By Somerset New-Stein
Over this break, I had an awesome Thanksgiving and also watched the first movie in the Harry Potter prequel series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. My first time seeing it left me confused about my thoughts on the film, but my second watching made me much more fond of the movie.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in the mid-1920’s New York, where a wizard from England, Newt Scamander, has accidentally let-loose several beasts from his magical suitcase. It is his job, accompanied by a non magical person (Jacob Kowalski), and a low level Ministry of Magic Official (Tina Goldstein), to rescue the beasts before they or anyone gets hurt.
Fantastic Beasts is jam-packed full of a wide variety of visual stunning magical animals. But the creature that stood out the most to me was Niffler. Niffler is a cute beast, that looks like a cross between a beaver and a platypus, and loves anything shiny, mostly coins and treasures. Niffler is the first to escape Newt Scamander’s briefcase of magical creatures, and completely steals the show from there on. Another two characters in the new Fantastic Beast franchise that I enjoy a great deal is Jacob Kowalski (A non magical human, who accidently takes Newt Scamander’s case of magical creatures) and Queenie Goldstein (The sister of Tina Goldstein who is a Legilimence, a person who can read minds). Although they are not the stars of the
movie they are a lot more fun than the main characters of the story and are not forced to trade exposition unlike Newt and Tina.
My biggest complaints of Fantastic Beasts are villains Percival Graves and Credence. Both characters are just dull and boring, and steal time from the actual interesting characters in the movie. Divergent from most Harry Potter movies full of awesome and scary villains like Voldemort, Barty Crouch Junior, and Bellatrix Lestrange, both of Credence and Graves motives for being evil are confusing. Even the big twist about them is expected and not surprising what so ever!
If I were to rate this movie on a scale from one to five I would give Fantastic Beasts a 3.5/5 for its stunning visuals and great supporting characters, but for its subpar antagonists and some plot holes (mostly contradictions to the Harry Potter lore). I would highly recommend this movie for fans of the Harry Potter series who are interested in the events that unfold before Harry Potter is alive.