By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)


Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: A Great Start to a New Magical Journey

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton. This film primarily serves as an incredible introduction to a brand new magical journey in the land of witchcraft and wizardry. The narrative follows the story of a wizard from Britain named Newt Scamander who is trying to write a manuscript for his new book. We watch as this young wizard travels to New York carrying a suitcase filled with magical beasts. After a confusion with a muggle or non-mag named Kowalski, the muggle accidentally releases these beasts on the big city of New York. Which then launches us in this journey filled with magic, drama, action, and an original narrative that pays homage to Harry Potter. Yet, it also stands on its own two legs to launch a brand new franchise that is solemnly up to no good.

I was incredibly excited for this film, because I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise and the books as well. So I had high expectations going into this film hoping to go back into this magical world on a great introduction. And, I was not disappointed for the most part. Let me start by saying I loved this film. Eddie Redmayne gives an excellent performance in this film that is almost an interesting combination of the character’s Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter. As he knows so much about these magical beasts and how they can be taken care of, and he gives the audience this brilliant introduction to this side of magic that was not seen as much in the original franchise. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to witness that side of the magical world.


Dan Fogler stole the show for me personally. I had never heard of this actor before this film, and now I will never forget him. He has so many great moments that show his amazing comic chops. And, that could because of the script but I feel that it might have been mostly improve due to how he delivers these lines, and the genuine reaction from his fellow cast members. Colin Farrell also does a really brilliant job in the movie and provides a great character arc in the third act. Samantha Morton is also good in the film. As far as filmmaking goes, there is nothing truly remarkable with the direction.

The film relies heavily on visual effects as well as a ton of exposition, which was expected in my opinion, because it’s the first film in a new franchise telling new stories with new characters. The visual effects are pretty good, but the film I felt relied on them a bit too much. I would have liked to see more dialogue between the characters to flush these characters out. The editing is also done very well to grasp this brand new American wizarding world. The rapid editing can also cause the film to lose tension at certain points, but once again this is an introduction to a new franchise so I understand they are holding some things back for later in the story.      

This is not a perfect movie of course. First installments in new franchises are rarely perfect works of cinema. Nonetheless the flaws I had with film really focus on how this films does rely heavily on visual effects, and it relies heavily on an exposition driven narrative. The film uses many scenes to have characters explain what is happening to the audience. This always takes me out of the movie cause I would rather the filmmakers use creative ways to explain these things. The rapid editing of the film also causes a loss of tension in the third act in my opinion. Because up until the third act I was thoroughly enjoying this film then there was this explosion of visual effects and narrative that lost me with its rapid editing and heavy use of CGI. So that third act really took me back, and then I began analyzing the film on whether the visual effects are relied on or used to help expand the narrative. In my opinion they are relied on to help make the film look pretty. Which I was a little disappointed considering the original franchise focused on a character driven narrative to help further its narrative.

Overall I did enjoy this film, and I’m hoping this heavy use of exposition is used just as Sorcerer’s Stone was used to give us a brilliant introduction to a brand new magical journey of this awesome wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. The performances and original narrative help make this film a fun, intriguing, and new adventure in the American wizard world instead of the British wizard world, which makes this film and this franchise very intriguing and exciting. I’m excited to see where this franchise goes next and I’m going to give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a B. What do you guys think? Are excited for the future of this new franchise? Did you enjoy the new installment? Let me know down in the comments below and as always have a blessed day.

Rating: 4/5



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