Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has, perhaps, the loftiest bar to reach when it comes to blockbusters this year. Not only has it got to appease an already rabid fan base (myself included) but it has to establish a whole new era with bright-eyed new characters in place of old favourites. On top of this, with five more films already announced, the movie has to sew seeds of narrative, sprinkled within the wonder, that can bloom into an epic series. It’s exhausting just thinking about the hoops that the brand new movie would have to jump through but in J.K. Rowling we trust.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them revolves around Newt Scamander as he brings live creatures to New York and promptly loses them. Welp! With an America more secretive about their magical ways, it’s a race against time to find them again. Unfortunately, an unwitting No-Maj named Jacob infiltrates Newt’s life alongside auror Porpentina. It’s a race against time before wizards are exposed, can they collect all the beasts?
In many ways, Harry Potter alumni director David Yates and Rowling deliver. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fantastical romp that seizes you from the beginning and immerses you back into the Wizarding World once more. With colourful and adorable creatures that populate the screen and magic returning to our little palpable hearts beating furiously in excitement, Fantastic Beasts is an enchanting and spectacular imaginative feast. The phenomenal CGI titular creatures that rampage across this roaring 20’s era is a gift to your wildest and most creative dreams.
As Scamander, Eddie Redmayne embodies his usual offense of awkward charm that isn’t quite a triumphant hero but he doesn’t need to be. He is a massive loveable rogue who just wants to protect different species. He’s the wizarding equivalent of Dr. Dolittle and an instantly invigorating character that, helped by Redmayne’s Academy Award winning talent, whisks you into this journey.
Katherine Waterston and Colin Farrell play notable and great characters but Dan Fogler’s No-Maj (Muggle) Jacob is really the standout character. For a supposedly secondary character, Foglersteals every scene he is in with a whimsical naturalism and great comedic timing. He is endearing yet rambunctious, brave yet sweet, and is the pure affectionate reflection of our childhood reverie. Fogler is just splendid here.
There are just a few quibbles (and no, they aren’t magical creatures.) When you cast a truly superb actor such as Ezra Miller who can develop any character with an engaging charisma, you don’t give him a character so underused in the plot . Miller is great but Credence is not, and one hopes he isn’t just wasted in the mix here.
Added to this is the usual set-up tedium that over-stretches the plot trying desperately to ease you in by throwing so much at you. There’s just that ache of too much going on that winds up being somewhat tedious in places.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an entertaining romp, nonetheless, and you’ll be swept up in sensational elements and riveting characters who’ll hopefully will get more screen time and development over the course of the series. With a foundation as great as this, the upcoming saga will be truly stupendous.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out 18th November!