Verdict: 4 / 5
Beyond the faulty clasp of a withered suitcase lies a fantastical adventure! Prepare to be drawn to the edge of your seat, in this Harry Potter spin off series – a 3D IMAX cinema must-see!
As Rowlings’ screenwriting debut, Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them is delightful!
In a baroque New York, city folk are being drawn to the frantic warnings of anti-magic extremist Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton). With rumours of a black poltergeist-thing terrorising the city, people are more inclined to listen as timid children hand out pamphlets for the cause in exchange for a meal.
It’s at one of these gatherings that our protagonist, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), stubbles in and loses a very mischievous creature. Redmayne portrays Newt with a charming awkwardness that invites instant endearment. Being a Brit, he doesn’t follow the strict rules set by council regarding the use of magic among no-maj (we know them as muggles). While being bemused by the magic-haters, his focus lies on finding a platypus-like kleptomaniac.
It’s hilarious! This little fellow causes quite the mess but in a turn of events introduces Newt to no-maj Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), his very unlikely new friend. Kowalski is an absolute pleasure, offering sincerity and great comic timing. His mind is enriched by all the wonders kept secret from us no-maj’s. Dan becomes the character through which the audience breathes in all the splendour and adventure.
However, breaking the rules doesn’t go unnoticed. Former Auror employee Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) sees Newt as a means to earn back her old title. Clearly, whatever got her demoted gets her immediately dismissed as her superiors are far more concerned by the darkness lurking and who’s responsible. Later, the US senator is attacked, making Newt the leading suspect with his case of exotic creatures. Being the one to identify what killed the senator, this further jeopardises his initial purpose in visiting the US.
Knowing what they are looking for, Percival Graves (Colin Farrel) lurks in the dark alleys, preying on the abused Credence (Ezra Miller) to find the source of this dark power, with false promises. Farrels’ voice seduces and comforts, which works too well for his characters purpose.
Among the beautiful creatures and enchanting habitats, the audience is all too aware of the dangers that lurk. Who is the child with this destructive power? Can Newt save his creatures and friends? And who is this Grindelwald, sounds like the US version of he who shan’t be named, or perhaps even an origin story? There are definitely a few surprises and a whimsical romance in store.
Potter fans can rest at ease. There is enough subtle mention and characteristics of the Hogwards world, yet it doesn’t completely rely on Harry Potter. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is so well-rounded it will bedazzle movie goers. Be warned, however, if you suffer from motion sickness, rather stick to 2D.