Hello everyone! I know that I’m a little behind right now but now that I have time, let’s get to some new reviews!
In one way or another, we all remember the first time that we watched a Harry Potter movie for the first time. From there, you are hooked into this magical escape from our world into a wizarding world of wonder. The Harry Potter film series dominated the box-office for nearly a decade with eight movies. While it was sad to see the series end, there is always another avenue to look at a world and that’s from a new perspective. That’s where the prequel comes in and the Harry Potter film services found new life with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
This prequel takes place in the 1920’s and, instead of being across the pond, this film takes place in New York in America. British wizard, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), comes to New York along with a case full of magical creatures under his protection. When one of the creatures gets loose in a bank, Scamander crosses paths with aspiring baker and No-Maj (the american equivalent to Muggle), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). From there, we are entered into the Wizarding world of America when demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for the unintentional release of several creatures. Along with Tina’s sister, Queenie, the heroes work to recover the lost monsters in the big city but also contend with a dark threat that seeks to expose the world to the existence of wizards.
Overall, the film is not as strong as the previous Harry Potter films but just as enjoyable and very different. It starts with the setting being in America and there is an obvious difference between the two when it comes to those that possess magic. While those in England walk freely around, in America, those with magical powers live in hiding, governed by laws that are designed to “protect them”. But their presence does not go unnoticed. A non-magical woman by the name of Mary Lou Barebone preaches to many people that wizards and witches walk among the non-magical and a danger to them. American wizards are also forbidden to marry or even interact with No-Majs, an situation audiences confront throughout the film but is more of a problem with two of our main characters.
Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne did a great portrayal of Newt, the eccentric magizoologist. Newt has a strong bond with the creatures in his case, getting along with them better than with other people. This even includes his fellow wizards, being highly introverted. I would definitely be interested to learning more about the future author of one of Harry Potter’s textbooks. Queenie, played by Alison Sudol, was a surprising favorite character for me. The beautiful Legilimens (a wizard who is able to extract feelings and memories from another person’s mind) had a contagious energy about her and you couldn’t find a reason to not like her. Queenie was free-spirited and big hearted, just an all around lovable character. Colin Farrell’s character, Auror Percival Graves was a welcomed addition to the Harry Potter film family, commanding his character with power and the experience of his years as an actor, looking comfortable as the protector of the wizards of New York. Ezra Miller’s character, while important, did annoy me with his meekness but his relationship with Graves did add to his mystery.
David Yates, veteran director of the Harry Potter films, returned to helm this new film and his experience definitely assisted in bringing this different aspect of the Wizarding world but this was more about J.K. Rowling, As one of the many fans who bought the original screenplay for this film, Rowling did a wonderful job, integrating humor into this story but she did more than that. Over the years, Rowling has faced her share of critics and those who believe the reading of wizards and magic, even fictional ones, are corrupting today’s youth and leading to the practice of witchcraft. In this film, she directly answered back to those critics of her successful work and characters. I don’t think I have to tell Harry Potter fans to see this movie but this would also be a good film for those new to the series to start.