One fantastic beast of a movie

Garrett Estes

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   “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, directed by David Yates, is the first in a series of films set in the Harry Potter universe.  Starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston as Porpentina Goldstein, and Colin Farrell as Percival Graves, the movie is loosely based off of the book of the same name, as they only the two have in common is the name and the character of Newt Scamander.

Wizard Newt Scamander, who collects and studies magical beasts, but while visiting New York City in the 1920s, his briefcase full of magical beasts accidently unleashing the creatures into the city.  Scamander must team up with a non-magical person, or no-maj as they are called in the movie, named Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler, to capture the escaped beasts.  During their adventures, the duo must deal with the MACUSA, the secret American wizarding government, who has labeled Newt a criminal.

The computer-generated imagery is astonishing; the actors are charismatic, the creature designs are unique and creative, and the characters also play off each other nicely.

For the most part, the movie is entertaining to watch.  This is largely due to J. K. Rowling’s screenplay.  The dialogue in the film rarely comes off as forced and when it does, it is usually because plot points have to be explored, such as when Scamander explains what an obscurus is.

The movie does drag at times.  never to the point of being overly annoying but there are scenes where  you can leave to refill your popcorn.

Overall, the film is a fantastic two-hour adventure that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is rated PG-13 for fantasy action and violence.