Amazon Synopsis: There are growing dangers in the wizarding world of 1926 New York. Something mysterious is leaving a path of destruction in the streets, threatening to expose the wizarding community to the No-Majs (American for Muggles), including the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction bent on eradicating them and the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found.
Unaware of the rising tensions, Newt Scamander arrives in the city nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which are safeguarded in the magical hidden dimensions of his deceptively nondescript leather case. But potential disaster strikes when unsuspecting No-Maj Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of
Newt’s beasts loose in a city already on edge—a serious breach of the Statute of Secrecy that former Auror Tina Goldstein jumps on, seeing her chance to regain her post as an investigator. However, things take an ominous turn when Percival Graves, the enigmatic Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), casts his suspicions on both Newt…and Tina.
Now allied, Newt and Tina, together with Tina’s sister, Queenie, and their new No-Maj friend, Jacob, form a band of unlikely heroes, who must recover Newt’s missing beasts before they come to harm. But the stakes are higher than these four outsiders—now branded fugitives—ever imagined, as their mission puts them on a collision course with dark forces that could push the wizarding and No-Maj worlds to the brink of war.
Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Director: David Yates
Having grown up with Harry Potter, it was only natural I was excited about seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I’ve recently been both re-reading and re-watching Harry Potter, which meant I was in the magical frame of mind, ready to indulge some more.
I’ll say it straight up: I thoroughly enjoyed this film. There was just enough hint of danger in the first half that you knew the plot was going to go further. But even when the whole of New York was under threat, there was another theme that remained dominant: charm. This film oozed charm.
In fairness, I think that is due to the perfect casting of Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. I thought this during his performance as Stephen Hawkins and I thought it again now: I’ve not witnessed anyone pull of that innocent charm as effectively as Redmayne does. He combines boyish enthusiasm, wonder and belief in a better world in equal balance, throwing in enough magical power that you don’t doubt he can take care of a magical suitcase full of enchanted creatures. I can’t think of anyone who would have pulled it off better.
Other than Redmayne and Colin Farrell as Graves, I didn’t recognise anyone else from the cast. Katherine Waterson was alright as Tina but she didn’t blow me away. I did enjoy Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski though – his lines were delivered in such a way he gave me the giggles.
We’re going to recapture my creatures before they get hurt. They’re currently in alien terrain surrounded by the most vicious creatures on the planet: humans.
The characters were well-established and their relationships with one another grew as the film progressed, especially the attitude of wizards towards the “No-Maj” (aka Tina’s attitude towards Jacob!). Their teamwork was nothing less than what I expected from Harry Potter; everything is easier with a group of friends.
It was the creatures that stole the film for me. The effects used to create not only the beasts, but their surroundings and environments truly was magical, there is no other word for it. During the scene where Newt introduces Tina to his world, I don’t think I stopped grinning. The entire scene was beautiful; the combination of magic and innocence combining in such a way that even the dubious Tina wanted to protect the creatures. It is a message that can easily be translated into this world in regards to poaching and attitudes towards rare animals.
I have to admit, I didn’t entirely see the whole point of the plot-line with Graves and Credence other than the film needed a final battle, a bad guy to defeat and a chance for Newt to be a hero. A lot of those scenes left me creeped out: Graves’ attitude towards Credence was too much like he was grooming him. Maybe I am just reading too deeply into it?
But apart from pointless-plots, I loved this film and it will definitely be one that I shall rewatch. It had magic, humour, charm and the fight for what was right. What more could you want from a film linked to Harry Potter?