The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (3/28/2017)

Rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence.

Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell

Directed by David Yates (several Harry Potter films)

Todd's Rating: Only if Free

Dynamic ImageThe beasts may be fantastic, but the film was not.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident... were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

I have to begin by saying I’m not a fan of the Harry Potter films...please no hate mail. We all know there were eight Harry Potter films, which stretched out over a decade. Fans of the films loved the actors, the stories and the special effects. Not to mention the details of Hogwarts, Quidditch, the Death Eaters, and entire wizarding world.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first of five promised spin-off films. (I am not counting down to the next one.) There is no doubt, all the ingredients are there—the goblins, the spells, the magical creatures—but without a main character that grabbed the audience, it felt very hollow. I never really cared about Newt and the magic wasn’t enough to keep my interest.

The film’s plot is filled with information and backstory that will probably make sense eventually…but until then we are left feeling overwhelmed and under impressed.

Even though the film included likable characters and fun creatures, some people will struggle with some of the dark themes woven throughout the film and the lackadaisical attitude about witchcraft. Jonathan McKee wrote an entire article about this HERE.

For fans, the film’s full of the little side gags that always seem to please. But since I am not a fan I’d say it’s worth seeing, but “Only if It’s Free.”

There is no sex or nudity and the profanity is mild.

But this is probably the most violent movie in the Harry Potter universe except maybe the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The violence is bloodless and not very graphic, but there is a lot of it.

This movie also deals with some sad, emotional, intense subjects, including animal cruelty, being treated badly, and abuse, but it is all done in a mature fashion and is done very well. It is a sad movie, but many young children will probably not understand the more emotional parts of the movie. The biggest worry for young children is that they may be scared by some of the creatures throughout the movie, including the bad guy in the end.

  1. Why do you think Jacob helps Newt?

  2. When was the last time you helped someone in a big way? What happened?

  3. Read Hebrews 13:16

      Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

  4. How did Jacob live out this verse?

  5. What are some ways you can do good and to share what you have?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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