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry standard textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
- Katherine Waterston as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein: a grounded, down-to-earth witch and a former Auror employed by the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). She longs to fight for what is right, but was demoted to a position well below her skill level.
- Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski: a genial No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker who is accidentally exposed to the New York City magical community after meeting Newt.
- Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein: Porpentina’s younger sister and roommate, described as a bombshell, free-spirited, and big-hearted, and is accomplished in Legilimency.
- Colin Farrell as Percival Graves: a high-ranking Auror and Director of Magical Security for MACUSA. He is charged with the protection of wizards and assigned to track down Newt.
- Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery: the President of MACUSA.
- Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone: Mary Lou’s troubled and mysterious adopted son.
- Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone: a narrow-minded No-Maj and the sinister leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (the NSPS, or “The Second-Salemers”), an extremist group whose goals include exposing and killing wizards and witches.
- Ron Perlman as Gnarlack: a goblin gangster who owns a speakeasy nightclub called The Blind Pig.
- Jon Voight as Henry Shaw Sr.: the father of U.S. senator Henry Shaw Jr. and Langdon Shaw.
- Josh Cowdery as Henry Shaw Jr.: a U.S. senator who holds a rally picketed by the New Salem Philanthropic Society.
- Ronan Raftery as Langdon Shaw: the youngest of Henry Shaw Sr.’s sons, who begins to believe in magic.
- Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty Barebone: a haunted young girl and the youngest of Mary Lou’s adopted children.
- Jenn Murray as Chastity Barebone: the eldest of Mary Lou’s adopted children
- Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald: one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time.
- Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange: Newt’s former love while the two attended Hogwarts. Leta betrayed his trust, leaving him bitter, but he still carries her picture.
While I liked the story, and I love anything to do with magic, the special effects (which are amazing) are of the previously “over used” sort. It was like watching a Marvel Comics movie. The terrible Obscurus looked like a modulating Transformer, or those evil aliens from The Avengers and many of the little tricks that would have seemed amazing if this was the first time I’d seen them, well, as I said before…. They have been “over used.” I am sure they will continue to use these type of effects in all movies, until something better comes along. I did like the way they reconstructed the city at the end. The unbending of iron beams, and how they fit together was spot on. Too bad the effect was wasted on a closing scene.
This story is great. But just like in Harry Potter, the bad guys poof away when they are ended, and the good guys never even hardly kiss the girl. I suffered through the kiddie parts, though. Fantastic Beasts was a bit more adult-ish, and I appreciate that. My two main complaints are… JK Rowling has no business creating a little plant guy that is basically Groot, re-imagined. He was so much like Groot that it irritated me. (I am talking about the baby Groot at the end of GOTG.) And then there was the twist at the end. One of my favorite actors will be in the sequel and that is my other gripe. No one told me Johnny Depp was in this. And he will be in the rest of the followups, because he is Grindelwald.
All in all I give it 4.5 stars, taking the half star away for using something too much like Groot. – MR