Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) Poster

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It was better the second time around...
paul_haakonsen24 April 2017
I watched the movie back in 2016, when it was just released, and believe you me I wasn't impressed. But then again, I never were heavily into the "Harry Potter" universe that Rowling has created.

But I sat down in 2022 to watch "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" again, deciding to start over and actually catch up on the two sequel movies that I hadn't seen either. So of course I started from the beginning to get up to speed.

Now, I didn't particularly enjoy the 2016 movie "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" from writer J. K. Rowling and director David Yates. But I guess 6 years softened me up a bit, as I found a bit more enjoyment in the movie the second time around. Hold your horses, because I am not won-over, nor would I consider myself a fan.

The storyline in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is adequate. I mean, it is not a movie that requires the audience to invest their heart and soul, so you can essentially just lean back and munch on your snacks while you watch the movie. I found the storyline to be boring the first time around, and now in 2022 I found it a bit more interesting. It still wasn't a riveting storyline that had me on the edge of my seat though.

Visually then "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is great. It was so back in 2016, and it is still in 2022. So if for nothing else, then you certainly are in for quite a visual CGI treat if you sit down to watch "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them".

Something that is impressive in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", is the cast list. They certainly had managed to put together rather extensive cast ensemble with lots of talented actors and actresses. While I didn't really care much for the character Newt, then actor Eddie Redmayne actually put on a convincing and good performance as Newt. The movie also have the likes of Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Gemma Chan, Ron Perlman, and Johnny Depp on the cast list.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" certainly is a movie that would have an appeal to the fans of the "Harry Potter" franchise, of that I am quite certain.

My rating of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" lands on a six out of ten stars.
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No story & too much CGI
antoniokowatsch22 November 2016
I have to say that I am really disappointed of the movie as a whole. The Harry Potter movies are easily one of the best and most rewatchable movie franchises so far. And this movie is sadly nothing like the original HP movies. The only thing that is has in common are the special effects (for the apparitions). There was no real dialogue between the characters. Just silly one-liners and the occasional humorous remark. I am also very angered by the fact that they just introduced a new concept (obscurials) to the HP franchise that would literally change everything (if obscurials exist why hasn't Harry Potter become one? After all he fits the criteria).

There was also way too much CGI in the movie. It became a real nuisance after a while. Especially because it wasn't even "up to today's standards".

My final critique concerns the overall flair of the movie. It just didn't feel like it belongs to the magnum opus that is the HP movie franchise. And righteously so; why did they film it in NYC? The HP franchise is the most British thing since James Bond and Doctor Who. I never really realized it before but now that I watched this movie it became very clear to me. You can't just change the location like this and expect the audience to embrace it. Sorry. What's next? Fantastic Beasts in Japan? No thanks. We already have that, it's called Kaiju.
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I liked it
hcarljohan16 November 2016
I really want to draw attention to the title of the review above. I'm sure many die-hard potterheads would want every review on this site to score this movie 10/10 and say it is a masterpiece. Well I can't do that, since that isn't my honest opinion. What I can say though is that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a thoroughly entertaining affair that is well worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of J.K. Rowling's magical world.

For starters the cast was great. Eddie Redmayne feels perfectly cast in main role as Newt Scamander. A very awkward and introverted person who prefers the company of animals rather than humans. He has the quirkyness down to a tee. I also really liked the muggle (or no-maj as the Americans call him) played by Dan Fogler. How he reacts to the whole wizarding world and the events that happen around him is actually really funny. I also thought Katherine Waterstone and Alison Sodul did great playing two sisters who wind up roped in to the whole adventure.

The creatures are the best part of the entire movie by far. They CGI on them looks kind of fake, but it's more than made up for by the concepts alone. Almost all of them have some clever twerk that keep them from feeling generic and they're all filled with personality. The sequences when they're catching these creatures are all really fun to watch.

However there are some problems with this movie. For one it has way too many side characters. A lot of them feel completely underdeveloped and add basically nothing to the overall story (*cough* Jon Voight *cough*). There's also a magical threat that becomes more central towards the end but it honestly kind of left me scratching my head. I just wasn't that engaged in that part of the story to be honest.

Still these problems are not enough to ruin the movie by any means. It's filled with wonder and creativity and being back in the world of witchcraft and wizardry is worth the price of admission alone. I enjoyed the characters, the humour and the creatures a whole lot. I also want to give J.K. Rowling huge credit for not just rehashing the Harry Potter story again. This is fresh and new and while it isn't flawless by any means it's certainly entertaining!
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Magical introduction to the new era wizarding world
TheLittleSongbird20 November 2016
Having grown up with the Harry Potter books, and as someone who found a lot to like with all the films (though admittedly some were better than others), expectations were high for 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. Especially also with such good word of mouth.

Those high expectations were met, and more. 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' serves as an introduction to the new era of the wizarding world, and not succeeds brilliantly doing that but also works as a magical slice of entertainment in its own. A long film it is, but a vast majority of the time it doesn't feel like it, so engrossing is the world that the film creates.

Not all's perfect. 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' takes a bit of time to get going, with a slow and overlong introduction that tended to also be confusingly written. Jon Voight is wasted as a character with not much personality or development and with a subplot that practically is forgotten about, both by the viewer and by the film. It is too early to tell how well Grindelwald will fare as a villain, but first impressions weren't that promising with Johnny Depp's performance not really igniting my fire, for somebody who specialises in oddball roles he just seemed too lightweight for such an evil character. This said, the future films I'm sure will turn this around if they keep going forward rather than backward.

'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' lives up to its name visually. The look of the film is spellbinding, from the wonderful use of colour, with perfectly contrasting shades of light and dark, to cinematography that is never garish and too simple or murky and convoluted, a standout of the latter being that long shot of Credence and Graves in the alley. The standout is easily for the interiors of the suitcase, our looks of awe matching the characters'. Even better are the special effects for the creatures, all of which are technical marvels. This said they are more than that, they are also creatures with their own distinct identity and purpose, as great as Demiguise, Occamy and Thunderbird the standout is the adorable Niffler who also provides some of the biggest and best laughs.

James Newton Howard's music score has the right amount of the haunting, the whimsical, the ethereal and the rousing, always dynamic with the action and what's going on in the film. The script has some grim social-commentary and suspense, which gives the film its darkness, while also bringing some perfectly pitched humour (mostly from Jacob and the Niffler), poignant emotion and sense of wonder, while balancing these different tones in a way that never makes one think "it's trying to be too many things" or "it doesn't know what it wants to be". The references to details from Harry Potter will make die-hard fans squeal with delight, they certainly gave me a sense of nostalgia. There is a lot going on in the story, but all in a way that is told with charm, exuberant and offbeat wit, enchanting imagination and nail-biting suspense. Loved the little details as well, such as the wand-shining house elfs, the bake-offs, the office-cleaning and the magically translucent umbrellas.

David Yates was more than ideal as director, having the firm ground from having directed the last four Harry Potter films. There are no complaints to be had visually and technically, and, other than the slow start, could find little to fault with the way the story was told. The characters are well drawn and their personalities well established, with the only real glaring exception being with Voight's character. Found myself really caring for the heroes and the creatures, and got a real sense of threat from the villains (excepting Grindelwald).

Acting was top notch, apart from Depp (and Voight doesn't really have much to work with to make any distinction), with Eddie Redmayne on superbly eccentric and endearingly quirky form. He is ideally matched by an affecting Alison Sudol, a charming Katherine Waterson and a highly amusing and amiable Dan Folger. On villain duty is Colin Farrell playing his dastardly role with smarmy relish and a chilling and heart-breakingly repressed Ezra Miller, though the latter is more ambiguous as a character whereas the former is full-on villainous. Samantha Morton also impresses.

On the whole, a magical introduction to the new era wizarding world, and mostly it is fantastic. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Huge, pathetic waste of time (I even fell asleep from time to time)
RodrigAndrisan20 November 2016
When they have nothing to say and no message to deliver, but they still want to make a movie, they are resorting to special effects. Special effects over special effects. Nothing matters anymore, the story, the actors, the direction, nothing at all. The music in this kind of films is always the same, it seems to be a carbon copy. Poor Jon Voight, what a huge distance from "Midnight Cowboy", "Coming Home", and "Runaway Train" (all three absolute masterpieces), and his next films (culminating with this s..t). Poor Colin Farrell, also a very good actor himself (but not here, here everything is bad). Poor cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, what he came to do... (he's the one who signed in the past the cinematography to masterpieces like "Diva", "The Moon in the Gutter", "The Emerald Forest", "The Bear", "Dangerous Liaisons", "Henry & June"). Mr. Director David Yates is an expert in stupidity, he's making only poop-movies. Only one thing I liked in this huge mess: the pastries in the shape of fantastic beasts offered by Kowalski (Dan Fogler) in his shop at the end of the film.
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Sometimes a Bit Hard to Know The Foundation of Good and Evil
Hitchcoc21 November 2016
I really enjoyed watching this film. It is visually astounding with some amazing creatures which inhabit a world that is familiar to us, New York of the 1920's. Eddie Redmain comes to the big city from London to find a weird creature. It is quite destructive and his task is difficult because laws have been passed against magic. There are several factions in the city, the strength of whom is difficult to pinpoint. We have no trouble realizing who the heroes are, but the infighting within the administration is not totally clear (although I'm probably too inept to get it the first time). There is a delicate balance between the edgy, dire blackness of Harry Potter and its humor. Some of the creatures are hilarious, but when push comes to shove, there is nothing funny about what is happening. Lives are being lost and religious fanatics are seizing power. Life in the city is crippled by poverty and despair. I understand there are several films yet to be made that bank on the unanswered questions in this one. I am hoping to watch this again to get more of an understanding of it. Oh! The special effects are beyond belief.
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SFX pretty good, characters & pacing lacking.
beany_kelly19 December 2016
It's OK, I suppose.

Good parts: Period costumes & sets were beautiful. Special effects were (mostly) very good, and the Fantastic Beasts were individually great fun.

So-so parts: The acting was only OK. Newt (Eddie Redmayne) in particular left me dissatisfied. Yes he's playing an introverted character, but I saw no reason for the bond he seemed to build with Tina. The MACUSA wizards & witches were extremely underdeveloped, including the President. Their hot-and-cold treatment of Tina for her interruptions made no sense to me either.

Poor: The editing seemed off to me, in a way I haven't noticed since The Chamber of Secrets. --- awkward pauses littered the film, robbing it of its momentum. Newt's interaction with some of the larger beasts didn't look realistic (e.g. his stroking the Thunderbird's neck). And I personally dislike FX-heavy movies where the Big Bad is some amorphous cloud (not as bad as Green Lantern, but pretty bad).

Final thought: why do so many large beasts have bird's heads? This seems to be a thing with Rowling ...
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Charming and endearing!
Aris2518 November 2016
I admit walking into the theater, I was very excited but also a little apprehensive. I should not have worried at all though, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was incredibly enjoyable! Rowling's magical world is as alluring and fun as ever! For me, the best thing about this movie is exactly that. Exploring this world.

In the Harry Potter saga, with the exception of Deathly Hallows, most of the action was confined in Hogwarts. When we were taken out of the school, the main characters, being underage, were not allowed to do magic. The novelty in this movie is that we get to follow a fully fledged adult wizard in an entirely new environment and observe the dynamics and workings of the magical society.

Said wizard is Newt Scamander, a magical zoologist that traveled the world in order to find and document rare creatures, which he carries in his magical suitcase. When this suitcase gets mixed up with one that belongs to muggle Jacob, some of Newt's creatures escape and cause problems in New York.

Eddie Redmayne shines in this movie. He plays a very clearly British, endearing and slightly awkward Newt, but the character's kindness is obvious by the loving and friendly way that he treats his magical creatures. Dan Fogler does a great job as Jacob Kowalski, the muggle who is suddenly thrown into a world of wonder that existed beside him all along. He is the one the audience can best relate to, since he mirrors our sense of marvel. Katherine Waterstone and Alison Sudol also do a good job as the two vastly different magical sisters, who aid Newt in his adventure. If I had a small gripe, it would be that the excellent Colin Farell was in my opinion under used.

All in all, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a solid and visually stunning movie that manages to achieve three things.

First, although it takes place in the Harry Potter universe, it stands apart and has its very own story, which can be enjoyed separately from that of the famous young wizard. Second, it drops quite a few hints and names, which not only tie in nicely with the stories that we know, but also serve to set up the next installments, which are rumored to document Dumbledore's past and connection with Grindelwald. Finally, the movie features a bustling 1926 New York, which coupled with the intriguing character dynamics, offers a brand new insight into Rowling magical world and leaves us poor muggles asking for more.

After following Harry's adventures, many of us were left wanting to see much more of the story and luckily for us, it seems Rowling has that much more to offer. Personally, I can't wait for the next movie, great job!
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Drab & Charmless with a Mumbling Protagonist & Lifeless Production
LeonLouisRicci2 June 2017
Borderline Charmless with a Lead Character (Eddie Redmayne) that Mumbles, Withdraws, and is Virtually Lifeless. The Female Lead (Katherine Waterston) is a Good Pairing because Her Character is Lifeless too.

Then there's Jon Voight, who is Absent Anything to do with a Sub-Plot that goes Nowhere. Colin Farrell (as a main antagonist) seems Depressed to be there.

It doesn't Bode Well when the most Engaging Characters are Secondary, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton and Their Flirtatious Frolicking Occasionally Lifts the Movie from its Doldrums, as do a few of the Titular Beasts.

But the Look of the Movie is Drab Brown and the Film is Drab in other ways. There is Very Little Energy when a Beast isn't On Screen and the Production seems Static and Stiff.

The CGI is Generic and the "X-Men Mutant vs Human" Story is a Lazy Recycling. In the End the Main Antagonist is a Reveal that is Not-Surprising and is Rendered as a Whirling Spiral of a Dark Liquid Mist (talk about a let-down).

It's an OK Time-Waster but Overall it's such a Waste of Budget, Writing Talent, and when Imagination is Lacking in a Film that IS Imagination, it becomes a Missed Opportunity at Best and at Worst, a Disappointing Development in a Franchise that Deserves Better.
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Boring One
santanum-2337928 October 2020
Watched the movie but can't find interest at any point, story line must be better.
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More style than substance
grantss1 October 2017
1926, New York. Newt Scamander, an English wizard, has just arrived in the city, complete with a suitcase full of magic, including a rather mysterious creature. He soon discovers that wizards and witches are not looked upon favourably and is soon in trouble with the authorities, due to them clamping down on wizards and witches. When his magical case is switched with that of an everyday, non- magical citizen, adventures ensue.

A prequel to Harry Potter, and I'm not a Harry Potter fan. This said, the movie initially seemed to have a decent, intriguing plot, so I had hopes for something good, well, better, more substantial, than Harry Potter.

Alas, it was not to be. The movie soon falls back on the Harry Potter formula of style-over-substance disguised by a host of sci fi / fantasy themes, terms and effects. Ends up just being special effects for special effects' sake.
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the expanding world of Harry Potter
lee_eisenberg2 December 2016
J. K. Rowling added a new dimension to the Harry Potter universe with a story about the author of one of Harry's textbooks. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" depicts eccentric wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York City in 1926. A mishap gives Newt a few unplanned adventures amid the supernatural occurrences plaguing the city. And there are a few references that should catch people's attention. Overall, from what I could tell, the movie makes a point about discrimination and witch-hunting (and the laws against wizards marrying non-wizards is probably an allusion to the infamous anti-miscegenation laws).

But most importantly, it's a fun movie. As in the original series, each of the characters has something to contribute. David Yates, who directed a couple of the Harry Potter movies, does a good job here.
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Entertaining Adventure
claudio_carvalho15 January 2017
In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the magician Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) comes to New York City. While listening to the speech of the non-maj Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) telling that witches and wizards are dangerous, he lets a Niffler escape from his magical suitcase. Newt tries to capture the creature in a bank, but he stumbles upon the non-maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger), who is a cannery worker unsuccessfully trying to raise a loan to buy a bakery. Newt captures the Niffler but he accidentally swaps his suitcase with Jacob. The former Auror Tina Golstein (Katherine Waterson) arrests Newt since he has not registered as a wizard in New York and brings him to the MACUSA. However, when she opens his suitcase, she finds only donuts and baked goods. Newt is released but his creatures flee from his suitcase at Jacob's apartment. When Newt and Tina find Jacob, Newt wants to obliviate his memory but Tina decides to bring him to her apartment since he is wounded and confused. She introduces her sister Queenie (Alison Sudof) to Newt and Jacob, and Queenie and Jacob feel immediately attracted by each other. During the night, Newt brings Jacob with him through the magical suitcase to help him to search for the creatures that are missing. However Tina takes the suitcase to the MACUSA and they are arrested since she believes one of Newt's creature is the responsible for killing a senator. However the wizard Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) accuses Newt of conspiracy with the notorious wizard Gellert Grindelwald and Newt and Tina are sentenced to death. What will happen to them?

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is an entertaining adventure with a flawed story. For example, why Newt needs to travel by ship if he may move using his magic? The cast is excellent, highlighting the cameo of Johnny Depp. The CGI is top-notch and despite the running time, the viewer does not feel bored. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Animais Fantásticos e Onde Habitam" ("Fantastic Beasts and Where They Live")
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A Harry Potter based film without Harry Potter? No problem.
Filvies14425 November 2016
Originality is nearly non-existent in the movie industry now a days since sequels, spin-offs, prequels, and Remakes dominate. But I do usually see them because the originals are good. Checking this out in theaters for me didn't require any trailers, because its based on the Harry Potter universe. What's not to like about that?

This film is set in the same universe as Harry Potter, except in 1926, in New York. It is centered on the wizard Newt Scamander, who brings magical a suitcase containing Magical Creatures to New York, but when the creatures come loose, its up to him and his friends to get them back to avoid getting exposed to non magical people. The movie mostly has a good pace, and is fun. It also introduces interesting ideas to the universe, which really got me intrigued. However, it can be confusing, and hard to get into at first. When I watched it, it took me 10-15 minutes to understand it. But those little nitpicks don't take away the good writing this film has.

For the characters of this film, they are a pretty enjoyable cast. The main character Newt (I'm just going to be honest) is a moron. Seriously why would anyone think that bringing a suitcase of magical creatures that isn't 100% secure to a city of non magical people is a wonderful idea? However, he is a fun character with a goofy personality and if great to follow. Also joining the adventure, is the auror Tina and her sister Queenie, who are likable and contribute to the adventure. But my favorite character is Jacob, who is a no-maj(non magical person) who gets involved in the adventure and helps Newt. I liked how he has a goofy personality and is very funny. The fantastic beasts in the movie are also really funny, and cute as well. I only mentioned those because the rest of the cast involves spoilers, but the characters are overall pleasant additions to the Harry Potter universe.

The visual effects in this movie are better than shown in the other 8 Harry Potter movies. The budget is 180 million and it shows. The design of the animals are brilliant, (just to avoid the "fantastic" pun)with unique abilities, and they all stand out rather than simply having dragons. Other magic in the film is unique (like the suitcase). I like how this film used many more of these ideas to bring to life and doesn't make it stand out as much in the action scenes or use gimmicks (unlike the other Harry Potter films). So overall, brilliant visual effects to add to this film.

After the Harry Potter films, I didn't expect this spin-off to be this good, but I was wrong. The movie is overall a holiday treat with a Fun story and characters, interesting ideas, and awesome effects. It is a recommendation from me indeed, and after this, we'll see if the next spin-off coming to theaters near us, Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, can top this.
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Yayor J K Rowling
Figgy66-915-59847022 November 2016
21 November 2016 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. For those of you who are missing the adventures of Harry Potter and his wizarding world, Fantastic Beasts plugs that gap with alacrity. With a cast headed by the supremely talented Eddie Redmayne, as Newt Scamander, this film immerses us once more into a place where the world of wizard and No-Maj (American for Muggle) collide. We are again treated to an insight of the machinations of J K Rowling's brain, and I for one am always happy that she shares it with our world. You absolutely do not have to watch any of the Harry Potter films to understand any of the references to Muggles, Hogwarts and the like, this film is story on its own and we are introduced to a whole new collection of characters.......and magical beasts, some of which are cute and some downright weird. Excellent visual effects, and a screenplay which includes more than a few lighthearted moments. Another smash from the wizarding world and I eagerly await the next instalment.
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Absolute Rubbish, no story, no characters, just special effects
georgechristophert25 November 2016
It is unbelievable that JK Rowling's name is even attached to this film.

The discipline and thought that went into the Harry Potter characters and story certainly wasn't applied to this catastrophe, which, like the Hobbit and so many other Hollywood regurgitation(s), merely seeks massive profits by piggybacking on a successful franchise while being utterly devoid of substance.

It isn't even worth going into detail. There is only one truly likable character, though you can't relate to ANY character as we know absolutely nothing about them, nor do they have any developed relationships with each other.

The entire script is built around the magical creatures doing damage to NYC, again, a ridiculous premise, as the damage is massive and there is no backlash. The complicated boundaries between the magical and non-magical worlds and people, so well laid out in HP, are completely absent. The most ridiculous example of idiotic, careless detail is that for most of the scenes on the streets of NYC, it is practically a ghost town, whereas in reality, NYC in the 1920s was nearly as densely populated as it is now. Perhaps more so, not worth it to fact check this.

And Eddie Redmayne as the lead was totally inaccessible, not engaging and half of his speech literally unintelligible. Fully one third into the movie it is finally established that he, the lead character, is closer to magical creatures than humans, but by then, not only do we not care about him or like him, but really the script gives him not ONE real relationship wherein to show forth his character. Who is he? Where does he come from? We don't know. Anyway, a horrible choice for a lead character, someone who has no emotional connection to any characters. Even his relations to the animals is explored surface level, there is no one relationship with anyone or anything that develops throughout the story and makes the audience care about the character. Only superficial plot-related details are given and there is no emotional or human life at all.

This is the same way all the characters, every single one, is treated. They are merely 2 dimensional props, there to perpetuate a plot that is mostly centered around special effects and hubris action, magical creatures rampaging here and there, and, as I said, unrealistically, going on undetected.

Literally, not one shining point to this film. Another disgrace to storytelling, devoid of all substance and creativity, pumped out of the Warner Bros fecal-making factory. Utterly disappointed.
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Visually great, but what was it about actually??
paulclaassen28 June 2018
Despite the big hype and the film's huge commercial success, I did not enjoy it one bit. It is cartoonish silly at times without an ounce of realism. Just like JK Rowling's Harry Potter series I couldn't be bothered with anything about this movie. It's just not convincing. The visual effects are indeed incredible, but that's just it; the film is all about effects...I still don't know what the film is really about. The story was just not interesting enough to justify me sitting through this for over two hours. It was like watching a documentary on what can be accomplished with effects. Nothing else.
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Too much CGI, not enough script
callladd18 January 2022
I'm not judging this movie against the Harry Potter series, just on its own and on its own, it's a boring mess of a movie. There's far too much time is spent on the CGI beasts and they're not that interesting nor are they original (the little green creature is a weak Groot ripoff).

The other big flaw in the movie is Eddie Redmayne, he's awful. He mumbles throughout the movie, his daft 'aw-shucks' routine is grating and he never seems to understand the seriousness of what's happening around him.

The positives are Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell. The true star of the movie (for me anyway), Dan Fogler.
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find a Compelling Plot?
Quinoa19843 December 2016
A charitable rating because I like the beasts very much (albeit it'd be nice if this was the era of Jim Henson's Creature Shop instead of ALL CGI), and I even didn't actively dislike Eddie Redmayne here like in his performances last year (though he still has certain little tics and a wide-eyed profile that's not enormously likable). Basically anything to do with Newt Scamander's adventures along with Jacob the would-be baker (a funny if one and a half note Dan Fogler) and Kathleen Waterson is a fun time, and there's an element of Doctor Who I appreciated as far as a character going off into some new place with his police box (err, suitcase here), facing off with some gnarly creatures, and humans who are a variety of helpful and disastrous.

But when it gets into the actual *plot* it becomes trickier to handle for Rowling as a (first-time?) screenwriter: there's darkness here that sometimes, not all the time, gets to be too dark, at least for what is being set up as a "franchise" or whatever. In the Potter films there was a more gradual build up to darker themes and tones and scenes and kills. Here, it's just there, and despite finding Samantha Morton to be terrifying in a convincing way as the head of an anti-witch cult, and despite finding Colin Farrel to be sturdy as a villain, I didn't much care for the conflicts around the uh, Obscurus-what-have-you (sorry if I'm not good with names, it's a late-night review), and ultimately it's a lack of heart that makes me not care as much. To put it into perspective, I found more to engage in emotionally with Fogler than Redmayne, by a mile, and only hints (but not enough) with Waterson's backstory.

What makes me want to give it an even lower rating is that the final act turns into what so many Hollywood movies from these studios out to be Legacyquel-McFranchise-villes is that it has to be some massive threat tearing ass through the city and the (super)heroes have to face off to stop it. There's actually one interesting facet to this that kinda-sorta is happening, where it's compassion or even something close to empathy, that Newt uses against the villainous force, however this gets put on the wayside for more action and special effects that are surface-cool but deep down empty and it all leads up to a reveal for an actor to come that made me throw out my hands like "WHY!?!" There's derivative things to this movie that Rowling may have made intentional or not; aside from Doctor Who, I also thought of Men in Black with it featuring a Magic-Police-Special-Agency force, and X-Men in large part with Farrel's character (tell me you don't see Magneto there, especially near the end).

I found a lot of creativity and some clever things to this - hell, a platypus obsessed with thievery is a highlight of any movie this *year* let alone this one - and just the idea that this is a hero not unlike a, uh, Charles Darwin but with magic. I went in with a lot of goodwill towards this, but didn't leave as satisfied as I had hoped given this writer and the world to work in. It's the sort of blockbuster that would have me, then lose me, have me then lose me, and so on (i.e. on one hand Ron Perlman cameo, and you'll know it when you see it; on the other hand... Ezra Miller).
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Without a charismatic lead, good characters or a good plot, its much weaker than the worst of the Harry Potter films.
filipemanuelneto26 June 2020
The Harry Potter universe has become one of the most lucrative and remarkable cinematic phenomena we know. Personally, I am one of many teenagers who read all the books and saw all the films but I was afraid when I heard about the idea of making this film. The environment is very different from what we saw in Harry Potter and, if it weren't for the mention of several elements we saw in previous films, the link would be very small. Accentuating the differences is the fact that this film takes place between World Wars and has New York as its setting.

The idea for this film came from the small book "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", and it follows the adventures of their fictional author, Newt Scamander. He goes to New York with a suitcase of little monsters, some of them escape and their eagerness to recapture them puts the city in an uproar and concerns the magical authorities. However, some incidents are attributed to Scamander's animals, who refute responsibilities and end up engaged in an effort to discover what powerful evil being has caused them.

The story, dark and mysterious, manages to keep our interest but the prestige of Harry Potter universe and our willingness to see how it all will end helped a lot. In fact, now we can check all its problems, which make it more boring than the worst of Harry Potter films: it takes a long time to develop and the story, initially confusing, turns out to be illogical and underdeveloped. Another problem is their poorly developed and generally one-dimensional characters. Scamander may be nerdy but he lacks charisma and leadership. The Goldstein witches goes from naive to stubborn. Credence looks like a man with a traumatic depression and Kowalski is just an idiotic "muggle".

David Yates did a good job. I am convinced that he was decisive in preventing this film from being a fiasco. In fact, with all the problems, the overall performance of the cast, mostly little known to me, is naturally affected and only the hand of a skilled director could help them. Despite being a good actor, Eddie Redmayne does not perform miracles and is far from his best. Dan Fogler managed to be more interesting and charismatic than he, in the same proportion that he knew how to be funny and to captivate public's sympathy. Alison Sudol also captures our sympathy by giving her character a candid and sweet aura, but she is so sugary and stupid that I wanted to hit her with a chair. Another actor able of becoming sympathetic was Ezra Miller, but I think he didn't have enough material to develop his character beyond anger and a depressive cry. Katherine Waterston was uninteresting. Colin Farrell is somber but doesn't seem to know what he's doing. Carmen Ejogo is hateful. Worse than she, Samantha Morton seems to have been inspired by the wicked witch of the fairy tales. We also have the additions of Ron Perlman, unrecognizable but impeccable, and Johnny Depp, who does nothing more than an irrelevant and uninteresting cameo.

Technically, this is a very visual film, thanks to tons of very high quality CGI, as we would expect. Its an expensive film, a super-production where green screen was the key. As it should be, the film is loaded with magical creatures that we have never seen before and each one is more incredible than the other. I especially liked the niffler, which looks like a friendly kleptomaniac platypus. Cinematography is characterized by good colors, a misty but pleasant environment, good use of light and dark and very clear footage. To add aesthetic quality, we have the charm of the Thirties, the golden decade for New York. Few decades have given us so much charm and style: magnificent cars, clothes and props that are still in fashion today and an incredible urban landscape, where there is no lack of fog and rain. For a moment, I almost felt like I was in a gangster movie, just missing the jazz background. The soundtrack, by James Newton Howard, is good and epic, but it is not surprising for those who has seen Harry Potter.

Although the film exudes style, it lacks content, good characters and a strong and charismatic lead. Anyway, it achieved a feat that even Harry Potter, who broke box office records, managed to achieve: finally the franchise won an Oscar, for Best Costume Design, which in fact was deserved.
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Twizard Rating: 93
goolizap23 November 2016
A lot has changed since the first Harry Potter film was released in 2001. Heck, a lot has changed since the LAST Harry Potter film was released in 2011. The franchise helped change our modern interpretation of what a film series can be. And this prequel spin-off is proof of that. While this isn't a Harry Potter movie, it's part of the same world.

In the 15 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, blockbuster films have become consistently good. Critically acclaimed. It's not just popcorn entertainment anymore--we have higher expectations. And as the blockbusters strive for the quality of the more highbrow indie offerings being nominated for Oscars, they begin resembling them in a way.

The Harry Potter films, especially the first few, had a sort of snappy storytelling to them. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them does not. It's much slower like the later films in the previous series. Yet, the difference is, this is the setup to the next four films. By the time we got to the last few Harry Potter movies, we weren't exactly looking for a brisk narrative. And I was hoping for this in Fantastic Beasts--albeit, probably unrealistically.

Set in 1926, an English wizard, Newt (Eddie Redmayne), comes to America for McGuffin-like reasons (and unclear, at that). He gets into some trouble as some of the fantastic beasts escape from the suitcase where he's keeping them. As this is happening, he gets mixed in with a normal non-magical human, Jacob (Dan Fogler).

Other assorted things happen that are appealing to the audience. We get to go inside this magical suitcase and see dozens of unique creatures in this new expanded universe. It's really cool and aesthetically pleasing.

The movie is long and not enough happens to truly justify it. Instead of using the time to thoroughly explain some of the overarching story lines, the filmmakers spend it drawing things out. Perhaps because they feel like they have to.

Don't get me wrong, the film is great. It's thoroughly enjoyable. It does most of the things a good film should do. While the storytelling isn't quick, it's still very even.

This is what director David Yates is good at, as evident in the last four Harry Potter films he directed. Though Fantastic Beasts is missing the magical world that is Hogwarts, Yates knows how to bring alive New York City in the '20s and make it feel magical.

You will most likely enjoy Fantastic Beasts. If for no other reason than the fact that it's the ingress back into the beloved world of Harry Potter.And Easter eggs are scattered all around. Just don't go into it with the same expectations as its predecessors.

Twizard Rating: 93
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Oops! What can I say?
somersetboy24 November 2016
I kept waiting to engage with either the characters or with one of the beasts. Such an engagement was not forthcoming. I like Eddie Redmayne, so it is nothing to do with him. So much emphasis on creating this alternate world that the basics of filmmaking appear to have been sacrificed. Never does anyone look into you, the screen, and speak. There is never any eye contact. You do not feel attached to Eddie's character. Even my children were squirming in the seats and looking around bored. They wanted food and said they were hungry. The movie therefore appears to fail both children and adults like me. My 12yo son who is a mega Harry Potter fan could not engage with the movie. "I like reading J K Rowling's books but I am not sure about this one" is what he said. What he means is that, after having watched the movie, it has put him off the book as well.

I got up to get food for the kids, they followed me and were more keen on ice creams and sweets rather than getting back to the screen to what happened next. So much for fantastic pointless beasts. If you liked Harry Potter then that is not a guarantee that you will like this one. That is for sure. If you liked The Lord of Rings and sat through the trilogy, then you may have what it takes to sit through this one. Perhaps looking at this as a movie nothing to do with Harry Potter might help. If your children do not get attached to the movie then don't be surprised.
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Scamander's Lumos Maxima Is Sufficient For Another J.K. Rowling's Heptalogy
FelipeCarrillo18 November 2016
It was predicted by the selfsame Rowling: "If I have a sufficiently powerful idea, I will come back", it is. The return to the wizarding universe most acclaimed of all time was as logical and pressing as the return to Katniss Everdeen's Panem or a galaxy far, far away in "Star Wars". "Fantastic Beasts" fulfills all its aims with faultless expertise: conceiving the spin off wished by all fanatics drawing on Harry Potter's rich mythology to forged a style of its own which stands out with power of franchise, introducing to the most apathetic or uninterested people of Rowling's writings and laying a consistent foundations for extensive franchise which has in front of its wand.

Seductive prequel begins in in the midst of the 1920s, in New York precisely, a period of economic prosperity. Magizoologist Newton "Newt" Artemis Fido Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) born in 1897, who was expelled from Hogwarts due to an incident with one of his beloved offsprings, does expeditions across five continents to register, protect—from the most dangerous specimens in the planet, "humans—" and categorize magical creatures in order to write a meticulous textbook of preservation about them, entitled "Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them" (with a foreword written by Albus Dumbledore: "Never tickle a sleeping dragon"). These trips take him to 'The Big Apple', where meets the baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Floger), who accidentally takes Scamander's fabulous carrying case. That mistake ends with the catastrophic opening of the suitcase, which four celestial animals escape ("Night at the Museum" style). While Kowalski, Scamander, Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) — a police belonging to the 'MACUSA' — and her charismatic sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) are in the exhaustive animal search and capture, in Europe, malicious and powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) causes great vicissitudes, which will be connected ominously with animal chase in North America.

The charm, excitement and fantasy projected before us were theoretically 'as if by magic', nonetheless, such magic is performed by explicit magicians. The first of them is who has been behind the art of wizards all this time, J. K. Rowling, who now holds the start of this new story with her own hands, since in addition to assembling almost naturally the new piece within Harry Potter's vast universe, wrote the screenplay of all the characters involved. British (screen)writer makes a well-built beginning as such; it's for that reason that first installment is crammed with information, narrative threads as: The Magical Congress of the United States of America (which is strictly dissimilar to the British), varied range of suggestive characters, meaningful range of facts, ambitious catalog of creatures and the presentation of who perhaps will be the king-villain of the saga (akin to 'Thanos' in "MCU").

Second miracle worker is director-producer David Yates, who was in the middle of Gabonese jungle with "The Legend of Tarzan" in July and concluded masterfully the story of Harry, Ron and Hermione with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & Part 2" in 2010 and 2011 respectively; he enigmatically returns to inaugurate a new and long chapter, which probably also will direct. His tremendous experience is imposed on the fluidity of the story, the refreshing and vital blocking and assiduous harmony of every complex aspect on the screen. It is open to view that Yates and Rowling are understood well and for the sake of their all 'muggles', that honest connection must endure.

Our third magicians are the art, production and boundless special effects team, they demonstrated some of their aces under the sleeve, the others are kept for future films. Simply by the imaginative, surprising and sophisticated recreation of the 1920s, radiant —and sometimes terrifying— creatures, thundering lightning flashes of wands, flying food and objects in the movie, parallel worlds of the suitcase of Newt and more are a compelling Academy Awards nomination. Maybe there is a little excessive use of CGI, but if the current blockbusters abusing technology for purposes like these, they have the clear path.

Lastly, but no less important, the true wizards of the story. Oscar- winning Eddie Redmayne wears the coat that made Radcliffe shine in his time. The new hero for a new era of magic has an inherent connection with his stooped over way of walking, his shy personality and bangs manage to create an overwhelming and interesting atmosphere. His team is equally effective, however, Dan Floger ("No- maj") is who amuses us and provides part of the comicality in the film, and in addition, gives us glimpses of silent film. On the dark side of witchcraft and wizardry, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller and the short cameo by Johnny Depp become the subplot into something scary, creepy and not too suitable for kids— substantially, pointing out in the excellent performances and background music by James Newton Howard.

"Fantastic Beasts" fortuitously becomes us absent-minded of the original series, with a spin-off packed with magic, joy, new opportunities and surprises to come. The faithful muggles—or No-maj— of Rowling have a lot to be happy with the return to the essence of Harry Potter with a golden and striking wrapping which promises fabulous visuals, stories, and possibilities. Open that suitcase, we are on the right way.
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An Epic Beginning For the New Trio Of JK Rowlings Wizarding World
KalKenobi8326 November 2016
Watched Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them with Oscar Winning Actor Eddie Redmayne(The Theory Of Everything) as Newt Scamander,Katherine Waterston(Inherent Vice) as Tina Goldstein,Dan Fogler(Fanboys) as Jacob Kowalski,Allison Sudol(Transparent) as Queenie Goldstein,Collin Farrell(The Lobster) as Percival Graves,Carmen Ejogo(The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2) as Seraphina Picquery,Ezra Miller(Suicide Squad) as Credence Barebone , Samantha Morton(John Carter) as Mary Lou Barebone, Ron Perlman(Sons Of Anarchy) as Gnarlack Ralph and Jon Voight(Woodlawn) as Henry Shaw. As A Harry Potter Fan I really enjoyed this film diving into the expanded Universe of Rowlings Wizarding one thing that made the films great is The Characters and we got a new trio which was awesome I also enjoyed Redmaynes Performance as Newt also Fogler was great as Jacob who stole almost every scene just by his facial expressions alone also really enjoyed the introduction of MACUSA as the Easter eggs from the previous Harry Potter films as well as it opening in a similar fashion which was awesome hard to say what was wrong with this film i was only taken out of the film once it was because of the 20's flapper Goblin Singer in Gnarlacks bar other than it was great . Great Music By James Newton Howard(Concussion), Cinematography By Phillip Rousselot(The Nice Guys) , Costume Design By Coleen Atwood(Alice Through The Looking Glass) and Direction By David Yates(The Legend Of Tarzan) An Epic Beginning For the New Trio Of JK Rowlings Wizarding World 9/10
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Where and how I found Fantastic Beasts
ayoreinf17 November 2016
I must admit at the very beginning, I'm one of those adults who bought the small booklet, and even enjoyed it. I always appreciate when an author creates an entire world in which his/her story takes place, very few compare with the totality of the world created by JK Rowling. So no wonder that the full story of Newt Scamander has already existed in her mind, when she wrote his textbook for the Hogwarts' students and all the rest of us. But this was written from the very start as a movie, and in my mind is the fruit of the creative partnership she had formed with David Yates, who directed the final three installments (4 actually) of the Harry Potter saga.

The result is both a visual marvel, a heartwarming story, and a tale of fantasy, action and suspense. Another part of Rowling's magic is the amazing characters she creates. She created here four wonderful leads, that gave room to some wonderful acting performances: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, and the most surprising of all Dan Fogler, with whom I was already familiar as a voice actor (Mars Needs Moms) and he proves, that a good voice actor, is a good actor. One more special mention must go for Ezra Miller, who's so superb as Credence, that he almost spoils the surprise at the end of the film.

Bottom line, not really a prequel, but a wonderful independent story that happens to fit into the same universe where Harry Potter exists. Don't worry, there's room there for much more.
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