Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Poster #2

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits stores on March 28.

For a non-Harry Potter fan, there’s a lot to like about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. From the costume to the production design, director David Yates perfectly captures the 1920s New York City setting. In addition, the fusion between the 20s and the magical world is very imaginative. After 8 films, the American backdrop just breathed new life into the Harry Potter franchise.

Not bad for first-time screenwriter J.K. Rowling. We know how talented she is as a book writer but there’s a big difference between writing a book and writing a screenplay. With Fantastic Beasts, she handled herself well. She’s able to intertwine the storylines of several characters into one coherent film. Not to mention the Pokémon-esque storyline is fun to watch as well. Each creature has its own persona and Scamander’s journey to recapture his creatures is enjoyable to watch. David Yates seems to be in his element again after his lackluster effort in The Legend of Tarzan.

There are some flaws to Rowling’s script, though. The forced love interest between our heroes leaves much to be desired. Not to mention the Grindelwald storyline was shoehorned into the film as a tease for future films. There isn’t much buildup and his final reveal at the end seems out of place. Regardless, there is a lot to look forward to with Rowling’s future screenplays.

As much as the direction and screenplay were on point, you cannot make a truly good film without a truly good cast. Fortunately, Fantastic Beasts has a really good cast. Chief among them is Dan Fogler who absolutely steals the show as Kowalski. He brings the heart, soul, and laughs to the film. He also gives audiences a loveable No-Maj/Muggle to connect to in the wizarding world. As far as I know, it’s something we haven’t seen yet in the Harry Potter films. Eddie Redmayne is fantastic (pun intended) as Newt Scamander. He dives deep into the role and provides a charming paternal portrayal towards his creatures. Also notable is Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone. He may not have the most lines, but physical behavior portrays Credence’s psychological scars quite well.

Furthermore, Colin Farrell and Alison Sudol provide solid performances as Graves and Queenie, respectively. Although she gives a good performance, Katherine Waterston is the weakest link. There are times where she showcases a good performance and times where she doesn’t.

Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a great prequel and spinoff to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It expands on the world by giving insight into the wizarding community in America. Despite its small shortcomings, Fantastic Beasts is quite possibly the best film in the entire Harry Potter franchise.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Colin Farrell

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits Ultra HD with an HDR 2160p transfer and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This is the first time that there is a significant difference between the Ultra HD and regular Blu-ray. It’s like night and day. The picture is crystal clear and incredibly crisp. The black levels are deep and never crushed due to the Blu-ray’s HDR feature. However, there is a particular scene where I found banding in the dark areas but this is the only anomaly—everything else is pristine and smooth. The colors pop and showcase the film’s massive color palette. The magical powers are vivid and Newt’s suitcase bursts with color. The flesh tones are natural looking and consistent throughout the film. Overall, this is the definitive Blu-ray to showcase the power of your 4K TV.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Him hits Ultra HD with a Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track. The review will reflect Fantastic Beasts‘ core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track. Much like the video presentation, Fantastic Beasts‘ audio presentation will showcase the power of your expensive sound system. It’s easily one of the most immersive presentations I’ve seen in an Ultra HD Blu-ray release. Every channel in your sound system will get some work.

The surround and rear surround channels nicely weave the sound effects, score, and vocals into the sound stage. It never overpowers the front and center channels. The dynamic pans also seamlessly transition between one speaker to another. Additionally, the front and center channels clearly convey the dialogue even during the loud action sequences. Overall, the audio tracks are one of the best out there.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Eddie Redmayne

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Him‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features in it, but the regular Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins!
  • Characters:
    • The Magizoologist
    • The Goldstein Sisters
    • The New Salemers
    • The No-Maj Baker
    • The President and the Auror
  • Creatures:
    • Meet the Fantastic Beasts
    • Bowtruckle
    • Demiguise
    • Erumpent
    • Niffler
    • Occamy
    • Thunderbird
  • Design:
    • Shaping the World of Fantastic Beasts (360°)
    • New York City (360°)
    • MACUSA (360°)
    • Newt’s Magical Case (360°)
    • The Shaw Banquet
    • The Blind Pig (360°)
  • 11 Deleted Scenes

There is a crazy amount of special features to go through here. With this in mind, Harry Potter fans should note the character featurettes because they do talk about Grindelwald’s future and his connection to Albus Dumbledore. The creature featurettes are a little disappointing because most of the featurette focuses on bringing the creatures to life. Although this is typical, I wanted more in-depth information about the various creatures.

Furthermore, Before Harry Potter is a really good behind-the-scenes featurette that has a variety of different segments. There’s a roundtable interview with the cast and interviews with producer David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, and David Yates. They give interesting insights into what made them return to the world of Harry Potter. The design featurettes are compelling to watch, but only if you’re interested in the subject matter. The 11 deleted scenes are a nice watch but you can see why they weren’t included in the film. It really didn’t add anything to the film.

Special Features Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Him is a charming film that expands upon the lore of Harry Potter. It’s a fresh spinoff that breathes new life into the Harry Potter franchise. The video and audio presentations are hands down one of the best Ultra HD Blu-ray releases out there today. In addition, there are plenty of special features to go through and it should please every Harry Potter fan.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

Facebook Comments