GUEST CRITIC #18: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me.  As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, there are other experts out there.  Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy.  Sometimes, they save me $9 and you 800+ words of blathering.  In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for guest movie reviews.


Give a warm, Show-Me-State welcome to Mr. Shane Bowen.  Shane is a fourth grade teacher in the St Louis area.  He and I worked together through the same charter school network before both of us changed jobs this past summer.  Like so many educators (myself included), Shane flexes a creative muscle outside of the textbooks and paper-grading.  Mr. Bowen also writes novels as a hobby.  Shane recently started his own publishing company, Out the Window Books.  You can check out his titles at, where his books are available for purchase.  His first short story, The Lake, is available to download for free from that very site.  This man has talent and knows the power of a good beer and a good movie.  Enjoy this review of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."


Good day! I saw "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" this afternoon. It was a pretty good movie, although not quite as good as the original eight movies. I am a late comer to the Harry Potter world, but I love it. The storytelling builds in a powerful way in the original stories and I’m hoping that this movie is the building block that the rest of this series will be built upon.

I thought the acting was good enough to be respectable, although not close what I have come to expect from the other "Harry Potter" movies. Eddie Redmayne did a good job as Newt Scamander, as did Katherine Waterston in her role as Tina. The characters have plenty of room to grow as the story continues, so I’ll be looking for that in the next film. Dan Fogler as Kowalski was exactly what I expected him to be when he came on the screen the first time. As the only major player that was a No-maj, or Muggle as we knew them before, Kowalski goes along with the adventure without much resistance. Although I’m not a fan, Colin Farrell delivers a decent performance. Cameo performances by Johnny Depp, Jon Voight, and Ron Perlman’s voice give a little extra star power to the cast.

The story was, as I expected, outstanding. If Rowling writes it, I’ll read it. The characters blend together well to make the story move, but none of them really stand out to me. If someone wants to see a good movie, then this is a fine choice. If they have watched or read the other stories, then many more things will make sense. The obscurial was kept under wraps for a long time considering how major its part is in the story.

I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good couple of hours out of reality. The beginning is a little slow, but the rest is worth the wait. Potter fans will be happy with the connections made throughout the movie and the ending leaves us looking forward to the next movie.  Thanks for reading and I hope you like the film


Shane's review caps a trio of submissions for the new David Yates holiday tentpole.  As I did with Kelly Meents and Blaine Grimes, I sincerely thank Shane for stepping up to answer the open call.  Please check out his writing works on Out of the Window Books!

Friends, if you see a movie that I don't see and want to be featured on my website (and get a fun fake biography written about you), hit up my website's Facebook page and you can be my next GUEST CRITIC!