Mar 302017

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the type of movie one can admire the technical aspects more so than the story or characters, but that admiration only goes so far. Like The Hobbit before, this just seems like a needless spin-off and I cannot imagine how the material can be stretched into a sequel let alone FOUR more.



Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K UHD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”

Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 133 min. – $44.95 | March 28, 2017

Date Published: 03/30/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
David Yates
Writer(s): J.K. Rowling (written by)
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Colin Farrell
Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD): English (Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1), English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 3.0/5

Note: This review contains some SPOILERS. Readers beware.

Given the Harry Potter franchise brought in $7.7 BILLON worldwide for Warner Brothers, it was a no-brainer. So they bought in… err brought in J.K. Rowling to script the spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which was culled from a text book title in one of the Potter movies (and presumably mentioned in the novels). Up front, I wasn’t super excited but went in with an open mind. Well, while this is no Harry Potter, not by a long shot in many areas, it’s a serviceable enough film though holds zero replay value.

The story opens with Newt Scramander (EDDIE REDMAYNE) arriving to America with a suitcase full of creatures he had hoped to prove are harmless to the magical powers that be Stateside. Or some sort of rubbish like that. Of course, his thesis doesn’t hold much water once a few escape and start wreaking havoc upon 1920s New York. We meet a variety of characters: Mary Lou Barebone (SAMANTHA MORTON) is an anti-magic fundamentalist who has three adopted children including Credence (EZRA MILLER), Modesty (FAITH WOOD-BLAGROVE) and Chastity (JENN MURRAY); Jacob Kowalski (DAN FOGLEY), a no-mag (i.e. muggle) who gets caught up in Newt’s magical world; auror Percival Graves (COLIN FARRELL) working for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) led by Seraphina Picquery (CARMEN EJOGO). Oh, and we also meet Porpentina Goldstein (KATHERINE WATERSTON), a witch and fired auror after her assault on Barebone.

Along with Newt’s storyline, we get another one involving a child with magical powers that, with invisibility, tears NYC apart and Newt’s escaped creatures are being blamed by the MACUSA. In between these stories, we get an inside look at Newt’s suitcase which, like the tents in Goblet of Fire, is exactly massive and spacious where he houses these Fantastic Beasts. This aspect might be the only entertaining aspect because certainly this cast of characters isn’t anything memorable.

On the surface, Fantastic Beasts could’ve been pretty good with David Yates back in the director’s chair, an Oscar winner in the lead and Potter author heavily involved, though on that latter part, I have to wonder if J.K. Rowling should’ve been involved writing the story with someone like Steven Kloves brought in for the script work. As it stands, there are some nice set pieces and the visual effects are quite impressive, but otherwise there’s nothing that differentiates itself from any other fantasy-adventure film that have come before. Added to the troubles is this was only the first of a 5(?) picture franchise and there’s barely any good material this time, seems like this is The Hobbit all over again, though even that franchise had unforgettable characters.

Eddie Redmayne might be a fine actor but his Newt character isn’t that interesting, same goes for Katherine Waterston. Alison Sudol as Waterston’s sister was alright and Dan Fogler was easily the most likeable of the bunch and perhaps the only one I’d like to see return in the sequel(s). Colin Farrell for his part broods well enough but as a, spoiler alert, villain has no bite and even when he transforms into, another spoiler alert, a pale Johnny Depp, doesn’t strike the same fear compared to Voldemort.

In the end, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is perfectly okay family film but if you go in expecting even half the magic as the Harry Potter films, you’ll be sorely disappointed. As someone who still has never read those novels nor have gotten into the online aspect, I went in with lowered expectations and it pretty much met them. Unlike the Harry Potter franchise, I have absolutely no desire to ever revisit Fantastic Beasts in spite of the respectable visual effects.



This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins (15:31; HD) takes viewers through the process of diving back into the wizarding world made popular in the “Potter” novels and subsequent adaptations.

Characters (TRT 24:19; HD):

  • The Magizoologist (4:14)
  • The Goldstein Sisters (5:04)
  • The No-Maj Baker (4:42)
  • The New Salemers (4:42)
  • The President and the Auror (5:37)

Creatures (TRT 20:59; HD):

  • Meet the Fantastic Beasts (4:18)
  • Bowtruckle (2:36)
  • Demiguise (2:20)
  • Erupent (3:42)
  • Niffler (2:29)
  • Occamy (3:09)
  • Thunderbird (2:25)

Design (TRT 34:33; HD):

  • Shaping the World of Fantastic Beasts (5:54)
  • New York City (7:25)
  • MACUSA (7:07)
  • Newt’s Magical Case (4:59)
  • The Shaw Banquet (4:29)
  • The Blind Pig (4:39)

The above featurettes delve into a variety of topics, taking viewers behind-the-scenes with the creators and cast as they discuss their respective characters, designing sets and other bits of info. All told, there’s about 95-minutes worth of material, some decent but others rather basic.

Last up we get a set of 11 Deleted Scenes (14:33; HD):

  • Major Investigation Department (1:21)
  • Jacob Tenement (1:33)
  • Newt’s Case (1:33)
  • MACUSA Cell (1:03)
  • Creocreatura (1:03)
  • Tracking Demiguise (2:40)
  • Suitcase Celebration (2:28)
  • Skyscraper Roof (0:54)
  • Obscurus Unleashed, Part 1 (0:53)
  • Obscurus Unleashed, Part 2 (1:05)
  • Newt Goodbye (0:59)


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them soars onto 4K presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and 2160p ultra-high-definition. The picture looks incredible with bright colors throughout, particularly inside Newt’s suitcase, and sharp and well defined detail. While this is to be expected for a new release in the format, it still is quite impressive and is reference material. The Blu-ray, with its 1080p high-definition, meanwhile also looks good with fine detail.

AUDIO – 4.75/5

Both the 4K and Blu-ray discs include the choice of either the Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) or DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. These both sound great with the Atmos being a bit more dynamic on the upper end and particularly during the more action-oriented scenes, not to mention the sounds the beasts made. Dialogue levels meanwhile also sound crisp and clear. I’m not sure why the studio provided both Atmos and DTS-HD MA but doing a quick comparison, the Atmos is the clear winner of the two.


OVERALL – 3.0/5

Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the type of movie one can admire the technical aspects more so than the story or characters, but that admiration only goes so far. Like The Hobbit before, this just seems like a needless spin-off and I cannot imagine how the material can be stretched into a sequel let alone FOUR more. This UHD release offers excellent video/audio transfers and some okay bonus features.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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