Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (PG-13)

Starring Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the newest installment in Harry Potter World to grace the screen.  Newt (Redmayne) has a suitcase full of beasts.  Some escape and run loose on the streets of New York City.  He has to collect them so that the witches and wizards who live in New York can remain undetected by the non-magical (Non-Maj is the American term for Muggle) people.

I admire J.K. Rowlings immensely for the way she overcame her circumstances and changed her life, and I hold her in very high regard. Her story is nothing short of inspirational.  That being said, I have never seen a Harry Potter movie in a theater and the only one I have ever seen is the first installment.  To say that fantasy is not my favorite genre would be an understatement, and I didn’t care for Harry Potter well enough to continue on with the series.  It’s just not my thing.  But this movie was fun and enjoyable at times.  I opted to not see Fantastic Beasts in 3D.  I’ve had enough of 3D for the week, but I can see how one’s experience might be enhanced by doing so.  The “beasts” were fantastic.  Even without 3D, the animation was superb.  The set designs were breathtaking at times.

Eddie Redmayne is a talented actor. But while he was acting in Fantastic Beasts I saw Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and I saw Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener /Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl; using the same right leaning head tilt and lowering of the chin, the toothy smile, the sheepish eyes…  He seemed to be the same character in all three movies at times.  Has he been deceiving me all this time into thinking he is some great actor, when he’s one note?  Not that there is anything wrong with being one note when you do what you do well.  But I feel as though I shouldn’t be having the feeling that I’ve seen him do this very same thing before in three very different movies in what are supposed to be three starkly different roles.  I’ll have to keep an eye on him…

For me, Dan Fogler was the standout here as the Non-Maj who accompanies Newt and the crew on this adventure to capture these loose beasts.  It is through his eyes as a non-magical person that the wonder of this entire movie is captured.  Alison Sudol was delightful in her role as his love interest.  Ezra Miller also does a fine job as a dark, tortured villain.

What I didn’t like about this movie, first and foremost is that it is entirely too long… The introduction feels forever-taking and at the end I felt like I was being held hostage as the unnecessary set up for the next installment (which I will be passing on) is planted in our heads. If you read regularly, you know I hate a next installment set up.  I take it as an insult to my intelligence.  Also, I felt nothing one way or the other for Katherine Waterston’s portrayal of Newt’s potential (in the future, perhaps) love interest.  She was kind of “just there” and I feel her character could have been being played by any of many age-appropriate female actresses.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie worth seeing for the artistry of the effects, the set designs, the imagery and the imagination that went into making it.  I’m sure you will like it more than I did if you’re a fan of the series.

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