I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them since it was announced by JK Rowling and Warner Bros last year, and honestly, after having seen it a couple of days ago, I was not disappointed.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect- I knew that the film would follow Newt Scamander, the wizard who wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which actually is a real book- Rowling released it for charity several years ago) and would be set in 1920s New York. Other than that, I felt like I was going in blind. I’ve never seen a Harry Potter film without having first read the book (multiple times in all probability- I’ve always been more than a bit of a Potter nerd) so it was strange for me to know the ins and outs of the world but not know where the story was going.
[Mild spoilers ahead…]
Scamander, played excellently by Eddie Redmayne, arrives in America in hopes of releasing one of his beasts into its natural habitat. He quickly runs into complications when another escapes, wreaking havoc and getting him noticed by Porpentina Goldstein (played by Katherine Waterston) an operative of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (or Macusa- basically, the American Ministry of Magic).
A series of events leads to Scamander forming a foursome that is reminiscent of Harry Potter’s “Golden Trio”- made up of Newt, Porpentina, Queenie Goldstein (Porpentina’s sister, played by Alison Sudol), and Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler), an unsuspecting muggle who gets drawn into the chaos.
If it weren’t enough that the film uses music from and similar to that used in the Potter films- an instant draw for me, personally- the storyline and acting are outstanding in their own right. I was gripped through the whole movie, and came out with tons to talk about and theorise (as I said, Potter nerd alert!)
And of course, I can’t write a review about Fantastic Beasts without mentioning the actual beasts! There were some that I recognised from Rowling’s books, and some that I didn’t, but there none that I disliked. Sometimes when using CGI to create characters, films don’t quite pull it off, but I think that it was handled beautifully, and I was intrigued by every beast that appeared on the screen.
Overall, I can’t wait until the next installment of the trilogy, and give kudos to Rowling and Warner Bros. for recapturing the magic of the universally beloved Harry Potter series.
Watch the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer below: