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Vic's Flick Picks

Fantastic Beasts
and Where to Find Them

  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set in the same universe as Harry Potter. Only about 70 years earlier than the day Harry gets his Hogwarts letter. 
  Quirky and adorable wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has arrived in New York City in the 1920s with his suitcase of magical creatures. In a very short time he crosses paths with a hapless muggle (sorry, in America they call them no-maj, short for no magic) named Kowalski (Dan Fogler), an uptight auror (wizard police) named Tina (Katherine Waterston) and oops…some of his creatures have escaped. 
  That sounds like enough trouble, right? But no…we also have a cult of – well, I don’t know what they are actually, but they seem intent on letting the world know that there are witches among us! And these cult folks are creepy. Super creepy.
  But wait! There’s more! Head Auror Graves (Colin Farrell) is also up to some nefarious scheme involving some of the cult members. All stories within plans within red herrings – the usual stuff for author J.K. Rowling.
  As a fan of Harry Potter, I wasn’t surprised that I found Fantastic Beasts to be great fun. I especially enjoyed the totally new aspect of seeing adults (not the children at Hogwarts) live in the wizarding world doing adult things like setting the table or cooking a strudel. 
  Fantastic Beasts is full of shenanigans and eye-popping special effects, but the real treat here was Redmayne as Scamander. He was perfect. Perfectly quirky. Perfectly charming. And perfectly devoted to his creatures. Watching Newt shuffle along in New York, struggle to communicate with Tina, Kowalski and Graves and barely able to make eye contact with the people around him… was perfectly awkward. But then we see him with his beloved beasts and he is happy, confident, brave and a joy to behold. 
  I give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them three out of five boxes. With the exception of Newt and Kowalski, I found the other characters irritating and totally uninteresting. The special effects and computer generated images (CGI) were fantastic – pun intended. I certainly look forward to more adventures with Newt Scamander. But prepare yourself for a bit of a twist near the end….
  This film is rated PG-13 for some fantasy violence, but most children ages 10 and up should be able to handle the magic.
  Check this week’s issue of the Frankenmuth News for a complete listing of shows and times.

  Colin Farrell can be evil (Fright Night) and he can be good (Miami Vice). He can also be hilarious as in this 2011 slapstick comedy also starring Jason Bateman.

  Tilda Swinton is eccentric at best in her characterizations. I enjoyed her unusual character in this 2005 Keanu Reeves movie. Constantine.

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(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News