Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Director: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell
Like most kids who grew up in the 90's I was a huge fan of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series of books and later the films based on them. So when I heard that Warner Brothers was planning on continuing to make films based in the "Potterverse" I was worried that it was just an attempt to squeeze a few more dollars out of the beloved franchise. However news started to come in about the production that gave me some hope: David Yates, who had helmed the last four, and best, entries in the film series would be returning and had assembled a stellar cast including Eddie Redmayne and Collin Farrell. Best of all though J.K.Rowling herself was set to pen the screenplay! After a few trailers were released that did not do much for me, I have to admit I was back to being a bit worried about the film. So were my worries justified or was this a worthy addition to the "Potterverse"? Lets dive right in and find out!
British wizard Newt Scamander steps off a boat into 1926 New York City. After some of the magical creatures that he has smuggled in with him escape, he finds himself caught up in the struggle of American wizards who are trying to stay hidden from the increasingly suspicious non magical population. Things are further exasperated by the fact that something has been attacking the non magical community which leads to Newt being the main suspect with his penchant for dangerous creatures.
Now I have to admit even with my continuing love for the "Potter" book series that I've always seen the movie versions as somewhat flawed. The acting was never the best for some characters and you lost a lot of the "magic" in the translation from book to screen. For someone who has read the books and knows every plot point and twist they tend to have a feeling of "just going through the motions". That is why I think I love this movie so much. Yes thats right I said love. You see even though the acting is great from all involved with the casting being perfection for each character and even how beautiful the special effects are, the simple fact is this movie does one thing the other films could not: It surprises you. It surprises you with how much you immediately connect with and adore these new characters. It surprises you with all the little details and connections to the Potter timeline. Most of all though it surprises you with how truly magical it makes this universe feel again.
Trivia from IMDB for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
Was originally intended to be a trilogy, but as of October 2016 it has been confirmed as a 5 part movie series.
Within the Harry Potter universe, Newt Scamander's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" was first published in 1927 and became a massive bestseller, as well as an approved textbook at Hogwarts. By the mid-1990s, when the Harry Potter series is set, it was in its 52nd edition. Scamander also has the distinct honor of having his own Chocolate Frog Card.
Eddie Redmayne was the first and only choice for the lead role according to J.K. Rowling. Redmayne didn't have to audition and he was part of the other casting decisions.