Is Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them Worth Your Money?

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fbw-promo-art-4c-smFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Directed by David Yates
Written by J. K. Rowling
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Colin Farrell
Running time 133 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept behind Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, I’ll break it down for you quickly. This movie is both a spinoff and prequel of sorts of the Harry Potter series. The movie, written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling herself, delves into the origins of two relatively insignificant plot points touched on in the books. The first plot point is about the titular textbook that is part of the curriculum at Hogwarts, and the quirky author who wrote it. The second, and less prominent plot point, is about a dark wizard character that had close ties to Dumbledore named Grindelwald. While this movie takes place in the frightening landscape that was 1920s America it still manages to give some depth to the events of the Harry Potter series that didn’t take place until almost 60 years later, and a whole ocean away.
Managing expectations is going to be the key to enjoying Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. That’s not to say this movie isn’t good, because it’s really quite entertaining. The issue lies more of the fact that this is very much not a Harry Potter movie. I don’t just mean that the character Harry Potter isn’t in it, because I think most people going to see this movie will already know this. I mean more to say it has quite a different feel than any of the other films in the universe. With the Harry Potter series we had time to build up. We got to know characters and truly understand them. We grew with them, and it was a much more personal experience. We were invested. With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them we’re thrown into the life of a wizard who’s already in the middle of a great adventure. We’re also thrown into the middle of a drama we saw glimpses of in the book series by way of a dark wizard named Grindelwald. Does this prequel need a prequel? Maybe. But it definitely could have benefited from at least having a more solid set up.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is absolutely worth your money, despite not quite living up the Harry Potter franchise. Few movies could. Do you have to see it when it’s in theaters? I’d honestly say it’s ok to wait until it’s released on home video. Unless you’re dead set on seeing it right away.

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