Hailing from the world of Harry Potter, yet set some seventy years before the adventures of that famous wizard, we join one Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne – Jupiter Ascending, The Theory of Everything), writer and expert in the many interesting and fantastic beasts one might encounter, often with a dose of magic.
Now available for the home video aficionado, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is most certainly a title one should acquire for one’s collection. Not only is the film part of the much larger world of the Harry Potter films, but holds its own as a title that can be enjoyed by all, young and old.
Rewatch value on the film is high, with all the many fantastic beasts we get to meet, the many small easter eggs to the future Harry Potter world that are so easy to miss with all the on-screen action at the time, and the fact that this is just one very engrossing movie.
Read the full SAMDB review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Overall, the disc is of a good technical quality, although not with many extra material. The main feature is a very enjoyable film.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video for the main feature is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen, nor any visible colour bleed. Detail is maintained in the darker scenes, as well as the opening sequence where there is a lot of text visible in the scene.
Viewers with the relevant hardware and software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Video for the menus is a lot more compressed. While these are static, the still image does have signs of compression artefacts, but not much. Text on the menus is still very clearly legible.
Audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker. There is a fair amount of surround channel usage, serving to expand the on-screen world, and further draw the viewer into the story.
There is no stereo 2.0 downmix on the disc, but this would be available via the viewers hardware or software player.
Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu has a static background image, with accompanying music. There are text links for playing the main feature, scene selection, language selection and special features.
The scene selection sub-menus contain six large, colour, still thumbnails each. These are numbered, but not labelled, so some guesswork is needed in order to navigate to a specific place in the main feature.
The languages sub-menu presents a text list of available audio languages, and a further sub-menu to another text list of available subtitle languages.
The special features sub-menu has a text list of the two included bonus videos.
Magizoologist – A short featurette, all about Newt. From his clothing, to props (including wand), this clip covers many aspects. Redmayne gives some great insight into how he researched several aspects of Newt’s behaviour prior to filming. There is also some behind the scenes footage, giving us a brief glimpse into the filming process.
Meet the Fantastic Beasts – A look at some of the creatures in the film, and how they were conceptualised. We’re taken behind the scenes where the beasts are shown as puppets, or still as pre-visualised creations on a computer. The cast give some input as to how they interacted on-set prior to the final scene composits too.