Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Colin Farrell.
JK Rowling’s first foray into screenwriting sees young, magizooligist, Newt Scamander journey to the bustling streets of New York. When he accidentally switches his case with no-maj (muggle) Jacob, his magical beasts are let loose around the city. Teaming up with the Goldstein sisters; Tina and Queenie, Newt must retrieve his fantastic beasts before they reveal the wizarding world to the no-maj’s. But with the rise of attacks by spreading across the world, this may be more difficult for Newt and co.
I seriously debated not writing this review because I don’t know whether I can do it justice. As a hardcore Harry Potter fan you can say that I was a little bit excited at the prospect of this film. As a proud Hufflepuff I was ecstatic with the prospect of this film.
Eddie Redmayne was the perfect casting choice for Newt. As one of my favourite actors over the past few years, he pulls off quirky and weird well, whilst also having an air of mystery and sincerely sweet. As a clear outsider and oddball, he comes across as a character that doesn’t have many friends – apart from his creatures of course. But what I loved most about him is that when he does form friendships, he is fiercely protective.
His co-stars really hold their own. Dan Fogler plays no-maj, Jacob, with such a simple humour, but really stood out when he needed to. As the real ‘outsider’ to the group, at times I forgot that he couldn’t do magic. Katherine Waterston’s performance has to be one of my favourites as Tina Goldstein. Without spoiling it, there is a scene between her and Newt in MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) that really cut into my heart. As for Alison Sudol, who plays sister Queenie, she is probably the most misunderstood character of them all. With the impression that she’s quite ditzy initially, Queenie has a moment halfway through the film where she shows her strength and cunningness in order to save her friends.
Now I can’t write a review about Fantastic Beasts without talking about their fantastic magical creatures can I? The Niffler, Pickett the Bowtruckle, Fred the Thunderbird, the Erumpent…I could go on and on. Each creature was cleverly constructed and had it’s own unique personality that you really felt that they could be real.
One thing I can immediately see with this franchise, in comparison to Harry Potter, is that they’re going to be a lot darker. The film starts off with a rolling newspaper reel broadcasting the ongoing attacks by Gellert Grindelwald, one of the darkest wizards of all time. This sinister theme runs throughout the whole film as we are thrown into what feels like the start of a long and brutal wizarding war.
The plot was slow in places, it took a bit of time to really get going, but once it did it flew at a pace. The 133 minute run time whizzed by as we were whisked along in the foursome’s adventure. There was the perfect mixture of light and dark, parallel to the Harry Potter series. There are moments of pure humour, intense fear and utter heartbreak throughout. One of the final moments of this film, when everything comes to a head, is possibly one of the most intense and poignant moments that JK Rowling has ever written. There, I said it.
I have to mention the music. As those close to me will know, film soundtracks are one of my favourite parts of a film. When I heard that James Newton Howard was returning to write the score for Fantastic Beasts, having already worked on my other favourite franchise ‘The Hunger Games’, I knew we were in safe hands. The music is perfect for this film, hitting the highs and the lows of the journey that the film takes us on. I have to admit that I am actually listening to it whilst writing this!
My manager convinced me to go and watch it in 3D, and I’m so glad I did. It makes the whole experience more magical, fully immersing yourself into the wizarding world, with flying objects jumping out of the screen at every moment. My Mum even kept reaching out to try and touch things! If you are yet to see this film I would highly recommend the 3D experience, it’s well worth the money you pay.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is in cinemas now.