Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Blu-ray Combo Pack

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was directed by David Yates from the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling and stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander; Katherine Waterston as Tina; Dan Fogler as Jacob; Alison Sudol as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Ezra Miller as Credence; Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone; Jon Voight as Henry Shaw, Sr.; Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery; and Colin Farrell as Percival Graves.

There are growing dangers in the wizarding world of 1926 New York. Something mysterious is leaving a path of destruction in the streets, threatening to expose the wizarding community to the No-Majs (American for Muggles), including the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction bent on eradicating them.  And the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found.

Unaware of the rising tensions, Newt Scamander arrives in the city nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which are safeguarded in the magical hidden dimensions of his deceptively nondescript leather case.  But potential disaster strikes when unsuspecting No-Maj Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in a city already on edge—a serious breach of the Statute of Secrecy that former Auror Tina Goldstein jumps on, seeing her chance to regain her post as an investigator.  However, things take an ominous turn when Percival Graves, the enigmatic Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), casts his suspicions on both Newt and Tina.

Now allied, Newt and Tina, together with Tina’s sister, Queenie, and their new No-Maj friend, Jacob, form a band of unlikely heroes, who must recover Newt’s missing beasts before they come to harm.  But the stakes are higher than these four outsiders—now branded fugitives—ever imagined, as their mission puts them on a collision course with dark forces that could push the wizarding and No-Maj worlds to the brink of war.

Okay, there was so much to like about this all-new chapter. First of all, it’s a prequel that takes place in New York City during the 1920’s (far away from Hogwarts) and centers around this new batch of interesting characters. The movie follows Newt who meets Jacob and the two quickly become friends and then Tina and her sister Queenie are introduced and these appear to be the four main characters that we’ll get to follow in this new saga. There’s also a few antagonists with Percival Graves being the main one. There was something to like about each of these characters and they all played a key part to the story. The central characters in Harry Potter were much younger so this new movie adds just a little maturity to it all  – simply because all of us Harry Potter fans are now a little older and J.K. Rowling was aware of that.

The story for all of this was well conceived and all of these characters and creatures were so interesting and fun to follow. Even though the story focuses on Newt Scamander and his case full of mischievous beasts, there’s also a side story that’s introduced at the beginning of the movie about the disappearance of the character Grindelwald that is ultimately revealed as the movie plays out. The viewer kind of forgets about this character but he does play an important part to the story. Indeed! Thank goodness for David Yates who is no stranger when it comes to the Wizarding World so he really was the perfect choice to helm Fantastic Beasts. Something else I really liked were the amazing visuals and pratical effects that included some impressive puppetry work. Hey, you can’t have one of these Wizarding World movies without some breathtaking special effects.

The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. Both discs feature the movie logo. Inserting each disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. The picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc was really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I’ve watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them several times now and each time I like this movie more and more. I was so used to everything that the Harry Potter movies offered that I first went into this one thinking it was just going to be another entry into the Harry Potter saga, but it was something completely new and original. Sure it treads on familiar territory because we are in the Wizarding World after all, but Fantastic Beasts introduces these interesting new characters and creatures that you can’t help but be fascinated with and even adore. David Yates and J.K. Rowling reunite and once again prove they are the perfect match to tell these amazing stories of the Wizarding World and this wonderful new movie is just the first of many to come. Fantasic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack on March 28th and is definitely worth checking out. Highly recommended!

Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Run Time: 133 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

DVD Video: 16×9 Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: Good Stuff! The impressive list of extras include interviews with some of the cast and crew, featurettes that focus on the characters, creatures, and design of the movie, some deleted scenes and a digital copy. You can see the full list below.

  • Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins! Join J.K. Rowling as she, David Yates and David Heyman return to Leavesden Studios to build a new and exciting corner of the wizarding universe.  (15:31)
  • Characters

o   The Magizoologist (04:14)

o   The Goldstein Sisters (05:04)

o   The New Salemers (04:42)

o   The No-Maj Baker (04:42)

o   The President and the Auror (05:37)

  • Creatures

o   Meet the Fantastic Beasts (04:18)

o   Bowtruckle (02:36)

o   Demiguise (02:20)

o   Erumpent (03:42)

o   Niffler (02:29)

o   Occamy (03:09)

o   Thunderbird (02:25)

  • Design

o   Shaping the World of Fantastic Beasts  (360°) (05:54)

o   New York City (360°) (07:25)

o   MACUSA (360°) (07:07)

o   Newt’s Magical Case (360°) (04:59)

o   The Shaw Banquet (04:29)

o   The Blind Pig (360°) (04:39)

  • 11 Deleted Scenes (14:33)
  • Digital HD Copy

 

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