One of the most anticipated films, Fantastic Beasts (and where to find them), was our choice of film this week. The film would send us back into the wizarding world, created by J.K. Rowling, which we last saw in the 8th and final Harry Potter film in 2011.
That film, also directed by Fantastic Beasts, David Yates, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was best known for being the first book adapted film to be released in two parts, hence we had 8 films to 7 books.
This new film is only based on a J.K. Rowling book of sorts, named by Potter in the films, it’s based on a Hogwarts school textbook, Fantastic Beasts by a wizard Newt Scamander.
The textbook was released as a fun mini book to raise money for Comic Relief but now we have a film of how Newt’s journey to write the book, which Rowling herself has written.
Newt (played by Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York in 1926 with a mysterious suitcase, which we learn contains many magical creatures. We learn this when we first meet the scene-stealing Niffler, who escapes from the suitcase to find all things shiny.
This happens, when Newt is distracted by Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) who is a ‘Non-Maj‘ (the American term for non-wizarding folk, which we know best as Muggles) Mary Lou is preaching her hatred of the existence of witches, hence the distraction.
Newt noticing Niffler’s escape, quickly pursues into utter chaos in a bank with plenty of shiny objects for this creature to steal. Newt, whilst in pursuit inadvertently brings ‘Non-Maj‘ Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) into the chase. Niffler is recaptured and just as Newt goes to wipe Jacob’s memory, he manages to escape.
This sees him arrested by Porpentina ‘Tina’ Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a demoted Auror. She takes him to the president of MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) to Seraphina Piquery (Carmen Ejogo) who dismissed it as unimportant.
When Chief Auror, Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) demands to see what is in the suitcase, it contains only pastries after a mix up of cases with Jacob.
A quest is on to find the suitcase, which will only cause Newt more trouble, as it contains an Obscurus, which is MACUSA main priority of finding, as it is causing many unexplained and magical incidents including deaths!
Jacob, Tina and with the help of her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) will do all they can to help Newt prove his innocence and protect the fantastic beasts hidden within his suitcase, which will prove difficult in the magical world of New York, already in fear from Gellert Grindelwald, one of the most dangerous wizards of all time.
The film is a lot darker than the previous Potter films, confirming this as a stand alone movie. A very dark storyline of Barebone beating the children, in particular, Credence (Ezra Miller) her adopted son, who she repeatedly punishes for his misbehaviour.
The film works best when we see the Fantastic Beasts. As well as Niffler, we see Bowtruckle (Who could out cute Guardians of the Galaxy ‘Groot’); A rhino-like beast called an erumpent; the monkey like demiguise and Frank the thunderbird, who is much like a Hippogriff to name a few.
The film gives us many memorable sequences featuring these mischievous creatures, which include a sequence on an iced over pond, fun in department stores with invisible creatures and giant ones which need to get into a teapot, as well as sequences with escaped zoo animals.
We also get a great sequence in a nightclub, where we see it’s owner Gnarlack (Ron Perlman) a goblin gangster).
It is however, let down by an over the top CGI battle ending, which makes it feel like many of today’s other blockbusters. That being said we did really enjoy this and it was probably our favourite of this wizarding world since our personal favourite, Alfonso Cuaron 3rd film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The cast do well for a movie with so many special effects, that being said we found Jacob and Queenie, much better than the central characters of Newt and Tina. This is possibly because they have more fun with their roles, Redmayne and Waterston do well, but for us were less memorable. I guess in part, due to his Oscar-winning performances, we were expecting more from Redmayne.
A final word, we saw this film in 3D and it really did benefit the film, we had creatures flying from the screen into our face, if you are indecisive about it, we would recommend going for these screenings.
Did you like Fantastic Beasts? Are you glad we are getting 4 more? Who would you hope to see from the Potter Universe appear? Dumbledore is confirmed to appear in the sequel, would you want to see Harry’s parents for example? We’d love to hear from you
You can watch the trailer at the film’s website here:
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