FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (2016) – My rating: 7.5/10

fantasticbeastsFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a pretty strange fantasy movie but manages to peak your curiosity anyway.  The special effects are among some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of observing.  This prequel of the Harry Potter series, stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, an eccentric, introverted British Wizard who’s adventure starts when he arrives in New York City, while in route to Arizona with a suitcase full of the strangest creatures imaginable.  After encountering Mary Lou Barebone, (Samantha Morton) a non-magical woman, (“No-Maj” or “muggle”) who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, claiming witches and wizards are real and dangerous, a Niffler escapes from Newt’s magically-expanded suitcase of creatures, which houses multiple magical creatures. During Newt’s NY stop-over, several other creatures manage to escape from his suitcase.

This is just a short introduction into the world of Fantastic Beast.  There are many characters in this story that are not easy to follow.  ALSO THERE ARE BIG SPOILERS IN THIS LIST, IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE SPOILERS, STOP HERE!  Compliments of Wikipedia, I have listed some of the characters and their roles below:

Katherine Waterston as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein: a grounded, down-to-earth witch and a former Auror employed by the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). She longs to fight for what is right, but was demoted to a position well below her skill level.

Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski: a genial No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker who is accidentally exposed to the New York City magical community after meeting Newt.

Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein:  Porpentina’s younger sister and roommate, described as a bombshell, free-spirited, and big-hearted, and is accomplished in Legilimency.

Colin Farrell as Percival Graves:  a high-ranking Auror and Director of Magical Security for MACUSA. He is charged with the protection of wizards and assigned to track down Newt.

Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery: the President of MACUSA.

Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone:  Mary Lou’s troubled and mysterious adopted son.

Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone:  a narrow-minded No-Maj and the sinister leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (the NSPS, or “The Second-Salemers”), an extremist group whose goals include exposing and killing wizards and witches.

Ron Perlman as Gnarlack:  a goblin gangster who owns a speakeasy nightclub called The Blind Pig.

Jon Voight as Henry Shaw Sr.:  the father of U.S. senator Henry Shaw Jr. and Langdon Shaw.

Josh Cowdery as Henry Shaw Jr.:  a U.S. senator who holds a rally picketed by the New Salem Philanthropic Society.

Ronan Raftery as Langdon Shaw the youngest of Henry Shaw Sr.’s sons, who begins to believe in magic.

Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty Barebone:  a haunted young girl and the youngest of Mary Lou’s adopted children.

Jenn Murray as Chastity Barebone: the eldest of Mary Lou’s adopted children.

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald: one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time.

Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange: Newt’s former love while the two attended Hogwarts. Leta betrayed his trust, leaving him bitter, but he still carries her picture.

While Fantastic Beast is somewhat complicated, the special effects alone is worth seeing the movie, plus there is a surprise character revealed at the very end.  It was entertaining but a little hard to follow.  Harry Potter fans might have an easier time following Fantastic Beast than the average novice.  You might even find it easier to understand if you could rewind and pause on Blu-ray/DVD when it’s released.

[FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM has WON the 89th OSCAR AWARD for Costume Design and was nominated for Production Design]

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