I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Editor
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is a red-blooded action adventure, dripping with atmosphere and filled with wonder.
At least, that’s what it looks like it’s going to be, based on the first 10 minutes of film, which screened for fans who attended yesterday’s global fan event that took place in Dallas and 18 other cities across the world.
At the event, fans were treated with a four-minute featurette that hinted at the wider plot of the film, a Q&A featuring several talents (including star Eddie Redmayne, director David Yates and author J.K. Rowling), and the film’s prologue to hold participants over until its nationwide release on Nov. 18.
The HARRY POTTER spinoff story – set 70 years before Potter’s existence – will chronicle the adventures of Newt Scamander (Redmayne) as we see how magic developed overseas in America.
As Rowling says in the featurette, “You’re learning about a part of magical history that’s talked about in the Potter books but you never see, and I’m getting a chance to tell that now.”
What’s great about the HARRY POTTER films is how contained, yet rich each chapter is. We always knew there was such a savory world beyond Hogwarts. Some of the series’ best scenes took place outside the school’s grounds. So to dive into what’s happening beyond that is endlessly fascinating.
The film’s opening features Redmayne’s character (a zoologist who studies magical creatures) upon his New York City arrival in 1926. After barely making it through customs because of his rowdy luggage, a creature escapes from within and poses an immense threat to the magical community.
Previously FANTASTIC BEASTS was announced as a trilogy, but now it will consist of five films in its franchise.
“We set a trilogy as a placeholder because we knew there were would be more than one movie,” Rowling told audiences. “If I’ve done the plotting properly, we’re pretty sure it’s going to be five movies.”
This news, as you could probably imagine, was welcomed by excited screams, while the cast were just as enthusiastic about the announcement.
There’s no doubt that HARRY POTTER has instilled magic into the lives of many. There’s a cozy and inviting place that it takes you to. It provides a sense of escapism that is rare for movies to offer these days, where one can leave their worries outside the door, live in the moment and cherish what unfolds on screen.
Those eight beloved films, and the seven books they’re based on, granted people the opportunity to dress up and match that thrill that was launched by STAR WARS decades ago. And if the rest of FANTASTIC BEASTS is anything like its first 10 minutes and trailer, fans can look forward to those same warm feelings to share with a whole new generation.
Entire FANTASTIC BEASTS Fan Event: