What’s it about?
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a spin off story from the popular Harry Potter franchise by J.K.Rowling.
Set in 1926, it is the story of Newt Scamander, a magical zoologist who arrives in New York with a briefcase full of magical creatures. Due to a series of unfortunate events these creatures get loose in the city and he has to catch them all before they hurt people or get hurt themselves.Meanwhile, a mysterious entity shrouded in darkness is wreaking havoc across the city and the magical community live in constant fear,suspecting this to be the work of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, who believes in enslaving the non magical community for the greater good. Newt’s journey of capturing all the escaped beasts, and in the process, solving the mystery behind this dark entity makes up for the rest of this magical adventure.
Unlike the Harry Potter films, this film is not adapted off a book, but is an original story. This makes the film feel more complete, as time is taken to develop the characters in detail. As this film is set in New York, the viewer is introduced to the day to day lives of the magical community in America, and how different it is from the British magical community that Harry Potter fans are familiar with. Also, the film has an array of fascinating beasts which have personalities of their own, some adorable and some intimidating.
Thematically, this film is noticeably darker than the Harry Potter films. It touches on themes like oppression, xenophobia and bullying to name a few, some of which seem relevant to the times we live in now. It is safe to say that this is more of an adult film than a children’s one.
As expected, the VFX is state-of-the-art, as there is a seamless meshing of magic and reality in every frame.The art design also needs special mention, as 1926 New York, from the streets to the bakeries to even a goblin speakeasy, is beautifully reconstructed.
There is a sequence in the zoo involving Newt dancing around one of the magical creatures which seems forced into the film, mainly for comic relief, but it does not take away from the overall experience. David Yates’s direction also feels bland at certain times,but other than that, there is not much wrong with the film.
This is a more VFX heavy adventure sort of film where the big action set pieces take centerstage, which leaves little scope for the actors to emote. Still, the performances in the film are uniformly good.Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander as a likable introvert, someone who is socially awkward and prefers the company of animals rather than that of humans. Dan Fogler’s Kowalski starts off as a comic relief, but ends up as one of the emotional cores of the film. Katherine Waterston’s portrayal of Tina, a disgraced auror, is full of grace, vulnerability and resilience. Colin Farrell gives a nuanced performance, but feels underutilized till the third act. Rest of the cast are adequate in the limited roles they have.
An excellent re-introduction to the magical world of J.K.Rowling, this magical adventure is one of the best films of the franchise.
4 / 5 stars