Holding a mysterious leather suitcase in his hand, Newt Scamander, a young activist wizard from England, visits New York while he is on his way to Arizona. Inside his expanding suitcase hides a wide array of diverse, magical creatures that exist among us, ranging from tiny, twig-like ones, to majestic and humongous ones. It is the middle of the 20s and times are troubled since the already fragile equilibrium of secrecy between the unseen world of wizards and the ordinary or “No-Maj” people that the MACUSA Congress struggles to maintain, is at risk of being unsettled. In the meantime, the voices against wizardry keep growing with daily protests led by Mary Lou Barebone and fuelled by the increasing disasters ascribed to a dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald. At the same time, by a twist of fate, Newt’s precious suitcase will be switched with the identical one of an aspiring No-Maj baker, Jacob Kowalski, while demoted Auror, Tina Goldstein, arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard.
Walking into the theatre, we were a bit apprehensive. Rowling’s magical world is as alluring and fun as ever! but the best thing about this movie is exactly that. Exploring this world.
In the Harry Potter saga, with the exception of Deathly Hallows, most of the action was confined in Hogwarts. When we were taken out of the school, the main characters, being underage, were not allowed to do magic. The novelty in this movie is that we get to follow a fully fledged adult wizard in an entirely new environment and observe the dynamics and workings of the magical society.
Said wizard is New Scamander, a magical zoologist that travelled the world in order to find and document rare creatures, which he carries in his magical suitcase. When this suitcase gets mixed up with one that belongs to muggle Jacob, some of Newt’s creatures escape and cause problems in New York.
Eddie Redmayne shines in this movie. He plays a very clearly British, endearing and slightly awkward Newt, but the character’s kindness is obvious by the loving and friendly way that he treats his magical creatures. Dan Fogler does a great job as Jacob Kowalski, the muggle who is suddenly thrown into a world of wonder that existed beside him all along. He is the one the audience can best relate to since he mirrors our sense of marvel. Katherine Waterstone and Alison Sudol also do a good job as the two vastly different magical sisters, who aid Newt in his adventure. If we had a small gripe, it would be that the excellent Colin Farell was in our opinion underused.
All in all, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a solid and visually stunning movie that manages to achieve three things.
First, although it takes place in the Harry Potter universe, it stands apart and has its very own story, which can be enjoyed separately from that of the famous young wizard. Second, it drops quite a few hints and names, which not only tie in nicely with the stories that we know but also serve to set up the next instalments, which are rumoured to document Dumbledore’s past and connection with Grindelwald. Finally, the movie features a bustling 1926 New York, which coupled with the intriguing character dynamics, offers a brand new insight into Rowling magical world and leaves us poor muggles asking for more.
After following Harry’s adventures, many of us were left wanting to see much more of the story and luckily for us, it seems Rowling has that much more to offer. Personally, we can’t wait for the next movie, great job!
Lovers of harry potter trilogy would love this movie!