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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
December 28, 2016, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Yates
3.5 Stars
fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-themThe return to the wizarding world isn’t so much an initiation for new, young fans, but rather a continuing on the promise of the Harry Potter franchise’s proclivity in involving new and darker themes with each installment. If Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them involves majestic, stuffed animal ready critters, it is more distinguished by the grim New York setting, far removed from the magical escapism at Hogwarts. That boarding school, for all of its trouble, was never seen as much else than a place of belonging and heritage, a rite of passage in which kids found themselves and uncovered their most profound abilities. 1920’s America, however, is distinguished by extreme social divisions and repression, where characters are defined more by their failings and the injustices against them than by any sense of belonging. The group who comes together in this installment doesn’t seem so much an extension of the environment, rather the rare reprieve from it—to lovable Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), one gets the sense that the companions he makes in the film are the only friends he will ever have. J.K. Rowling’s ambitious decision to ground her magical world in the everyday of Depression-era America was a risky decision, and one can see potential in the prospect as director David Yates revels in the speakeasies and political thugs. The growing pains in this installment have much to do with the insistence on the eponymous beasts themselves—hopefully, as the series progresses, those involved will begin to understand that the real charms not come from the CGI creatures, but from the charm of Fogler and a love interest played by the pitch perfect Alison Sudol.

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