Verdict: More action than magic.
Potterheads are very excited about the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie. After all, this is the next best thing to have happened after the Harry Potter movies. Sure, there was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but reasonable Potterheads will tell you how that book was an abomination to the Potterverse. We could all have done without it.
And now, J. K. Rowling has written yet another script, which has finally been made into a movie series. The best part about the Fantastic Beasts series is that even Potterheads do not know what is coming. With all the built-up suspense and excitement, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Part 1) may not live up to a Harry Potter fan’s massive expectations, but does not fail to impress.
Like it was revealed, Fantastic Beasts is set in the pre-Potter/Voldemort era. Gellert Grindelwald is gaining fame all over Europe for his Dark Magic practices, and his influence is rumored to have spread in the USA too. The city of New York is plagued with various Dark Magic attacks, which are being investigated by Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), an Auror working for MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA). In the midst of this mania, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has arrived in the city, carrying a suspicious briefcase. This Magizoologist brings with him a host of magical beasts from various parts of the world, all contained in the case, magically of course. But trouble starts brewing for him and the city, when some of the beasts are set loose. Moreover, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), an ex-Auror of the MACUSA, is on his tail for getting involved with a no-Maj (American for Muggle). It is now up to Newt Scamander, Tina Goldstein, the no-Maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), and Tina’s sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol), to rescue the beasts before they are captured and/or cause harm.
The first half of the movie has a number of elements from the Harry Potter movies. A throwback to a Daily Prophet-like newspaper, the music, the vintage setting, and of course, lots of magic. The second half, where the plot unravels, is more action-oriented. New York City is destroyed, the media is everywhere, the government is helpless and the heroes save the day – it’s hard to remember that this isn’t a Marvel movie.
The best part about the movie is definitely Eddie Redmayne and the relationship he shares with the magical creatures. He refers to himself as their ‘mother’, and the love between them can melt Voldemort’s heart. The plot otherwise, is fairly odd, and most characters just do not seem to have enough screen time to justify their behavior. You’d definitely want to see and know more about media magnate Henry Shaw, Sr (Jon Voight), Percival Graves, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), and golbin Gnarlack (Ron Perlman), but the movie does not give you that. Other than Redmayne, the other characters do not impress much. There is sweet bromance between Scamander and Kowalski, and a hint of romance between Scamander and Goldstein, but it seems unnecessary to the plot. The beasts are meant for a magical distraction, and the special effects do justice to their majesty. You can clearly see them from Scamander’s perspective, rather than terrifying creatures. With a little less action, and a lot more magic, this movie can certainly be what Potterheads are eagerly waiting for. Let’s hope the next four movies hit the target.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
If you are a Potterhead, you do not need a reason. But if action is your thing, Fantastic Beasts blends fantasy with it to suit your needs. Catch the movie in 3D to experience the best of the special effects.