Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Blu-ray Review
Read Kidzworld’s review of the early Wizarding World title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them out on Blu-ray/DVD and Digital. Is it a must for your collection?
By: Lynn Barker
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, wizard/zoologist Newt Scamander is on a mission to the U.S. to free one of his fave creatures; the majestic Thunderbird. Of course he brings his bag-o-magical-critters with him and a few of them escape in NYC. Little does Newt know that a very dark force threatens the city. Will he be able to help? Will he get his beasts back?
In 1926, introverted wizard/zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York carrying a mysterious case that is the magical home to dozens of fantastic creatures. He comes across Mary Lou Barebone, who runs the Second Salemers, an anti-magic group that wants wizards and witches hunted and destroyed. A Niffler (a platypus-like creature who loves shiny treasure) escapes from the case.
The “No-Maj” Switch
Jacob Kowalski, an American Muggle, called a “No-Maj (Dan Fogler), tangles with Newt and their suitcases get switched. Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) sees this and takes Newt with her to the U.S. equivalent of the Ministry of Magic, the MACUSA, for using magic in front of “normal” people. Tina was once an investigator/Auror and is trying to get her old job back after an incident. Head Auror Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) wants to see what is in the case. Inside are pastries baked by Jacob. Whoops! Switched cases!
Loose in NYC
A freaked-out Jacob opens the suitcase he has and lets loose several of the magical creatures, getting hurt in the process. Meanwhile, Mary Lou Barebone is revealed to be running an “orphanage” where she indoctrinates the children with stories about evil witches. The youngest girl, Modesty, sings songs about witch torture while Mary Lou’s eldest “son”, Credence (Ezra Miller) is doubtful about the anti-witch way of life. Graves has asked him to find a young girl who has immense power. Credence hasn’t succeeded so far.
Newt and Tina go to Jacob's place, finding it near-destroyed and Jacob ill from a creature bite. All three go to Tina’s apartment and meet her hot younger sis Queenie (Alison Sudol) who can read minds. Queenie really hits it off with Jacob who disappears, along with Newt, into the recovered suitcase where Jacob is introduced to many friendly, magical creatures. One, not so friendly, is an Obscurial, a dark entity comprised of stored magic that has turned evil. The duo leave the apartment in search of more escaped creatures to put back in the case.
Graves is now after little Modesty thinking she is the connection to the evil destruction but…is she? Will Newt and friends re-capture all the creatures? Will the Obscurial destroy New York? Will Newt protect abused Credence? And, is Graves really who he seems?
Special Extra Features
This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set is packed with nice extra features. All of them include the lead actors and author J.K. Rowling talking about almost everything involving the film! Very nice to have.
- Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins! features J.K. Rowling and filmmakers glad to be reunited to bring a new era of the Wizarding World to life. She was happy to have the film produced as she envisioned it and the major actors talk about their roles and fun on the movie. An entertaining extra!
- Characters- Ms. Rowling, actors and filmmakers on each of the characters, costumer Colleen Atwood discusses their fashions. Really detailed and interesting!
- Creatures – how the Fantastic Beasts went from beautiful artwork to CGI and some on set (via puppeteers) reality. Actors talk of interacting with the puppets etc. Which beastie is your fave? I love the elegant Thunderbird!
- Design is the extra addressing the look of the movie, sets, props, locations etc. Filmmakers, production designers and actors show us how detailed each set was, from the MACUSA meeting hall to inside Newt’s case and more. Loved it.
- Deleted Scenes – there are a big 11 of them. Many are extensions of scenes in the film but a few add to story. Jacob had a girlfriend who broke up with him when he didn’t get his bakery financed (obviously a gold-digger). Sisters Tina and Queenie sing their wizarding school song.. funny. There is more about the beasties. Worth a watch.
This Blu-ray/DVD set looks and sounds great. Extras are really packed with actors and their comments, more than usual. Fans should love that. I was disappointed that there was no Gag Reel (Bloopers) since those are always a hoot, and there is no director or actor commentary. A lot of behind-the-scenes and on set stuff is covered in the extras however.
As we said when the feature film was in theaters, although some of the plot of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is darker than many of the Potter books and films, it is also full of wonder, great visual effects, humor and heart. The “message” concerning bigotry and fear of those who are “different” really needs to come across in our modern, sadly similar world.
You must add and gift this one. We go four stars.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Blu-ray Rating:
You can buy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them now.
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