Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Check the official website here.

So where should I start? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a prequel of Harry Potter series (2001 – 2011) and tells us about the story of Newt Scamander (played by the fantastic himself Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist who, seems to arrive in New York City in the wrong time. The US, New York in particular, is on cautiousness situation since the No-Maj (American terms for Muggles) are felt threatened by Gellert Grindelwald, the previous Dark Prince before Voldemort. Their wary leads to the development of The New Salem Philanthropic Society or The Second Salem, leads by the terrific Madame Barebone (Samantha Morton) who wants to banish all witches from US. On his first arrival in New York, Scamander firstly encountered a No-Maj Baker named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Their first encounters and Scamander’s accident that makes him lost some of his “fantastic beasts” took the interest of Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, a former auror of MACUSA (American Ministry of Magic). Tina then tried to report Scamander to Department of Magical Security, head by the ambitious Percival Graves (yes, you’re right, played by the handsome Colin Farrell). Graves denied Tina’s report so Tina has to deal with Scamander herself. By time, they, alongside Queenie (played by A Fine Frenzy’s vocalist Alison Sudol) and Kowalski, figured out that one of the member of The New Salem, Credence Barebone (played by the next “The Flash” Ezra Miller), has the extremely uncontrollable super power called The Obscurus that potentially starts the war between Magical Society and the real world.

8.2/10. Honestly I don’t know the story of the book, never read it either, and I just watch it for Eddie Redmayne (has a secret crush on his volatility). I also don’t expect too much for any spinoffs, for more or less they usually don’t be as good as the original series, and this movie is not an exception. The starting action where Scamander steps out on your screen, meets Kowalski and finally get into his suitcase and shows off some of his magical creatures is THE BEST PART OF THE MOVIE. After that, you can eat your popcorn, sip on your cokes and just watch it without feeling any more tense. If every Harry Potter movie almost gives you a climatic ending battles, or more revealing truths, don’t expect too much from this movie. This movie is just a beginning, where they are just introducing the new characters and set up for a new curiosity, which a little useless in my opinion. There’s a little surprise at the end of the movie, where Scamander reveals the truth about Percival Graves, but if you already read all the recent news about this movie, it will be no longer a surprise. 

So for me, this movie is just about starting a new series, with handsome (potential) villain (how can you resist the persona of both Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp? Oops!), without any thrilling tense of fantasy film. I just hope the sequel will give me more thrills than this one. Eddie Redmayne is quite expressive, looks like a brilliant zoologist who used to deal with a lot of magical creatures, but clearly this role isn’t his best performance after his Oscar Winning role in The Theory of Everything  (2014) and Oscar Nominating role in The Danish Girl  (2015). Dan Fogler’s awkward hilarity keeps this movie alive, and Ezra Miller still cannot steal the screen after all. I don’t know his future in being The Flash, but I just expect that he will come out of his shell and show us some stellar performances. This movie is also introducing us to the new villain Gellert Grindelwald, the former friend and lover of Albus Dumbledore that has been written in Rita Skeeter’s the Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore and seemingly involved in the death of Dumbledore’s sister Ariana. And there is also an introduction to Newt’s past lover, Leta Lestrange, that seems to be the aunt of, you know, Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy.

Oh and the stars of this movie? The beasts!! They are REALLY fantastic, and they steal the screen! Just a little pathetic to know that a star-studded movie’s real star are created through CGIs, and not a real character.


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