Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Reel Preview: Everything You Need To Know About FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

This week, author JK Rowling’s world of wizards, witches, and magical creatures enters a new era when FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM lands in theatres. Here is everything you need to know about this highly anticipated film.

What is this all about? -  FANTASTIC BEASTS takes place in the same universe as HARRY POTTER and his adventures. Set 70 years before Harry is born, the story is about a case of magical creatures which gets lost in the non-magical (muggle) world; specifically, New York City.

What is this based on? – FANTASTIC BEASTS is based on the book of the same name, written by JK Rowling in 2001. The book contains no plot, and instead serves as a “schoolbook” that a wizarding student would study. The fictional author is Newt Scamander, who is the main character in the film.

Who is behind this? – This film marks the debut of JK Rowling as screenwriter. It is being directed by David Yates, who helmed the last four HARRY POTTER films. Yates’ other theatrical credit is this year’s giant stinking turd THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (or BORE-ZAN).

Who are the actors and actresses? – The central role of Newt Scamander is held down by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar in 2014 for his stunning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. He was also nominated in 2015 for THE DANISH GIRL. His other credits include MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (2011), and LES MISERABLES (2012). Redmayne is joined by Katherine Waterston (daughter of Sam from LAW AND ORDER), who appeared in last year’s STEVE JOBS, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE (2014). Also tagging along are Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, and Ezra Miller. Ron Perlman (HELLBOY), provides the voice and motion-capture for a goblin gangster.

Random Facts – The name Newt Scamander appears on the Marauder’s Map in the film HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004) * The film will take place in the United States, which is a departure from the previous films, which were set in the UK * Eddie Redmayne was the first and only choice for the role according to series creator JK Rowling * In the HARRY POTTER universe, Newt’s textbook is required reading for first-year students *

What to expect – It has been five years since the last film in the HARRY POTTER series, but that doesn’t mean the popularity of the franchise has waned (read Reel Speak’s review of a recent community festival HERE), so no matter how the film is, we can expect a massive box office hit. On the screen, Eddie Redmayne has proven to be one of the best actors working today, and can easily carry a film on his shoulders. Parent company Warner Bros. is a concern, as they have been known in the past year to meddle and butcher films in the editing room (see the last two DC Comics disasters). Behind the screen, Rowling is a very good storyteller, and her transition from writing novels to screenplays should be an easy one for her. But behind the camera, we have David Yates…whose rush-job shooting and editing style nearly sunk the last four HARRY POTTER films, and his BORE-ZAN movie this past summer was one of the worst of the year. During his original POTTER run, he was bailed out by the strength of the source material; the story was just too strong to be killed by his lousy style. So hopefully, the story by JK Rowling is once again good enough to survive its inept director. Sometimes magic is all we need.


FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM arrives November 18th in 2D, 3D, and IMAX formats.

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