Spoiler Free Mini Review of #FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem #HarryPotter
I don't care how lame it is, I can't exactly become any more uncool with my love of all things geek, but I am definitely a very big Potterhead. Despite the awful acting in the first few films, the deviations from the books and the subsequent and imminent releases even after Rowling categorically announcing seemingly every other week that she'll stop, I adore the intricately designed parallel magical universe which I have often found myself longing to be a part of.
That said, it is always with trepidation that I receive the news of an upcoming Potter release. Much like my nervousness at Disney acquiring the Star Wars license, I'm always very conscious that the team responsible may eventually ruin something which has such a deep place in mine and many other's multi-generation spanning hearts, shamelessly churning out the releases as some kind of cash Hippogriff.
Luckily, as with The Force Awakens, I don't feel this is the case with Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find them.
Fantastic Beasts is a text book about magical creatures in the Potter world, and this film tells the story of the author, Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne from The Theory Of Everything/Les Miserables) as he makes a brief stopover in New York City, in an effort to return a rather fantastic, Fantastic Beast to his natural habitat. On the way, Newt is spotted by a member of the American version of the Ministry of Magic, and as you can imagine, things don't go quite according to his plan.
The cast all make a sterling effort in their performance; in particular I liked Eddie Redmayne's social awkwardness when not dealing with magical creatures, which is just what I would expect for someone preferring the company of animals to humans. Colin Farrell also makes an excellent baddy, with a domineering and scary nature coming through without being unnecessarily loud or irrational.
The story progresses very slowly at first, but I found myself quite happily trundling along through the wizarding world astonished by almost anything and everything on screen. The fact that the story pales in significance because of the sheer believability of the magical America in which Newt finds himself, is a real testament to the design and effects teams. Even the creatures, though definitely fantastic, never seem too outlandish.
As the story progresses, we uncover a secondary and more sinister plot involving the exposure of wizarding kind to the non-maj's (American wizarding slang for muggle) revealing once again a darker side to magical life.
The story then get's very involving very quickly and several times I found myself gawping, as the pace kept ramping up towards an excellent conclusion. There are many feel good, frightening, jumpy and joyful moments throughout the film, and it has enough variety to keep both adults, children; fans and newbies interested for the duration. I also adore the soundtrack, with little motifs paying homage to the original Williams' score, but being an excellent arrangement of compositions in it's own right.
I would therefore highly recommend you go and see Fantastic Beasts either as a Potter fan, or just a fan of good fantasy films.
Thanks for reading!