Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 29-Mar-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Featurette-Multiple
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 132:52
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Yates
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Eddie Redmayne
Katherine Waterston
Dan Fogler
Samantha Morton
Carmen Ejogo
Colin Farrell
Alison Sudol
Ezra Miller

Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music James Newton Howard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos 7.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Dutch
Czech
Danish
Estonian
Finnish
Greek
Icelandic
Latvian
Lithuanian
Norwegian
Russian
Slovenian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The world of Harry Potter in movies seemed to be completed when the eighth film (from seven novels) of the long running series was released in 2011. All of the films were phenomenally successful, all well over $200M in US box office and nearly all hitting $800m globally, combined with huge sales of merchandise, DVDs, Blu-rays etc. So, how to continue the commercial juggernaut? Dodgy studio spinoffs or a potential new blockbuster series of films? Luckily, the latter was chosen, producing this film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which takes us back 70 years before the Harry Potter stories to the 1920s. There are now plans for 4 sequels to this film, which considering the quality on display seems like a great idea. The film was written for the screen by J K Rowling, author of all the novels but her first time writing directly for the screen. To my mind, this is one of the best films in all the Harry Potter world despite being the least successful at the box office (still a big hit though by any normal standards). I thoroughly enjoyed this film and especially Eddie Redmayne in the leading role. The film was directed by David Yates, now his fifth film in the franchise and he is also slated to direct all the sequels.

     The story here concerns wizard, Newt Scamander (Redmayne) who has a fascination for the magical creatures which inhabit the world of the film and wants to protect and preserve them. He travels to New York, where magic is heavily controlled and it is illegal to use magic in front of no-Majs (like Muggles). He brings with him a case full of magical creatures, which obviously fit into the case because of magic. One of his creatures, a niffler, who is attracted to shiny things, escapes from his case in front of a bank and causes a significant commotion. During the search for the niffler he meets three important characters, being, Tina (Katherine Waterston), an American witch who works for MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States), Jakob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a no-maj baker who he manages to switch cases with and Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) a rabid anti-magic campaigner. By the end of the opening action sequence, Jacob takes a case of magical creatures home instead of his baked goods and Newt is taken to MACUSA by Tina as she is trying to get herself back into the organisation's good books. Here he meets the MACUSA president, Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo) and the head auror or investigator Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) who want to know why he is in New York and stop the magical creatures. Jacob inadvertently allows some of the creatures to escape, resulting in more trouble. Newt and Tina eventually escape to track down and recapture the creatures, hooking up with Jacob and bringing Tina's sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol) into the action. Meanwhile, Mary Lou continues her campaign against magic with a religious fervour. She involves orphans who are struggling for food including her adopted children Creedence (Ezra Miller), Modesty and Chastity. Can Newt rescue his creatures, avoid getting caught by MACUSA, evade Mary Lou and defeat the powerful wizard who seems to be threatening New York?

     This is an excellent story which really expands the Harry Potter universe bringing a host of new characters to the screen. Production quality wise this film is excellent with great sets, props, special effects, action sequences, costumes (Oscar winning) and a marvellous score by James Newton Howard. The cinematography by Phillippe Rouselot is also excellent as is the tight direction by David Yates, I think better than his last two Harry Potter films which were overblown. The ensemble cast also do a wonderful job generally with Eddie Redmayne standing out, deserving the various awards he received for this role. If I had any criticism of this film it is probably a little too long but this is minor. It is a very entertaining addition to the canon and J K Rowling does a great job in her first go at writing for the screen, better than some of the adaptations of her novels by others.

     Recommended for fans of J K Rowling but also those who might have been a little over Harry Potter but still enjoy Fantasy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video is excellent in stunning 1080p. This is exactly what you would expect from a major release Blu-ray, great colour, wonderful detail and sharpness and no artefacts to spoil the view. It is very hard to find fault with this video transfer which makes this film look spectacular. I am sure the 4K release would deliver some extra nuance and slightly better colour, however, I am very satisfied by this.

     There are English for the hearing impaired subtitles available which are clear and easy to read. Other subtitles are available in a wide range of European languages.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is also excellent with two different lossless options available. The first is a Dolby Atmos track which becomes Dolby True HD 7.1 on non-Atmos systems. There is also a DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack for those who prefer. I found these to be very similar on my system, however, I am sure there would be nuances on a 7.1 or Atmos enabled system that would give the advantage to the Atmos track. Dialogue was clear and easy to understand, the music sounded fantastic, the action sequences had sounds bouncing around the room and it was also supported by excellent bass from the subwoofer. Besides the lossless options there was an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus tracks in French, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Russian & Slovenian (all in Dolby Digital 5.1).

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A large collection of extras but a commentary would have been nice.

Menu

     The menu features music.

Before Harry Potter : A New Era of Magic Begins (15:31)

     This is a general making of featurette covering the writing of the screenplay, deciding to do the film, J K Rowling's involvement, casting, production, the characters etc. Includes interviews with producer, director, writer, actors etc. Worth watching.

Characters

The Magizoologist (4:15)

     A featurette on Newt Scamander including the actor, his traits, costumes designed for him and his props. Not bad.

The Goldstein Sisters (5:04)

     Featurette on Tina and Queenie, the actresses, costumes, props, traits etc.

The no-maj Baker (4:42)

     A featurette on Jakob Kowalski, his innocence, romantic nature, costumes etc.

The New Salemers (4:42)

     A featurette on Mary Lou and her adopted children including covering their beliefs around eugenics and trying to breed out wizarding.

The President and the Auror (5:37)

     A featurette on Percival Graves and the MACUSA president covering their characters and costumes.

Creatures

Meet the Fantastic Beasts (4:18)

     Focused on the CGI work to create the beasts and how the cast acted with them.

Bowtruckle (2:36)

     Featurette on the twig like creature including design and the puppetry involved

Demiguise (2:20)

     A featurette on the creature with the power of invisibility.

Erumpent (3:42)

     The rhino like creature, Eddie Redmayne acting with it, puppetry involved etc.

Niffler (2:29)

     The platypus style creature that likes shiny things.

Occamy (3:09)

     The creature that expands to fill the space it has.

Thunderbird (2:25)

     Eagle type bird that creates thunder storms.

Design

Shaping the World of Fantastic Beasts (5:54)

     Intro to the design which covers production, sets, special effects and costumes at a high level.

New York City (7:25)

     A more detailed featurette which covers the decision to build New York City, the combination of green screen and real sets, a huge 15 week backlot build plus vehicles, extras and wardrobe

MACUSA (7:07)

     The design of the wizard headquarters, recreating a building actually in Manhattan and details of the various levels of the building.

Newt's Magical Case (4:59)

     Designing the inside, planning it out, enclosures within the case, intricate and detailed set building.

The Shaw Banquet (2:29)

     Location for the political dinner scene in Liverpool, England plus wardrobe choices for extras etc.

The Blind Pig (4:39)

     Design of the speakeasy plus costumes for the characters within it, props etc.

Deleted Scenes (14:33)

     Lots of extended and additional scenes including Jakob's fiancé, more beasts, extra detail, Jakob vs the Demiguise, a school song, more Jakob and Queenie and an extended climax. Worth watching without needing to have been in the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film is available in the US in the same format except for some minor differences in foreign language soundtracks.

Summary

    A wonderful addition to the world of Harry Potter and probably one of the best films of the lot.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are plentiful.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, June 19, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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