‘Fantastic’ Might Be A Bit Strong



Based on a book by J.K. Rowling, this film takes us back into the Harry Potter universe — and back in time. It’s 1926, and wizard writer Newt Scamander has the task of finding and documenting an array of magical creatures throughout the world. But on his way home, a case full of those critters gets loose in the human world. We have mixed feelings on this one. If you are a fan of the Potter series, this is probably for you. If not, we think you can skip it. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in wide release Nov. 18.

PAIGE: It’s going to be too complicated. It’s like how you needed a primer to who everyone was by the time the third Pirates of the Caribbean film rolled around. People always overcomplicate spinoffs and sequels.

NICOLE: As a Harry Potter fan, I am very excited for this movie and the series. So, so, so excited. I like how this story focuses on the conflict between muggles and witches.

JAIMIE: Unpopular opinion: I have never been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. There are certain elements of each film that I can appreciate — I like the little doses of happy magic it doles out periodically. But every movie seems the same, and I can’t keep the characters straight, and most of it is just really dark. I thought this was going to be more like the happy things that I like in Harry Potter, but eh. I obviously like that this one has more to do with animal-type creatures, but it just seems more of the same. Magic and muggles and … whatever else happens in their land.

CHRISTINA: I’ve always been more or less ambivalent about Harry Potter — I got super into the books in grade school, but got bored by the time I got to the fourth one, stopped halfway through and never picked them back up. I saw a few of the movies but never really sought them out. And this looks less interesting to me than Harry Potter.

PAIGE: I’m concerned, guys. I thought this was going to be about Newt Scamander going off and like, interacting with crazy magical creatures and everything would be wry and humorous in a British way. But no, of course it couldn’t be that simple. Of course it couldn’t. No, now we’re all stuck in this crazy American wizard war and this whole magic vs. non-magic thing. It’s getting out of control. It’s blowing up too big. That’s why they want to have five damn movies of this. They’ve got to get every other British actor who couldn’t fit in the last eight movies in here.

NICOLE: I think Harry Potter is just one aspect of the wizard world in a brief moment in time, so maybe Scamander and this new series can be other aspects that we haven’t thought about yet.

PAIGE: It just doesn’t feel magical, is all I’m saying.

CHRISTINA: It almost looked like a cop procedural with a couple of beasts thrown in.

NICOLE: All the creatures that are showing up in this film are amazing. The little hedgehog stealing the jewels, the roots that look like praying mantis, the lion that has spikes all over its body — I love it all. They truly are fantastic. Director David Yates has had so much practice with the mystical and wizardry that the graphics and overall feel of the movie is extremely captivating.

JAIMIE: I’ll probably wait to watch this in the comfort of my own home so that I can inevitably fall asleep somewhere around the middle of the movie.

CHRISTINA: I’m sure, though, that this movie will certainly be successful at the box office — mostly from people who are already Harry Potter fans who are looking to recreate what they love about that series — and that’s what sequels are about anyway, right?