An upcoming Harry Potter movie is always exciting news, reminiscent of great times where we all counted down the days to wave our wands again. And not surprisingly, the dazzling especial effects, screenplay by Ms Rowling herself and brand-new star Eddie Redmayne made young and not-so-young potterheads around the world anticipate Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) almost just as much. And although the setting, especially the especial effects and Oscar-winning costume design were terrific, I thought the acting and script were nowhere near the level of the original franchise. 


2015’s Oscar Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne as wizard and magizoologist Newt Scamander

Set in 1926, Newt Scamander (Redmayne) has just completed a global trip to find and document an exceptional slew of magical creatures. Now in New York en route to Arizona, he encounters a muggle (No-Maj being the term for Americans) going by the name of Jacob who turns out to be a misplaced magical case. That, along with Newt losing some of his so-called fantastic beasts, gives way to an unexpected adventure which two young witches (Tina and Mary  Lou) also end up being involved in.

Eddie Redmayne is evidently a fabulous actor, with credits that include My Week with Marilyn (2011), Les Misérables (2012), The Danish Girl (2015) and of course his Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014). However, you may agree with me when I say I find he lacks the range of past Oscar winners like Tom Hanks or Leonardo DiCaprio. In literally all of the aforementioned features including Fantastic Beasts, he acts mousy and overly marveled, with a permanently startled facial expression that prevents his character from appearing thridimensional. I understand this plays well with a nitche audience of British teenage girls, most of whom buy the ticket to see the handsome (and very classy) Eddie in action. But the appealing thing about the Harry Potter series was the action, the exciting storyline, rather the pretty faces (what pretty faces? Lol.)


Snaso, one of the naughty and magical creatures wandering the Big Apple at its leisure

On the other hand, the setting is excellent: soundtrack, special effects, production, costume design and photography come together to feasibly recreate a dreamy and foggy New York in the mid-20s. Judging the books by its reviews (and greatly illustrated covers), even the most parochial must admit that J.K. Rowling unknowingly and single-handedly gave birth to legions of young new readers and set the scene for an unforgettable saga. But her screenplay was quite forgettable, likely because the studio limited her freedom and flexibility upon it being a multi million-making movie instead of a personally crafted book of her own publishing.

For all this, I’d say Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘s features outweigh the somewhat disappointing screenplay and Redmayne’s lack of versatility, and is sure to please potterheads of all ages, backgrounds and Hogwarts’ houses.

Running time: 2h 13 minutes.

Country: United Kingdom, United States.

Release date: November 10, 2016.

Box office: $812.5M

Grade: B

All images are taken from Google.


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