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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the latest film in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe, taking place over 70 years before Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone. Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter 5-8, The Legend of Tarzan) and marking Rowling's screenwriting debut, the film stars Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Balem in Jupiter Ascending) as the wizard Newt Scamander.

The film opens today, and it's already received good reviews. Four more sequels are already in the works.

"A Good Time, No Alcohol Required"

"A-"

"85% and 60%"

Official Site

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77% - "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own."

Metacritic Score: 65 out of 100

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Saw it today and liked it a whole lot. Definite feel of the Harry Potter Universe, but also a different story which is very good. The only thing tying it to the previous movies is the writer, some magic and a little name dropping. It doesn't pause for introductions either but just goes with the story, which I liked.

Four more?

Bring'em!!

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14 minutes ago, TangledThorns said:

Trailer for the new film.

 

Well, this promises to be interesting.

I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them rather more than the Harry Potter movies, so this actually has my proper attention.  It's half Harry Potter, half pre-WW2 period piece, which is a nice touch IMO.

Not super thrilled with casting Johnny Depp as Grindelwald... or that his makeup for this looks like a graying version of Gary Oldman's Dracula from Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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8 minutes ago, kalvasflam said:

Woohoo, now we get to see why young Dumbledore was a dick too.

LOL, I'll have to tell my wife this as she is the HP fan in my house. I don't really care for the films even though they are well made but I thought it would be cool to share the trailer as I know some here enjoy it as much as my wife does.

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2 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them rather more than the Harry Potter movies, so this actually has my proper attention.  It's half Harry Potter, half pre-WW2 period piece, which is a nice touch IMO.

I'm with you on this. Can't explain why. But I love rewatching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them than the first 2 Harry Potter movies.

 

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1 hour ago, no3Ljm said:

I'm with you on this. Can't explain why. But I love rewatching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them than the first 2 Harry Potter movies.

One can't help but admire the attention to detail that went into replicating 1920's New York on the studio backlot and in the script.  They even went to the trouble of making sure the characters who are natives to the city are from the correct neighborhoods for the period by heritage.

I'll definitely be hoping to see more of that thoroughness in The Crimes of Grindelwald

The only worry I have is Depp as Gellert Grindelwald.  I've never felt he had a lot of range, and on those occasions where he snags a role that isn't either deliberately goofy or Tim Burton-esque, he comes across as in a permanent state of dull surprise like in From Hell.

 

4 hours ago, kalvasflam said:

Woohoo, now we get to see why young Dumbledore was a dick too.

Didn't Dumbledore in the books admit he sat on his hands while Grindelwald went all Wizard Hitler because he was afraid he might learn whether he, his brother, or Grindelwald was the one who'd accidentally killed his sister?

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2 hours ago, Thom said:

Nice! I liked Fantastic Beasts. It was fun, goofy and suspenseful all at the same time. Nice to see Jacob coming back too. I wonder if he'll get his memories back or if this will be with a new introduction?

I assumed it kind of got back, right? I mean the first movie end with him smiling when he was staring at Queenie. Maybe he started to recognize her or triggered something in his memories. 

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7 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Didn't Dumbledore in the books admit he sat on his hands while Grindelwald went all Wizard Hitler because he was afraid he might learn whether he, his brother, or Grindelwald was the one who'd accidentally killed his sister?

Pretty much.  The whole thing I got from this little tidbit was when Dumbledore said something about not being able to move against Grindelwald.  Sounds like he's slacking off again.  I can't kill voldie, has to be you.  The final bit of music actually confused me for a split second into thinking Avengers.

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1 hour ago, kalvasflam said:

Pretty much.  The whole thing I got from this little tidbit was when Dumbledore said something about not being able to move against Grindelwald.  Sounds like he's slacking off again.  I can't kill voldie, has to be you.  The final bit of music actually confused me for a split second into thinking Avengers.

I remember how pissed Snape was with Dumbledore about putting Harry in the impossible positions of having to take down Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows flash backs. That really made me respect Snape and look at him as the unsung hero of the series. At least Harry recognized Snape’s sacrifices and Mamés his son after him.

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11 hours ago, no3Ljm said:

I assumed it kind of got back, right? I mean the first movie end with him smiling when he was staring at Queenie. Maybe he started to recognize her or triggered something in his memories. 

Bounced this one off my girlfriend, who is my resident Potterhead, and she pointed out that Newt says the Swooping Evil venom he used to erase New York's memories removes bad memories.  If nothing else, it's a safe bet the time he spent with Queenie doesn't count as bad memories.  The thing with the explody-rhino aside, he seemed to be quite enjoying himself.

 

7 hours ago, Mazinger said:

I remember how pissed Snape was with Dumbledore about putting Harry in the impossible positions of having to take down Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows flash backs. That really made me respect Snape and look at him as the unsung hero of the series. At least Harry recognized Snape’s sacrifices and Mamés his son after him.

I've never been able to buy the argument that Snape is heroic.  The guy was a first-class arsehole who verbally and emotionally abused the kids in his classes for at least a decade.  He had basically zero problem with letting Voldemort kill Lily's husband and son if he could have her himself, until Dumbledore called him on it.  He tried to have an innocent man sent back to wizard torture-prison over a childhood rivalry, and ruined another man's life when he was thwarted in the attempt .  He spent six years making Harry's life horrible and taking evident pleasure in it because he reminded him of his schoolyard bully.  On more than one occasion he tried to get Harry expelled.  He all but admits to Dumbledore near the end that he doesn't give a crap about Harry, he's only in it for revenge for Lily.

Harry suddenly going from "golly this guy's a prick" to "I'mma name my kid after him" is one of the worst What The Hell, Hero? moments in the books.  He was 100% onboard with Wizard Hitler 2.0 until his childhood crush was threatened.

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Well, I don't think anyone would say Snape was ever a single dimensional hero. He was incredibly complicated, and I think very rarely was he ever a happy man. It's clear that the only bright light in his life - ever - was Lily. If she had chosen him when they were younger, I wonder if he would have ever joined Voldemort, but she didn't. After she chose James Potter I would assume that Snape nose-dived straight into Voldemort's hands, and didn't turn against You Know Who until after Lily had been murdered.

As for Harry, he was someone to loath and endure depending on which parent Snape would be thinking of at any given time. As James' son, Harry was every reminder of all that Snape had lost to the senior Potter. As Lily's son, he was a boy to protect for the memory and love Snape had for Harry's mother.

In the end, I think everything Snape did against Voldemort was in remembrance of Lily.

22 hours ago, no3Ljm said:

I assumed it kind of got back, right? I mean the first movie end with him smiling when he was staring at Queenie. Maybe he started to recognize her or triggered something in his memories. 

For that, I don't think he remembered Queenie in the true sense. Like all the creations he was making afterward, its all subconscious. The memory was gone but the emotions were still there. Plus, what would you do if a gorgeous blonde was making smiley eyes at you?!?

As for the Swooping Evil venom, I assumed it removed all memories seeing how the Magical Congress would not have been happy with people remembering any magic happening at all.

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It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who thought that Fantastic Beasts was better than any of the Harry Potter movies. I've got high hopes for the sequel, but I'm really not looking forward to seeing Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. He's a decent actor, but I'm burned out from seeing him in yet another movie. If the movie needed publicity or funding, I could understand why they'd go with him. But the last thing a movie in the HP universe needs is help with publicity. And with J.K. Rowling herself writing the story, I highly doubt they had a hard time securing the funding. With a sea of exceptional British actors out there, I find it hard to believe that Depp was the best that they could find, especially at the price tag he probably comes with.

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15 hours ago, no3Ljm said:

Poster and photos from TagHobby:

firstlook.jpg

... y'know what, I'm just gonna come right out and say it.

Johnny Depp's Gellert Grindelwald is one flame-patterned polo shirt away from looking like his evil master plan is to establish Flavortown USA rather than build Wizard Auschwitz. 

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  • 4 months later...
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Well, that was anticlimactic... 

Took the family to go see Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald and I have to say it was pretty underwhelming.  It gets off to a good start, but the excuse for getting the gang from the previous film back together within the first fifteen minutes is paper thin and requires some pretty massively out-of-character behavior on the part of its instigator.  The story doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be... and is mostly just three groups of characters repeatedly passing like ships in the night and accomplishing nothing until the last 30 minutes or so when all the actual action happens.  The Crimes of Grindelwald really feels like two hours and change of setup for the next film rather than a film in its own right.  A more traditional franchise would probably have done most of this story as a comic book or novel and made the last 30 minutes the first 30 minutes of another story.

The cast, for the most part, does a good job with a mediocre story.  Johnny Depp is the cast's weakest link.  You can tell he refused to let makeup change his hair or facial hair from his normal 'do except for a blonde dyejob, so he goes through the movie looking like an aging albino hipster or a humanoid cockatiel.  The plot tries to build him up as some incredibly charismatic leader, but Depp sleepwalks through the film in the same emotionless thousand-yard stare he uses so often in any movie where he's not required to be quirky like Edward ScissorhandsFrom Hell, or Sweeney Todd.  Jude Law kind of steals a good chunk of the movie... 1920's Dumbledore isn't just incredibly charismatic, he's... well... hot.

 

Spoiler

The Crimes of Grindelwald doesn't seem to really know what to do with Queenie and Jacob.  They were a cute couple in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but she's out of character in the entirety of The Crimes of Grindelwald.  Jacob doesn't really do anything in the movie except react to things occasionally.  Queenie's only relevant at the beginning and the end, since she starts the process of getting the gang back together by showing up unannounced with a mind-controlled Jacob and announces they've eloped, then runs off crying once Jacob calls her on doing such a creepy thing after Newt lifts the spell.  She doesn't become relevant again until the end, when she's so eager to overturn the US's ban on marrying muggles that she jumps straight to joining Wizard Hitler's supporters while he's busy murdering the sh*t out of her sister's coworkers.  

 

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Having read about the less positive takes of Crimes relative to the first Beasts, I was actually relieved by this one. It is complex, but I found its twists rewarding and I liked it almost as much as I liked the first Beasts. I’m actually one of those people that didn’t think the last HP movies or books were the greatest in the series. And I actually think some of the story telling issues I had with Deathly Hallows are avoided by these movies and the first. I never really bought into some of the plot convolutions of the originals and I think JK might have worked out a better overall plot with these, so I look forward to the next.

Now regarding Depp, I’m actually breathing a sigh of relief. I was prepared to hate him had he over acted as has been typical of his recent schtick, but I think he actually played the character about as well as Depp could.  I think it would have been easy for the script and Depp to have been more heavy handed given Grindelwald’s arguments to Mages on why they should follow him as a reflection of our times, but that turned out to be more subdued. There was less preaching than I expected and more showing, so bullet dodged there I think.

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I saw The Crimes of Grindelwald and was underwhelmed. It's not a bad movie, but it's certainly not as good as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. When it ended, I was thinking "Was that it?!"; it just felt incomplete. A lot of writers struggle with stepping-stone movies, but I was surprised that J.K. Rowling struggled with it this time, especially when all the Harry Potter books/movies could individually stand on their own feet.

One of my biggest concerns going into the movie was seeing Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Newt Scamander is a perfect example of an actor owning a role that was given to him. But Depp's performance, while acceptable, isn't a memorable one.

I really liked how the movie gave Grindelwald a compelling motivation behind his actions and why he's able to accumulate so many loyal followers. I found it much more plausible than Voldemort's shallow motivations.

Spoiler

Grindelwald's escape in the beginning was unimaginative, did the prison not have any laundry carts for him to hide in? Polyjuice potion is fairly common in the wizarding world, so you'd think that the prison would've devised some sort of authentication system or test for it, especially since Grindelwald's supposed to be the most dangerous wizard in the world.

Queenie's storyline made no sense. As a powerful Legilimens, she can easily see through the clever words that Grindelwald and his followers espouse. Even an ordinary person can see that Grindelwald looks upon no-maj's with contempt. It's utterly preposturous to think that Grindelwald would give his blessing to a marriage between a wizard and a lowly no-mag. I know denial can make people to weird things, but this is just bad writing.

I was also disappointed with that reveal that Credance is a Dumbledore. I've never been a fan of the trope where the major characters are related to each other in some way. J.K. Rowling managed to avoid this trope with the Harry Potter books, but it looks like she couldn't resist it any longer.

 

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2 hours ago, TheLoneWolf said:

I really liked how the movie gave Grindelwald a compelling motivation behind his actions and why he's able to accumulate so many loyal followers. I found it much more plausible than Voldemort's shallow motivations.

Do you mean Voldemort's motivations in the books or the movies?  I ask because I felt a lot of his Freudian excuse fell victim to the inevitable perils of story compression for the silver screen.  They got the ball rolling on Grindelwald's motivations a lot earlier on, so he has three more movies to really get into why he's a total bastard (and the books never did get into why he's a muggle-hater beyond "he's Wizard Hitler, go with it".)

Spoiler
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Grindelwald's escape in the beginning was unimaginative, did the prison not have any laundry carts for him to hide in? Polyjuice potion is fairly common in the wizarding world, so you'd think that the prison would've devised some sort of authentication system or test for it, especially since Grindelwald's supposed to be the most dangerous wizard in the world.

No kidding... especially since notable magical institutions like Gringotts do have countermeasures against polyjuice potion.  A British bank can afford better security than the MACUSA's maximum security wizard prison?  It's especially glaring since literally right before that point they mentioned they'd had to change jailers several times because he was incredibly good at convincing them to switch sides.

 

 

Spoiler
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Queenie's storyline made no sense. As a powerful Legilimens, she can easily see through the clever words that Grindelwald and his followers espouse. Even an ordinary person can see that Grindelwald looks upon no-maj's with contempt. It's utterly preposturous to think that Grindelwald would give his blessing to a marriage between a wizard and a lowly no-mag. I know denial can make people to weird things, but this is just bad writing.

It's kind of an easy remark to miss since it comes in the middle of a largely unrelated conversation in the previous movie, but Queenie does admit to Newt that she has great difficulty reading foreign people (people "with accents").  Newt's British English was enough to throw her off her game, and the native French-speakers in France seem to be totally impenetrable to her.  Grindelwald's supporters in this movie are mostly, if not entirely, members of the French wizarding community and Grindelwald is implied to be from one of the German-speaking nations in central Europe.  She wouldn't be able to read any of them.  

Grindelwald is obviously as evil as the day is long, yes... but in a "reality ensues" moment for history and current events, Queenie and the others at Grindelwald's rally are only too willing to overlook that he's obviously a horrible human being because he's telling them exactly what they want to hear.  Fitting for a man who is ostensibly Adolf Hitler's counterpart in the wizarding world, he's whipping them up into an anxious furor with nationalist rhetoric.  He's telling them that everything wrong in their lives is because of external forces, a group of the other who are holding back their betters, and that he can free them from that alleged oppression if he comes to power and puts the inferiors back in their place.  It might feel like bad writing because we want to think we're smarter than that, but history has shown it's surprisingly effective.  Like so many that fall to such comforting enticements as "all your problems are someone else's fault", Queenie's not listening to the whole message.  She's focused on the part that's relevant to her: that MACUSA law that prevents her from having an open relationship with Jacob that was put into place to preserve the secrecy of the wizarding world.   If the witches and wizards aren't living in hiding anymore, then that law no longer has any meaning.  

 

 

Spoiler
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I was also disappointed with that reveal that Credance is a Dumbledore. I've never been a fan of the trope where the major characters are related to each other in some way. J.K. Rowling managed to avoid this trope with the Harry Potter books, but it looks like she couldn't resist it any longer.

It's almost certainly a red herring.

It's something I noticed while I was checking my girlfriend's hunch that McGonagall shouldn't have been in the film (sure enough, she was born in 1935).  Credence's date of birth is given on the adoption papers prop from the first Fantastic Beasts movie as 9 November 1904, though The Crimes of Grindelwald's screenplay gives it as 1901 instead.  Albus Dumbledore's father was sent to Azkaban in either 1891 or 1892 and died there, and his mother was killed in 1899.  Whoever Credence really is, he's no sibling of Albus Dumbledore's.  He's at least ten years too young to be a Dumbledore.  

(The only other living relative Dumbledore had was known to have was a spinster aunt who never married after her fiance was discovered doing something indecent with a rather phallic magical creature.)

 

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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