Movie Review : Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Director : David Yates
Starred : Eddie Redmayne, Katherin Watherson, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a movie based on one of Harry Potter's school books created by Newt Scamander. This Harry Potter spinoff also JK Rwoling's first attempt in writing a screenplay. This movie is directed by David Yates, who had directed most of Harry Potter movies, so a sense of familiarity can be felt throughout the movie.

This movie tells a story of Newt Scamander who travels around the world with Magical Creatures in his suitcase. When he arrives in America, however, an unexpected event happens. His suitcase is accidentally taken by a Muggle, or in this movie is called Nomag for Non-Magic people, named Jacob. Jakob unwittingly opens the case, causing several of Newt's creatures to escape. On the other hand, there is a problem with a dark magic called Obscurial which killed a Nomag.

This movie is basically an original story since the book based on this movie is not filled with characterization of Newt and others. Therefore, when Redmayne was introduced as Scamander, I expected that Newt is an awkward young man just like Neville Longbottom. This partly true. Redmayne's Newt, despite being an awkward and weirdness character, is completely interesting. He is expelled from Hogwarts (as horror as it is) yet managed to master a complete understanding of Magical Creatures and their use. This man believes that these creatures are quiet precious and wants to keep them and teaches his friends how to interact with them.

Another standout is Jakob character which is played by Dan Fogler. He is a representative of us LOL A Muggle who is fascinated by the whole Magical things around him. I kinda feel bad for him when he was dragged to several dangerous events, especially on in Central Park.

The whole movie, as all Harry Potter movies do, relies heavily on CGI. Several Magical Creatures look great, especially a giant magnetic bird called Frank and Occamy. The worst CGI for me is the Lion in the middle of New York. It just looks so fake.

Another problem is that that several scenes are too short and several are too long. For example the battle scenes. Battle scene is one of amazing sequence in Harry Potter universe. Many spells, lights,  completed with sound effects are what makes it compelling. However, many battle scenes are too short, especially Tina VS Graves which can be long. The lack of familiar spell also makes it little underwhelming. In Harry Potter, almost people shout the spell which causes some effect for the audience. In this movie, most of them are silent spells. Maybe because in Harry Potter, they are students, and in this one most of them are already experienced wizards. Some wandless magic is also demonstrated which is great.Another short scenes are the suitcase sequence. We don't get enough explanation of the creatures despite how interesting they are. Shame, really because it is incredible.

The new dark magic called Obscurial is rather disturbing for me with the children and its consequences. However, it will be interesting if it is explored well in the sequels since well, Johnny Depp has been confirmed as Grindelwald (A casting choice I hate actually, but I'll give him a chance). I just hope that it doesn't only destroy building and throw people around but there is indeed something crucial about this.

Overall, the movie is great movie which can stand on its own without having Harry Potter names with its original story.

Score : A-

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