Director & Writer
David Yates & J.K. Rowling
Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrel, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Carmen Ejogo, Johnny Depp.
The Wizarding World makes a return as Newt Scamander loses track of his beasts in a 1920s New York City. With the help of two witch sisters and a No-Maj, he soon discovers a much darker threat.
Although I’m a Potter fan, I went into this film with very low expectations. However by the end of the film I was pleasantly surprised. I generally don’t like the idea of the Potter universe being re-explored because I think that the way the original series ended was satisfying enough. I can’t complain, because any expansion to this world is somewhat welcome. At least it isn’t as bad as other spin-offs. Yes, that play.
The film seems to find the right mix between the classic feel of The Wizarding World and a fresh new story. The plot of the film feels just as solid as any of the books and the American twist on magic is refreshingly different to the somewhat goofy yet charming British way of things. There are a couple of twists in the story and there are a few parts of the story that are kind of predictable. It was also interesting for the main threat to not be Voldemort for once. One of the best things about this movie is the fact that there is no novel that it is adapted from (though there is an official book, but it is more of an encyclopedia of actual beasts), so there are no angry fans complaining about the book compared to the film.
The characters are well written also, as each of the main ones have certain attributes that make them useful or interesting.
Newt: Newt Scamander is the protagonist and the owner of the ‘Fantastic Beasts’. From England, he travels to America where he acquaints himself with two sisters and a No-Maj. I feel as though when filming, they tried to make him way too wacky to be likable, but if that’s what Rowling envisioned then I can’t argue. I just imagined him as very composed when in reality he is very scatterbrained. Overall his character is great, but I don’t think Eddie Redmayne (a great actor, by the way) was right for the role.
Tina: Tina Goldstein is roped into helping Newt when he causes a kerfuffle in New York. I thought at the time that she was pretty cool, but looking back I don’t like her as much as I thought I did. Not for any particular reason, but she’s just pretty tame compared to the rest of the group. She brings the group together and is crucial when interacting with Credence. We see her be a possible love interest for Newt, but nothing really happens between them within this film, though I expect something will happen in following installments.
Jacob: Jacob Kowalski is a No-Maj (the American term for muggle) who bumps into Newt and his chaotic situation. A soon loyal sidekick to Newt and crushing on Queenie Goldstein, he is in awe of magic. He delivers a lot of the (attempted) comedy relief throughout the film. I did actually really like this character, however he seemed to be the butt of most jokes. Dan Fogler performed great in this role.
Queenie: Queenie Goldstein is Tina’s younger sister and Jacob’s love interest. She can read minds and cooks well. To be honest she was one of my favourite characters in the film. She seems very loyal and knows what to do in dangerous situations. She is very funny and a cool & interesting character. Alison Sudol makes her debut as Queenie Goldstein in this film.
Credence: Credence Barebone is a young man who is the middle child of an adopted No-Maj family. He is very shy and has a timid personality. He comes across as very sinister and mysterious, which we find out is justified as he harnesses a dark secret. He is a troubled boy who is very vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation. Tina Goldstein sees the good in him and helps him when she finds out he is being abused by his adoptive mother. Ezra Miller portrays Credence well.
The beasts that the film is named after are overshadowed in the storyline by the threat of the obsculiar that becomes apparent early on.
Overall, I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. It was satisfying to revisit the familiar world, but not a visit that was necessary. After viewing the film, I discovered that there are plans for four more installments for the Fantastic Beasts franchise. FOUR. MORE. One film was a nice nostalgia trip. But four just makes it seem like a cash grab with five films about Newt Scamander. Something I would have preferred to have would have been a film adaptation of the tales from ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ and to be honest, I really don’t care about Newt enough to warrant five films about him.
I think if you get the chance to see it, you definitely should. The visual effects are amazing and the storyline is solid, I am just being critical as a fan of the original stories.