FANTASTIC BEAST AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
REVIEW: As a true Harry Potter fan, I headed out to see this film knowing that anything that J.K. Rowling has written, must be good and I wasn’t disappointed. Right off the bat the opening will get your blood pumping, things exploding, someone escaping, pure terroristic acts…. That’s only the opening scene. Our story begins as writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) comes to New York to complete his global research expedition and misplaces some of the amazing beasts who live in his suitcase. I must admit that to me, wizarding anywhere other than the beautiful, mesmerizing and yes, magical English country side just is not the same but I guess that might be because I’m a closet Anglophile. They pulled it off but I’m partial to Hogwarts.
Newt has this aura of wholesome awkwardness as he finds himself accidently embroiled in the political tensions surrounding the American magical community. Wizards and witches are in disagreement as to how they should interact with muggles or as they are called in New York, Nomags. Get it? Nomag, no magic? Mr. Redmayne’s performance excellently carries this movie as the lead character. Immediately, I was happily surprised with the realistic portrayal of New York in the 1920s. The attitudes of the time, the clothes, hairstyles and especially the speech. The special effects, cinematography were amazing but would you expect anything less from a J.K. Rowling film? As Newt attempts to corral his little beasts, he comes into contact with Mr. Kowalski, an unassuming aspiring baker, and not to mention, muggle, I mean nomag, down on his luck. Kowalski does not know what is going to hit him but it will change his life in many ways after a little suitcase mix-up.
The cast was chosen perfectly for the roles they were given. Tina (Katherine Waterston) as demoted Magic detective of sorts, is this melancholy, girl in the wrong place at the wrong time, wait or is that wrong place at the right time… anyhow, she plays lost and curious quite well. The boys end up hiding out at the apartment Tina shares with her sister Queenie (Allison Sudol), while Tina tries to figure out what to do with them next. Speaking of Queenie, wow, I loved that she had the perfect dialect, affect and look of what was then called a “Jazz baby”. I really enjoyed her character. There are quite a few excellent actors such as Colin Farrell as Detective Graves, Jon Voight as Mr. Shaw, as powerful newspaper owner, Ezra Miller as abused adoptee Credence Barebone and many others. There are a few interesting cameos such as Zoe Kravits as Ms. Lestrange, but wait until the end of the movie for a surprising cameo. I can’t believe I haven’t even mentioned the beasts yet! The beasts as in any Rowling film are amazing and Newts care for them is endearing. He desires to show the wizarding world that they are meant to be loved and protected come naturally. If you are truly a Potter fan, then you should recognize Newt’s name and the title of this film as one the books Harry reads at Hogwarts 70 some odd years later. There is action, mystery, comedy, charm and even a little love story so I would say there is something for everyone. Cine Marcos said it precisely; when he stated that this is a Harry Potter for grownups.
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