Hawaii Mom Blog: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review - Now in Theaters!




November 18, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review - Now in Theaters!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Rated PG-13)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an all-new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling.

Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) stars in the central role of wizarding world magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter blockbusters.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also stars Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs, Inherent Vice) as Tina; Tony Award winner Dan Fogler (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Jacob; Alison Sudol (Dig, Transparent) as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Ezra Miller (Trainwreck) as Credence; two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (In America, Sweet and Lowdown) as Mary Lou; Oscar winner Jon Voight (Coming Home, TV’s Ray Donovan) as Henry Shaw, Sr.; Ron Perlman (the Hellboyfilms) as Gnarlack; Carmen Ejogo (Selma) as Seraphina; Jenn Murray (Brooklyn) as Chastity; young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty; and Colin Farrell (True Detective) as Percival Graves.

Hawaii Dad Blog Review:
I saw the first Harry Potter movie when it came out 15 years ago, so when my son and I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the prequel to the Harry Potter series, I did so with a near-blank slate. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to follow along and would miss all the references to the hugely successful franchise.

The movie takes place in 1926 New York. An Englishman, Newt Scamander, arrives on a ship carrying a bottomless suitcase full of rare, magical creatures. He brings them into the states although such beasts have been outlawed by MACUSA, the American magicians organization. Newt wishes to release a giant phoenix-like creature into the wilds of Arizona to prove that these fantastic beasts are not the danger that they are thought to be. This is not a good time for his mission because MACUSA is trying to lie low amidst growing anti-magic sentiments from No-Maj Americans. Leading the fear-mongering against wizards is Mary Lou Barebone, who preaches with her adopted children around town. Her creepy "son," Credence, meets secretly with the powerful Percival Graves who seems to be playing for both teams.

Newt Scamander is followed around by Tina Goldstein, who has been recently demoted by MACUSA, but feels that Newt may be her ticket back into their good graces. Newt runs into Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj who inadvertently releases the fantastic beasts from the suitcase. Together, the three try to capture the creatures before they get into too much mischief.

MACUSA has bigger worries than Newt's escaped beasts. There is an evil force wreaking havoc around town. Does this have anything to do with Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard whose name is dropped throughout the movie, but is only briefly seen? Or is someone else not who he appears to be?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was an entertaining movie even for a Harry Potter newbie. It was a visually fun movie to watch and the story was definitely setting itself up for the sequels to follow). My son enjoyed the humor throughout the film, and said his favorite part was when the portly Jacob struggles to fit into Newt’s suitcase. I do wish that he and I had seen the original eight films because I think we would’ve appreciated this movie even more. That being said, Fantastic Beasts was able to stand on its own and promises to be the start of something magical.

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