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“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Review

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"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Warner Bros.)

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"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Warner Bros.)

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Almost twenty years ago, JK Rowling turned the world upside down with her fantasy novel about a young boy who goes to a school for wizards. Scores of people; both young and old; found their imaginations captured in a world full of magical spells, powerful witches and wizards, and whimsical creatures that cannot be found outside her creation.

Now, several years after the final installment of the story came out in theaters, fans have the chance to dive back into this extraordinary universe, this time following a different hero with his own story in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Harry Potter fans have nothing to fear; the newest spin-off has plenty of magic and references to the original series to keep them satisfied. Fantastic Beasts follows Newt Scamander and his trunk full of magical creatures on their escapades in 1920’s New York.

When things go wrong and several of his own creatures escape, Newt must team up with a No-Maj (a non-magical person), a plucky witch named Tina, and her mind-reading sister Queenie in order to get them back before the Magic Government in NYC captures them.

Meanwhile, a dark force terrorizes the city, threatening to expose the magical community, and the anti-witch sentiment continues to grow in the shape of an abusive woman and her adopted children.

Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Newt Scamander is excellent, and the endearingly awkward guardian of the beasts has already wormed his way into the hearts of millions. His quiet, mild-mannered character was balanced quite well by the witch Tina, played by Katherine Waterson.

Her character is one that has much to be explored, and will hopefully be further explained in future installments.

Of course, no-one can forget Jacob Kowalski, played by Tony award- winning Dan Fogler, who is the unfortunate but lovable No-Maj that is swept up into magical adventures that he had never imagined he would be involved in. From beginning to end, Fogler provided comic relief and offset the dark tone introduced in the movie.

The visual effects of the movie helped to spark the familiar feeling of mystique, and the stunning computer animation brought the beasts to life. From conniving goblins to majestic Thunderbirds, the movie lived up to its title and unearthed a part of the magical world less explored in previous movies.

The plot itself is at times predictable, and certain points are glossed over that could have been better utilized by receiving more attention. Despite this, the movie is able to fully immerse the audience in 1920’s New York, and references to the original books and movies will keep fans happy and nostalgic.

A blend of fantasy, whimsical nature, and an ominous edge provide a consistent tone throughout the movie. This blend makes the story itself unique while keeping obvious elements of the wizarding world intact that entranced millions from the start.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them does not disappoint, and JK Rowling once again proves to have a limitless imagination. The Potter magic lives on in the most recent movie, and of course in the hearts of countless fans.

Even if there are some questions left unanswered, they will hopefully be resolved in the coming installments over the next few years. For now, audiences will be content with the story of an eccentric wizard named Newt Scamander, and may shed a tear upon hearing a snippet of “Hedwig’s Theme” or upon spotting a Hufflepuff scarf around his neck.

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“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Review