Someone cast an aguamenti, because the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie is noting but pure fire…
J.K. Rowling has done it again – the all new story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his case full of creatures is exciting, fresh and simply breathtaking to watch. All the elements for success are there – from the stellar cast led by the Oscar-winning Redmayne to the visually stunning setting of the roaring 20’s in New York City. I mean (come on) it’s like Gatsby with wands! What more could you ask for?!
I’ll admit I was a little bit skeptical that Redmayne could pull off the comedy needed for the main role to balance out the seriousness of the whole thing, but boy did he prove me wrong. His character portrayal is quirky, funny and lovable – he makes anther fine addition to the Hufflepuff alumni working to clear their stereotype. It doesn’t hurt that I also want to adopt his entire magical zoo of animals. Big shout out to the digital department on this one – the beasts look amazing and they’re not the only thing. The spells are bigger and better than ever, and the effects they produce can only be described as magical.
The opening volume of this new wizarding saga jumps right in with some of the darker undertones we see from the later installments in the Potter series. Rowling’s out to make a few socially ingrained points – and the tensions surrounding the increased need for secrecy along with Gellert Grindelwald’s growing popularity are the perfect back drop to illustrate them against.
It’s not all serious, pointed social commentary though – there are plenty of laughs provided by Scamander’s newly acquired sidekick Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and the flirtatious and devious Queenie (Alison Sudol). They manage to break the tension and get a good few laughs out of us along the way (even if there no Fred and George Weasley).
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this movie and you can tell that it’s setting up for the epic story to come. My only critique? The ending was a bit too wrapped up in a pretty little bow for my liking. Without spoiling things too much – from my nerdy knowledge of the complicated spell used to put all to rights at the end, it would never work that easily. It felt a little bit like an easy out that wouldn’t require too much explaining seeing as the audience already has some experience with its effects. You can’t set up a charm to be that difficult and prone to going wrong and then use it as a quick fix when it suits you though.
All in all, one of the most enjoyable movies of the year. Fantastic Beasts definitely lives up to all the hype and is opening up a whole new era of wonderful adventures for the Potter generation going through withdrawals. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go pretend I’m in an underground speakeasy with a house elf bar tender serving me shots of giggle water…
Time: 120 mins
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