Fantastic Beasts and where to find them

The 435th film I have seen in theaters…

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The Wizarding World continues with a fantastic start to this new series!

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It is the 1920’s, and Wizard Newt Scamander makes his way to New York City, where scandal is brewing over magical creatures causing mayhem in the Big Apple. This threatens the hidden world of magic, and Newt’s collection of magical beasts adds to the turmoil when he accidentally swaps bags with a No-Maj (Muggle) who releases several of them into the wild. They team up to capture them and are pulled into a conspiracy to “out” the magical world and conquer the normal humans.

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Eddie Redmayne continues his hot streak as Newt, the (future) famous writer. He brings his normal soft vulnerability to the role, and it suits the character.

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Dan Fogler plays Kowalski, the Muggle that gets swept into this insane world. He grounds the story and adds tremendous humor and heart to the proceedings. This could have just been a throw away sidekick role, but his performance elevated it.

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Katherine Waterston plays Tina, a former Auror who is trying to get back into the good graces of the magical authorities. She develops something of a relationship with Newt- I don’t go as far to call it romantic. I wish she had more to work with. The movie alluded to some dramatic events prior to the film that I wish were explored more.

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Alison Sudol plays Tina’s sister- Queenie. A true woman of the roaring 20’s, she brings a dramatic New York glamour that is so unique to that era. A scene stealer.

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Colin Farrell is Graves, The head of security in the USA magic world. As expected, he has ulterior motives.

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Ezra Miller- soon to be seen as The Flash, plays Credence, a mysterious young man who plays an important role in the unfolding of the film. I am not sure what this character’s future holds, but I am sure it has nothing to do with his striking resemblance to Alan Rickman. #Snape’sgranddaddy

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Grindelwald, the legendary dark Wizard of the early 20th century. Friend/possible lover to Albus Dumbledore. Possessor of the legendary Elder Wand. Is defeated by Dumbledore in 1945, in what is remembered as the most spectacular wand battle ever waged. He spends decades locked away in Azkaban only to be killed by Voldemort. All of that lies ahead though. Here he is a shadowy figure, already well travelled on his dark path. He is only revealed at the very end of the film. The casting here could prove amazing.

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This was a good entrance to this new time period. I cannot wait to see how this story unfolds, probably covering 20 years of history as a huge magical war wages alongside WW2. Despite Redmayne being the main character, and Waterston as the lead female, two other actors really stole the show.

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I could watch a whole movie just about these two. She is perfection. He is incredibly likable. I hope there is more for them to do in the future, but who knows. This series is supposed to move around the world quite a bit.

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