Rajeev Masand’s Movie Review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

It’s been five years since Harry Potter handed over his wand, and Warner Bros is yet to find a franchise as globally successful and satisfying. The studio’s repeated attempts to create a Marvel-like cinematic universe for its DC Comics superheroes has been bumpy at best, so it’s hardly surprising that they went right back to JK Rowling to squeeze out some more magic from the Potterverse.
 
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them evokes the same childlike awe and wonder that powered the Harry Potter films. This adventure, named after a classic Hogwarts textbook, is set in 1920s America, and while there’s no sign of Harry, Ron and Hermione, and no dazzling Quidditch matches to take one’s breath away, there is still a lot to enjoy here.
 
Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, a shy wizard and writer who’s traveled the world rescuing and collecting a menagerie of enchanted creatures of every size, shape and personality. Soon after he arrives in New York, his suitcase comes into the possession of a down-on-his-luck baker, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), who accidentally releases the critters into the city.
 
Newt tries to retrieve these ‘fantastic beasts’ with help from the hapless baker, a kind but tightly wound witch-cop named Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson), and her mind-reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol).
 
Alas this chaos couldn’t have come at a worse time. Tension between the wizarding folk and the No-Maj population (or the muggles, as we know them) is mounting as a result of the increasing number of violent incidents in the city. Could these be Newt’s magical animals wreaking havoc, or the work of a dark wizard rumored to be on the loose?
 
Frankly it’s a lot to take in and some of it feels rushed through. Director David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter films, maintains a nice whimsical tone, but you can’t help wishing he’d let you spend more time in the company of such creatures as the duck-billed Niffler who has a weakness for bling; the Bowtruckle, a cross between a grasshopper and a twig; and the rhino-esque Erumpent who has a killer sense of smell.
 
Also, as endearing as Redmayne is in the role of the film’s accident-prone protagonist, he can’t evoke the instant affection you developed for the kids in the Potter films. The villains too – chief among them Colin Farrell as the head of security at the American Ministry of Magic – are stock cinematic baddies.
 
But now I’m nitpicking. Fantastic Beasts is thrilling in portions, gorgeously mounted, and teeming with imagination. Rowling, who has the written the screenplay herself, creates a fully realized world of wizardry and wonder that still somehow succeeds in looking and feeling different from the Potter world.
 
Unlike the early Potter adventures, Fantastic Beasts, the first film in an intended five-part series, is darker, and more suited for older viewers who can grasp the film’s themes of segregation and xenophobia. A subplot involving a religious crazy (Samantha Morton) who mistreats kids and hunts witches might be especially disturbing for young kids.
 
Of the cast, Redmayne hits all the right notes between awkward and heroic, but it’s Fogler as wide-eyed No-Maj Kowalski, who practically steals the film. Despite a flabby middle portion that tends to drag, this is a charming film, one that I very much enjoyed.
 
I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Yes, a franchise is born.

Did you like this blog?*
How did you find this blog?*
What kind of articles would you like to read on the blog?*
Name:*
E-mail:*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


nine × 5 =

More in Rajeev Masand

  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Secret Superstar

    Lost in her own thoughts during an English class, a distracted student is pulled up by the teacher and caned when...

    BMS EditorOctober 20, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Golmaal Again

    I suppose it’s true: film critics are entirely unreasonable people. After endlessly complaining that the last two “Golmaal” films were like...

    BMS EditorOctober 20, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Tu Hai Mera Sunday

    Cast: Barun Sobti, Shahana Goswami, Vishal Malhotra, Avinash Tiwary, Nakul Bhalla, Jay Upadhyay Director: Milind Dhaimade Sunday is just one of those days of...

    BMS EditorOctober 6, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Chef

    Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Svar Kamble, Milind Soman, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sobhita Dhulipala Director: Raja Krishna Menon As feel-good films go, Chef,...

    BMS EditorOctober 6, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of American Made

    Cast: Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones Director: Doug Liman It’s been a while since Tom...

    BMS EditorSeptember 29, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Judwaa 2

    Cast: Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Tapsee Pannu, Rajpal Yadav, Vivaan Bhatena, Upasana Singh, Anupam Kher, Sachin Khedekar, Manoj Pahwa  Director: David Dhawan Judwaa...

    BMS EditorSeptember 29, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Newton

    Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Raghubir Yadav, Anjali Patil, Mukesh Prajapati Director: Amit V Masurkar Above all things, Newton, directed by Amit Masurkar, is...

    BMS EditorSeptember 22, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Haseena Parkar

    Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Siddhant Kapoor, Ankur Bhatia Director: Apoorva Lakhia It’s bad enough that Shraddha Kapoor looks nothing like the real Haseena Parkar...

    BMS EditorSeptember 22, 2017
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Lucknow Central

    In Lucknow Central, a bunch of desperate prison inmates turn to music in the hope of securing their freedom. Surface-level similarities to Qaidi...

    BMS EditorSeptember 15, 2017

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2017 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news!
Thank You For Subscribing To Us!

Now get regular updates on the latest entertainment news and style trends.

Providing you with the best of Bollywood, Hollywood, style and more.
Get the best in entertainment, while keeping yourself entertained!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
WordPress Popup