'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them' film review
I'd like you to do a bit of visualisation for me. It was a Friday lunchtime, I had no lectures and my impulse control to wait for the weekend to watch 'Fantastic Beasts' with my family had gone. I embarked on a visit to the cinema alone like the hermit I am and aside from two, yes two people, I was alone in the screen. I had the whole thing virtually to myself. Crying at the incorporation of 'Hedwig's Theme' in the opening credits is allowed when there's no-one around to judge you. All the love I have for these books, these films and the world of 'Harry Potter' came flooding back and hit me like a ton of bricks. So there I was, in a cinema, sobbing my heart out in front of two people and the image of Eddie Redmayne.
Those little pangs of nostalgia yet promise and delivery of something new from the Potter universe made this film special. 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them', based upon JK Rowling's 2001 book for Comic Relief of the same title, follows magical zoologist Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne, as he travels to New York City in 1926. In Newt's possession is a suitcase filled with magical creatures, and when some escape, Newt is caught up in the struggle to capture them as well as an ongoing conflict about the exposure of the wizarding world. I was sceptical going into this film after the disappointment of 'The Cursed Child' but I was beautifully corrected.
'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them' is a wonderfully crafted film. I liked the story a lot and the beasts were, well, fantastic. The CGI used was brilliant and the beasts fit within the realism of the film but were surreal enough to keep that otherworldly magical element to them. My favourite by far was the jewellery and money obsessed Niffler, and by the end of the film, I wanted twenty of them. Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander was the real hero of this tale though; I have never seen a character with such pure and noble intentions. By the end of 'Fantastic Beasts', I would have given my left leg to ensure Newt's protection. Eddie Redmayne was great in this role and he expertly portrayed the depth of love that Newt has for the creatures in his care.
I liked the supporting cast in this story also. Dan Fogler was great as Jacob Kowalski and it was nice to incorporate a non-magical human more deeply into the 'Harry Potter' universe. He was funny yet sweet and his dream of opening a bakery in memory of his grandmother really made me smile. Colin Farrell was superb in this film, and kudos needs to go towards Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol as Tina and Queenie Goldstein respectively. Each character had a role to play and I never felt that someone was out of place in a scene. Ezra Miller was also excellent and the themes that were dealt with through his character were dark, particularly abuse. It is on the whole, however, a rather charming film and there is a particular scene where Newt shows Jacob all the creatures in his suitcase that felt particularly magical and enchanting.
There was a lot of classic JK Rowling style humour similar to her books, and you could hear it in the dialogue. I found myself laughing frequently and there were enough name-drops and nostalgia inducing moments to appease the 'Harry Potter' fan in me but it felt new and fresh and it brought a depth to the world of magic that I adored and can't wait to see more of.