Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Reel Reviews: More fun than a pot full of Harrys

Taylor and Howe say, "Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them is more fun than the Harry Potter franchise."

  • Nov. 25, 2016 5:00 a.m.

Wizard and champion of magical creatures Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just arrived in New York City from England with a normal looking suitcase. Almost as soon as he has landed, magical creatures escape that suitcase, causing havoc while exposing a far greater threat to both the magical and non-magical world.

We say, “It’s more fun than the Harry Potter franchise.”

HOWE: There were a few problems with the Harry Potter franchise that I found. The early movies looked terrible when you compared them to Lord of the Rings. The acting by unknown actors was really bad and I found them a little too childish. Now 12 years on, J.K. Rowling has given us a more adult feel book/movie, and I am happy to say it is marvellous. I might even go see it again in 3D.

TAYLOR: Well that surprises me. I will agree that it is a more fun film than the Harry Potter franchise ever delivered, but we are now spoiled. The special effects are only perfect if you don’t notice them (it looks real), but if your effect is some magical, unreal entity, room for interpretation makes rating the effects subjective. I liked them in the old Harry Potter films, I think they’re better now.

HOWE: The special effects are pretty spectacular, be it from a wisp from the wand to the giant hippo creature in Central Park.

The acting from Eddie Redmayne reminded me of a young Norman Wisdom. He had an innocent persona about him and that really showed throughout the movie. I felt Scamander really did love and care for his magical beasts. Redmayne always seems to give 110 per cent to the roles that he is portraying, be it this wizardly smiling fool or his more serious role as Stephen Hawking.

FENIN: Hey Brian, the popcorn was good again this week and I got a Branch Troll topper for my cup. But what I really want is one of those stick insect creatures, like Newt Scamander had under his collar. It was pretty cool. I think I would call him Brian.

TAYLOR: That’s nice, but that creature was really needy and didn’t do anything. It’s sort of like this movie: Guy shows up with case of magical beasts, some get out, he and some new friends must chase them around. In doing so they expose that there is a nasty wizard out there trying to be dastardly, then they capture him and the beasts.

It sounds like an end, but it’s only a beginning.

I predict 11-to-13 more hours of this. It might never end. Instead of making three tidy films (six hours max.) like the inventors of the blockbuster did, everything these days has to be stretched so thin it becomes transparent. Blame microwave ovens and MTV. Audiences aren’t interested in forests anymore, just trees. Still, better than Harry Potter

– Taylor gives Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4.5 pieces of jewelry out of 5.

– Fenin gives it 4 stick insects out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday.