Monday, November 19, 2018

Movie Monday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Our older son came home for Thanksgiving break this weekend, and I was still crashed, so my husband, son, and I settled in for a night of pizza and a movie! The pizza was delicious - a rare treat since I am usually dairy- and grain-free - and we decided to watch a movie we've all wanted to see since its release in 2016: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Harry Potter aficionados will know the title is a reference to a textbook used at Hogwarts and written by Newt Scamander. This movie takes place in 1920's New York.

As the movie opens, Newt, played by Eddie Redmayne, is arriving on a ship into New York. He's been traveling all over the world doing research for his upcoming textbook on magical beasts, and you can tell from his challenges going through customs that his plain, brown suitcase seems to hold some of his research subject matter. Newt is used to life in England, where magical and non-magical (aka Muggles) people live side by side, but here in the United States, the magical world is kept secret from so-called Non-Mags. As Newt struggles to adjust to this and other cultural differences, several of his magical creatures escape, through a series of amusing events. Along the way, Newt meets a non-mag named Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler, and a fellow witch named Tina, played by Katherine Waterston, who works for the US version of the Ministry of Magic and tries to turn Newt in for letting his magical creatures escape. Another force at work is an organization hunting witches called the New Salem Philanthropic Society. As Newt's escaped creatures wreak havoc and he tries to collect them all, there is an evil force unleashed upon New York City that threatens them all, witches and non-mags alike.

We all enjoyed this exciting, delightful movie very much. It's fun to see the wizarding world during an entirely different era and new place than the familiar Harry Potter stories but told with the same creative energy and sense of humor. The story itself has plenty of suspense and action but also a sense of wonder, especially where Newt's various creatures are concerned. All of the actors are wonderful in this movie, fully inhabiting their roles and making you believe it is New York in the 1920's (but a New York we have never seen!). It's a complex and intriguing plot that pulls you right in. We all loved spending two hours in this unique, colorful, and compelling world.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is currently available for streaming on Amazon, starting at $2.99, or on DVD.

If you've already seen this first movie, its sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald (a villain introduced in this first movie) is currently in theaters. I am hoping to get feeling better in time to see it on the big screen in a recliner theater! Find times and theaters near you:

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