‘Fantastic Beasts’ catalogs solid entry into expanded wizarding world

Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service | J.K. Rowling’s newest work adds context to the realm of Harry Potter

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ – Starring: Eddie Redmayne and Colin Ferrell
8 out of 10

By Hayden Welty ’19 & Collin McShane ’19

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” despite some minor character problems, manages to bring a refreshing look to the “Harry Potter” universe, while still staying true to the original’s’ aesthetic.

The spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” features four unlikely protagonists fighting an unknown evil in a new setting for the Potter universe: New York City in the 1920s.

The main character, Newt Scamander, who is played by Eddie Redmayne, is a wizardry animal rights activist writing a book, which features the movie’s title. While on the way to Arizona, however, some of his animals get out and attack the muggle world.

Tina Goldstein, portrayed by Katherine Waterston, is a wizard police officer that gets her, and her sister Queenie, played by Alison Sudol, caught up in Newt’s adventure by trying to arrest Newt, and then eventually helping him.

The last man in the group is Jacob Kowalski, who is portrayed by Dan Folgar, a muggle (someone who does not posses magic) who just happens to run into Newt as Newt’s creatures are escaping.

With a solid plot, script and storyline, the film manages to distinguish itself from the Harry Potter films yet also retains that core magical feeling that enthralled audiences in the first place.

However, we have a problem with the constant references back to the old series and the lack of development of the new ones: As fun as it was to have Dumbledore and Lastrange get their names dropped, it didn’t really add anything to the story and added a nostalgia factor that really wasn’t necessary in the first place.

Another problem with the movie was that if you hadn’t read the books or seen the earlier movies, then you might not understand what’s going on.

Despite this being a prequel to those movies, it is still heavily dependent on the presumption that you already know a decent amount about the Harry Potter universe.

Overall, we believe the movie is a thoroughly fresh and enjoyable experience that catapulted us back into the Harry Potter wizarding world that we love so dearly.

Its fast-paced action, light-hearted comedy and well-told story provide for a pleasant night out at the movies.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” released to theatres Nov. 18, topping the domestic weekend box office by raking in $75 million and beating out competitors “Doctor Strange” and “Trolls” in an impressive showing.

It was shown in 4,144 theaters and grossed an average total of $18,098 per theater.

The film also cast a spell over moviegoers worldwide, earning a magical $143.3 million in the foreign box office.

In total, on its first weekend after being released, the movie grossed a well-earned total of $218 million, as both moviegoers and critics alike seemed to enjoy the film.

Cinemascore, an organization that polls moviegoers, said moviegoers gave the film a solid “A” rating.

Critics responded similarly: Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 90 percent, IMDb gave it an 8 out of 10, Metacritic gave it a 72 percent and Roger Ebert gave it a 3 out of 4.