It’s finally here! This week from returning director David Yates, Warner Bros. and the world-renowned writer and creator of the wizarding world J.K. Rowling is the next amazing adventure with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Researcher Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York with a suitcase of magical creatures. On the streets, Scamander comes into contact with Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger) who is a No-Maj, which is the Americanize version of a Muggle, and they accidentally exchange cases. This doesn’t escape the attention of Statute of Secrecy agent Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) but that’s not the biggest threat.
There is something dark looming over the city that has the potential to alert everyone to the wizarding world as well as being on guard for the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald who has mysteriously disappeared!
When Jacob opens the suitcase, many of the magical creatures escape sending Newt, Jacob and Tina out into the streets to find them. Jacob meets Tina’s sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) and is taken with her as well as the magic floating all around him. Newt introduces them all to what is in the case with its treasure trove of creatures in his care.
But Percival Graves (Colin Ferrell) is the Director of Magical Security and is following his own case with the help of Credence (Ezra Miller) to find something even darker than Grindelwald. Now Newt, Jacob, Tina and Queenie must go up against the Magical Congress of the USA and dark forces that have come from two unexpected places!
Welcome to the magical world of America!
Redmayne as Newt Scamander has the attitude of a researcher with his propensity for solitude. Of course, there is the problem with understanding some of what he says but I’m sure I’ll catch it on the second go-round. Beginning a new J.K. Rowling’s series is a daunting task in itself and carrying the lead role would definitely make me a tad jittery. Newt may be a tad closed off but when he is among his magical creatures it is a whole different side of this character that is heartwarming and protective.
Waterston as Tina is obsessive about the wizarding laws and because of a mistake has been demoted to basically a paper pusher. That doesn’t stop her when she suspects that Newt might be the reason for the shake-up of the city. Her rigid beliefs become less so once she sees her world from another’s perspective. Waterston does a fine job.
Folger as Jacob is endearing, funny, cute, curious and even though shows a bit of fear it doesn’t really stop him from accepting what is around him. I love the fact that he is all in even if he is unsure about what is happening. Folger has classic facial expressions and doesn’t hesitate to use every one of them! The chemistry between Jacob and Queenie is so cute that it sent shockwaves of “awwwwwwww” through the theater. Sudol as Queenie is lovely, sweet, squeaky adorable and perfect for Jacob. Being the total opposite of her very tense sister, Sudol gives Queenie a free-spiritedness that is totally refreshing in the film.
Ferrell as Graves may have an important position in the Magical Congress but he is totally working outside of his position. The darkness oozes off this character and Ferrell gives it the right amount of intensity for his big reveal! Miller as Credence definitely has this role down to perfection. As a young man being abused both mentally and physically, it does not surprise me that Miller shines in the portrayal of this character.
The cast also includes Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone, Jon Voight as Henry Shaw, Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery, Jenn Murray as Chastity, Faith Blagrove as Modesty, and Ron Perlman as Gnarlak. Look out for a special appearance by Johnny Depp!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” four tubs of popcorn out of five. I mean come one, did you really think I would give it any less? This is a great introduction of new characters and it doesn’t take a Headmaster to pick out familiar items, names and spells that brought the screening audience to giggles.
There are magical animals that are brilliantly done, the storyline moves smoothly along with action and adventure that bring a new set of secrets to be explored. J.K Rowling’s takes us back to 1926 New York which is decades before Harry Potter is even born so it will be interesting to see how she brings the story along and up to our 2001 introduction to The Boy Who Lived.
It can easily be said that this film will be hugely successful and mainly because those who love the Harry Potter books and films were seriously sad when it all came to an end in 2011 with “Harry Potter” and the “Deathly Hallows.” If the excitement of the screening audience is any indication of its success, I hope they’ve already begun shooting the next installment!
Everything about the film is well done and with the return of director David Yates who is an expert of the magic world is probably seemed a homecoming for him. He directed the final four films “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” in 2007, “Harry Potter and the “Half-Blood Prince” in 2009, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” in 2010 and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” in 2011 so Yates gave us everything we missed.
In the end — J.K. Rowling invites you to a new era of the wizarding world!