70 years before Harry Potter was born, there was a new hero. Newt Scamander collects magical creatures, which he keeps in his enchanted suitcase. But when he arrives in New York, he meets Tina, an ex-auror determined to catch him and hand him in to get her position back. Yet when Newt accidentally swaps suitcases with a No-Maj who accidentally allows some creatures to escape, everything suddenly takes on a whole new level of complicated.
Especially when Newt’s beasts aren’t the only creatures causing havoc.
JK Rowling strikes again with this gripping film. From the effects to the set to the actors, Warner Bros has mastered it all. The beasts are all incredible realistic and the methods of capturing them are ingenious. Despite the plot being admittedly weaker than the original Harry Potter’s, it’s still gripping and includes some brilliant plot twists, keeping you on tenterhooks from the hilarious beginning all the way up to the tear-jerking ending. The basic plot-line, that Newt’s creatures escape into the city, creating havoc, and have to be recaptured, is supplemented with a dark subplot involving a dark, explosive force that wrecks havoc on the city and provides the film’s special-effects laden finale. As the film weaves the two plot lines, the visuals switch between a lighthearted, classic Bugsy Malone 1930’s New York and the darker, whichcraft-laden Amish-like community of a troubled boy, portrayed as if straight out of a Stephen King novel. The interweaving of these two narratives effectively switches the mood back and forth between light comedy and dark tension and keeps the viewer engaged. The ending provided closure to the two plot lines, but left the door open for Newt’s inevitable return.
Eddie Redmayne does a superb performance of the slightly geeky British Newt, rather unexpectedly playing him in a style that is extremely reminiscent of his portrayal of the young Stephen Hawking, while Dan Fogler’s comedy Non-Maj sidekick Jacob Kowalski was simply hilarious and, indeed, hilariously simple. The women Tina and Queenie (Katherine Waterston and Fine Frenzy) were brilliant as well, and Jonny Depp’s cameo was definitely appreciated, though the best actor was definitely the niffler who’s jewellery-stealing skills and cuteness completely stole the show.
Speaking of the niffler, all the beasts were fantastic and incredibly realistic, from the tiny bowtruckle with separation issues, right through to the huge thunderbird. Not only were they all true to the original Harry Potter books and well thought-out, some of the methods of capturing them were hugely entertaining. Whoever thought of using a teapot deserves a pat on the back.
Despite one slightly predictable plot twist and a slightly less clever and well thought out plot than we were expecting from JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them was brilliant, and I recommend it to everyone, whether you’re an adult who’s “too grown up” or a massive teenage fan. Can’t wait for the next one!
Definitely a five star film