“Return to the Wizarding World”
When the lights go down and the iconic music starts the feeling of being back in the magical universe of Harry Potter will sink in and it feels good to be back. J K Rowling built an amazing universe around the character of Harry Potter and it is really intriguing to see what she can come up with, now with the extended universe and the history of the Wizarding world. Unlike other prequel style movies Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them does not try and force the nostalgia on the audience, there are some mentions of characters from the original series but they are more as Easter Eggs rather than nostalgia play.
The film takes place approximately 70 years before the Harry Potter series and tells the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he travels to New York City in an effort to gain knowledge about magical creatures. Along the way some of his creatures escape and Newt must work with a Witch called Tina (Katherine Waterson), her sister Queenie (Allison Sudol) and No-Maj (American for Muggle)(Dan Fogler) to re-capture them all. At the time the tensions between the Wizarding world and the human world grows as a mysterious beast looms throughout New York.
This story was not what I had expected based on the name and the book it was inspired by but the story is still enjoyable. Something that felt very different about this movie is that the Harry Potter series was a black and white, a story of good and evil. This movie introduces a greyer element to the world with a different type of initial villain, followed with an underlying big bad.
Given the title you would expect to see Fantastic Beasts and that is one of the best elements of the movie. There are several great scenes where the audience can learn about all the different types of magical creatures that exist in the universe and see them interact inside of Newts briefcase. Eddie Redmayne’s best scenes are when he is interacting with the animals as you can see the passion he has for the creatures he cares for, but he becomes incredibly awkward and anti-social when dealing with other humans. This was probably a character decision but at the same time it can be uncomfortable to watch.
Fantastic Beast was an interesting return to the Wizarding world and whilst it was not the direction I would have chosen, it still is a fun movie and a great reminder of that there is a whole magic world outside of Hogwarts. If you are a fan of Harry Potter or even if you enjoy the movies you should check this out as it is a fun return to the world.
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them scores 75%