The much awaited and anticipated next entry in the now called ‘Wizarding World’ has been released to theatres, titled as ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’.
The film follows an intelligent magizoologist named Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who travels to New York to write his hopeful textbook that explains how to care for these beasts, instead of living in fear with them. As Tina perfectly explains the concept of the film’s plot “a wizard entered New York with a case. A case full of magical creatures, and unfortunately some have escaped”.
Get ready to revisit the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and enter a new era of the ‘Wizarding World’, set seventy years before the ‘Harry Potter’ series. Although, while Harry Potter isn’t in the film, everything you love about the ‘Harry Potter’ world are back, full of magic wands, spells, and references that die-hard ‘Potter’ fans will know. I’m not the ultimate ‘Harry Potter’ fan, I haven’t read the books, but I am a huge ‘Potter’ film fan, seeing the films plenty of times, and it’s one of the franchises I revisit the most, that and ‘Toy Story’ are my top two. I guess it doesn’t help that these two franchises are series I grew up on, as I saw the first ‘Harry Potter’ film in theatres when I was six, back in 2001. For some reason that makes me think that I’m old now. Although, if you read my review on ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ a couple of years ago, then you know that I contributed that film as the start of my love for film-making, and movies in general.
The film does an admirable job at capturing the magic of this franchise, making us revisit this world full of awe and charm, the same way the eight ‘Harry Potter’ films were. Even though, the characters we’ve grown to love of Harry, Ron and Hermione aren’t present in this film, the new set of main characters in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ are just as great. Newt Scamander is a likeable and independent magizoologist who likes to be alone around humans, but finds comfort around the magical beasts that he protects and cares for. My favourite among the four was surprisingly Jacob Kowalski that you care for as he tries to open his bakery, but gets snagged, or in technical terms bitten, into a world of magic. My worries he was just for comic relief, but he is more than just that, he shows depth as a character and you actually end up caring about him the most in an effective and an emotionally satisfying ending that’s one of the best endings I’ve seen all year. Although, my favourite magical creature would have to be the Niffler, which looks a lot like a Platypus to me, where he is after money that is shiny, which was hilarious and charming to watch. Easily some of the best scenes in the movie which were both entertaining and magical to watch at the same time.
And while I did care and like these characters, they are also part of the film’s problem as we focus too much on them, while other characters get limited roles instead of building towards them to get a more impact third act which seems slightly rushed, instead of breathing a little bit to develop some of these characters that get sidelined. Certain scenes do seem like filler, just padding the film out, which a certain scene that comes to my mind featuring Newt trying to get a hippo like creature back into the briefcase which should have just been left on the cutting room floor in my opinion. And what about that bug like creature that was in the trailer? Newt didn’t want to get that bug back in the briefcase? No, we’ll just let it fly around New York forever?! Okay then!
‘Fantastic Beasts’ has flaws, but for most of the time the film is a magical delight, which seems timeless in this 1920’s setting, filled with magic, charm and wonder, with an interesting story, amazing characters, good visuals and a tremendous score.