The search and study of extraordinary magical creatures brings the magozoologist Newt Scamander to New York. Most likely, he would have departed on the train further, if not for the “nemag” (as Muggles are called in America) by the name of Jacob, the magic suitcase left in the wrong place and the escape of Newt’s fantastic animals from it.
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Not being a fan of the Harry Potter universe, I nevertheless paid attention to “Fantastic Beasts” precisely for the reason that this film was announced as a different, different from the previous, display of the fantasy world of J.K. Rowling. In order not to dwell on this moment for a long time, I will say right away that in the Potterian I was always (except for the first part, perhaps) annoyed by the emphasis on teenage chemistry instead of something global and majestic, as well as too obvious borrowings from The Lord of the Rings. In addition, director David Yates failed to show us a decent ending. But at the box office, the last two films raised a decent amount, and as a result, Yeats was entrusted with a new film on the same universe. There were, of course, concerns, but it seems that now the director is at ease.
Maybe it’s a different location (New York in the 1920s instead of London in the 1990s), or maybe it’s all the same that we have been relieved of the foul-smelling clich?s that offend teenagers around the world. This film opens our eyes to an underground organization of magicians that has existed for hundreds of years. Quite frankly, the plot with a muddle wizard looking for his pets plugs the whole Potterian in the belt. Here we have four interesting characters at once – the magician Newt Scamander, the former Auror Tina, Queenie and the nemag (Muggle) Jacob Kowalski, who just wants to open his own bakery. The history of their intertwining life paths merges with the activities of Grindelwald, who is considered by many fans to be more powerful than Voldemort.
“Fantastic Beasts” touched upon some of the problems associated with most major Hollywood films – in places a stretched plot, dialogues not having a solid basis and, of course, a note of reverse racism – not a single African American among the villains, but almost not a single Caucasian among magicians (in the secondary acting composition, which is strange). Yes, it is immediately clear what the filmmakers were referring to, showing the confrontation between wizards and non-magi oppressors. If Fantastic Beasts had been released at least two years later, the allusions would have been even more obvious. But, fortunately, here all of the above is presented in a microscopic volume, so that almost does not affect the impression.
It is genuinely funny and enjoyable to watch the relationship between Jacob and Queenie. Perhaps this duet pulled out a good half of the film, filled with elements of … how to say … xenobiology, or something. All these fantastic animals, put in the title of the picture, look more like some kind of aliens or animals of the future than fabulous and mythical products of human fantasy. It’s a bit sad as I would love to see dragons, griffins and cyclops. In fairness, the griffin-like beast does appear here, but the special effects masters were clearly inspired by a real microraptor, not a legendary monster. Well, magic wands are classics, and duels with them turned out to be much more spectacular than we saw in the Potterian. And most importantly, for which I am grateful to Yeats – he finally removed this green melancholy from the color scheme, returning the predominance of blue tones, as was the case in “The Philosopher’s Stone” and “Chamber of Secrets”. This is not the case when a movie needs such a depressing mood.
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Catalan: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Note: English DD=narrative descriptive
English SDH, Spanish, Japanese, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Slovenian, Swedish.