Fantastic Beasts brings back the magic
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The Wizarding World is back and better than ever in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the Harry Potter franchise’s new spin-off.
Set in 1926, the story follows Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who travels to New York City with a case filled with the titular fantastic beasts. The casting director did a great job because this group of actors was incredible. Most of the main cast does an amazing job with creating three-dimensional characters. Eddie Redmayne’s socially inept, but kind, Newt Scamander is presented with such emotional sincerity that he is hard not to like. The rest of the cast complements each other well, with no character seeming like the copy of another. They all have a purpose and a unique skillset to contribute.
Fantastic Beasts is a roller coaster ride. Emotionally and visually, it goes from the first Harry Potter movie to the last one and back again, very quickly. This movie is much darker than I originally thought it would be. People die, abuse is implied and it offers relevant social commentary on societies filled with bigotry and hate. But all this is balanced with humor and equally important ideas of love and friendship. The animation and design of the beasts are also great visual elements.
The score is one of the strongest parts of this movie. James Newton Howard’s music fits into every scene and heightens the emotion of the film.
Of course, this film has its flaws.
For a movie promising fantastic beasts, we don’t see much of them until halfway through the film. And even then, they are mostly just mentioned, and suddenly we’re being introduced to the next one. There are only two beasts that we got to know, which is disappointing, considering the animals are a major selling point of the movie.
To the lack of diversity, I present this picture: (see pic 1). There are very few non-white characters that get screen time in this film, which is disappointing, considering J.K. Rowling, an activist in social justice issues, penned the script. The one black, main character was one of the weakest characters in the film.
There was also a scene in the middle of the movie that just didn’t seem to fit. It was played for humor, but it was just an unsuccessful and painfully awkward transition between plot points.
Overall, this film is an enthralling foray back to the Wizarding World; it succeeds in its efforts of world building and setting up a compelling story that can stand alone from its predecessors. And according to J.K. Rowling, we have four more movies to look forward to.
Unlike many movies, like those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fantastic Beasts does not have an end credit scene.
Find movie tickets and showtimes here.