Fantastic Beasts Have Been Found!

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is a fantastical story with hints of dark arts and other delicious treats.  This film is highly anticipated by the Harry Potter fans, and it delivers in a few ways.  In order to not over-hype, I went in without expectations, and I think that was the right way to watch this film.  I grew up with Harry Potter and saw each film as it came out.  I read all of the books within 1 week and cried when favorite characters died and cheered when others conquered evil against the odds.  So this spin-off meant a lot to me - a reminder of the magical world of Harry Potter and all of the memories of my youth that come with it.  Though there were not many overlapping characters due to being a different era, the vibe was very cool in 1920's New York, and there were multiple references to Hogwarts and the Harry Potter world that the fans know and love.

Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just arrived in America with a suitcase full of fantastical magical creatures.  And of course he has a love of rescuing, appreciating, and preserving each and every one of them - sounds like he would get along great with Hagrid, the Hogwarts Gamekeeper several decades later.    Newt quickly finds trouble upon arrival and breaks a bunch of wizard laws.  A no-mag (non magical person) which is the term for a muggle in America, is intertwined in Newt's business right away.    The no-mag Kowalski (Dan Fogler) is an aspiring baker stuck in a dead end job, and Newt definitely livens up his life as soon as they meet.  From there, a rule-following wizard Tina (Katherine Waterston) finds and befriends him, and the adventure unfolds as Newt's beasts are blamed for havoc wrecking New York.

The two stand-out actors for me have to be Colin Farrell as Graves, an auror interested in finding out the source of some dark magic happening in New York, and Ezra Miller, who plays Credence, an orphan taken in by a woman who is very against magic.   Farrell is very mesmerizing with his intensity in every interaction.  His movements seem very intentional and make you wonder what his true motives really are.  

This film had dark scenes, intense moments, and light-hearted and fun times too.  I recommend any Harry Potter fans to see this movie.  It still has the charm of the wizarding world, but with fresh faces and a different landscape.  Some of the plot is a bit shoddy and not all of the characters get the same character-building love, but overall it was entertaining.  I look forward to the next installment of FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.

4.5 / 5.0