2016 #9 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dir. David Yates)

“My philosophy is if you worry, you suffer twice.” – Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
David Yates
Starring: fantasticbeastscast
Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Perlman, Colin Farrell
Written By: J.K. Rowling
Running Time: 133 minutes (2 hours, 13 minutes)
Genre(s): Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not Harry Potter. Even though it is set in the same universe, this film is an entirely different beast on its own.

And I have to say, I love the idea of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I think the Harry Potter universe is one that can be explored endlessly and I think using these films as a gateway to learn more about the creatures that inhabit it is really interesting. But does this movie do that?

For me, even though I do like this film and will get into the positives, there are two things that leave me with hesitation about this movie. The first is the character of Newt Scamander and Eddie Redmayne. I know Redmayne is an Oscar winner and he can be a really good actor, but he can also be a bit of a ham. The film fails to provide enough background on Newt to get audiences to really care about him (and I’m sorry, showing a brief image of Leta Lestrange is not enough). As a protagonist, he doesn’t hold a candle to Harry Potter. By the end of the movie, Newt kind of just feels like a collection of nervous tics that loves beasts and not a character that had a proper true introduction.

I also feel like the film didn’t mesh the two entirely different plots going on that well – the one where Newt is trying to collect the beasts and the other with the deals with the Obscurus. As a result, it almost felt like the fantastic beasts were sidelined in their own movie.

I do like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them though. Despite my reservations, I was entertained and had a fun time watching it. I also enjoyed the relationship between Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol a lot (they were such a surprise!) and I liked Katherine Waterston, Samantha Morton and Colin Farrell. All of the beasts that were introduced were a lot of fun as well. The techs were all obviously impressive too (I’d be disappointed if they weren’t considering the standard the Harry Potter films were at).

Let’s hope the remaining four films in this franchise turn out okay (or better than okay, let’s hope they turn out fantastic). 3.5/5.

2016 Personal Ballot (updates are in bold)

Best Picture
Hell or High Water
Sing Street
The Jungle Book

Best Director
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Jon Favreau – The Jungle Book
John Carney – Sing Street
Jeff Nichols – Loving

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Joel Edgerton – Loving
2. Chris Pine – Hell or High Water
3. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo – Sing Street

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Ruth Negga – Loving
2. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
3. Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. André Holland – Moonlight
Ashton Sanders – Moonlight
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
5. Trevante Rhodes – Moonlight

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Janelle Monaé – Hidden Figures
2. Lucy Boynton – Sing Street
3. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
4. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
5. Janelle Monaé – Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay
1. Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
2. Sing Street – Simon Carmody, John Carney

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Loving – Jeff Nichols
3. Hidden Figures – Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
4. The Jungle Book – Justin Marks

Best Film Ensemble
1. Moonlight – Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali
Hell or High Water – Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman
3. Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monaé, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge
4. Sing Street – Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kelly Thornton, Don Wycherley, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Ian Kenny
5. The Jungle Book – Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken

Best Original Score
1. Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
Loving – David Wingo
3. The Jungle Book – John Debney
4. Hell or High Water – Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – James Newton Howard

Best Original Song
Sing Street – “Drive It Like You Stole It” by Gary Clark
2. Sing Street – “To Find You” by Gary Clark
Sing Street – “Up” by John Carney, Gary Clark, Graham Henderson, Carl Papenfus, Ken Papenfus, Zamo Riffman
Hidden Figures – “Runnin’” by Pharrell Williams
Hidden Figures – “I See a Victory” by Kirk Franklin, Pharrell Williams

Best Production Design
1. Passengers – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig, James Hambidge, Anna Pinnock
3. Hidden Figures – Missy Parker, Wynn Thomas
4. Sing Street – Tamara Conboy, Alan MacDonald

Best Cinematography
1. Moonlight – James Laxton
2. Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Sing Street – Barbara Conway, Sandra Kelly

Best Costume Design
1. Sing Street – Tiziana Corvisieri
2. Hidden Figures – Renée Ehrlich Kalfus
3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Colleen Atwood
4. Loving – Erin Benach

Best Film Editing
1. Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
2. Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
3. The Jungle Book – Mark Livolsi
4. Sing Street – Andrew Marcus, Julian Ulrichs

Best Visual Effects
1. The Jungle Book – Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Adam Valdez
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
Passengers – Pete Dionne, Sebastien Gourdal, Erik Nordby
4. Hell or High Water – Jeremy Cox, Scott Hastings, Daniel Holt, Michael Prawitz

2016 Ranked (updates are in bold)

1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)
Sing Street (dir. John Carney)
Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
5. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
6. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi)
7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dir. David Yates)
8. Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)
9. The Girl on the Train (dir. Tate Taylor)


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