Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Details: Released in 2016. Runs for about two hours. Stars Eddie Redmayne.

I’ve never thought the Harry Potter movies were great. I never thought they were good. They were just satisfactory, tolerable even. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find is, in my opinion, the same sort of movie. It’s not a bad movie. It’s not great. It’s just satisfactory.

The premise is this: Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a member of the ministry of magic who specializes in magical animals. He comes to America to relocate a magical animal and send it home when he comes across a plot that puts all the wizards in 1920’s New York City in danger.

The first thing you should know is that this is not Harry Potter. Anyone coming to watch this film will obviously be a Harry Potter fan, and they will be undoubtedly disappointed by what they find. With that said, if you have no familiarity with the Harry Potter Universe, again, you will be disappointed if not completely lost. So we reach this conclusion: the only people who should watch this movie are Harry Potter fans and they will most likely be disappointed by the film.

It’s not all bad though. Eddie Redmayne delivers another believable performance, as do the rest of the cast. It’s unfortunate then that the plot of this film is so bare bones and establishes so little. If you’ve read other reviews, you’d be familiar with the opinion that this film merely sets up the inevitable sequels that will follow. Those opinions are right. Nothing happens here other than a shallow exploration of Newt Scamander and the American magical community. It’s all just set up for the next money grubbing sequels.

Score: 4.5/10 It’s sad to me that I know this film will make a ton of money simply by being tangentially related to Harry Potter. As a stand alone film, this movie is pretty bad. However, if you stamp something with the Harry Potter logo, the sheep-like masses will likely throw money at it. I do not recommend this movie for Harry Potter fans and especially for those who are not fans. Do yourself a favor and watch something else.

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