…. or, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
People who know me know that I’m a bit obsessed with the Harry Potter universe. I’m pretty obvious about it – my Secret Santa in the office got me HP-themed stuff for Christmas last year.
Recently, my obsession with it has been born anew – because I watched Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Starring Eddie Redmayne (who I totally have a celebrity crush on), Fantastic Beasts is the first of a five-part film series that serves as a prequel to the events of the main Harry Potter story. The film chronicles the adventures of Newt Scamander, a British magizoologist with a suitcase full of magical creatures. He arrives in New York, and some of these creatures get loose – resulting in a whole chain of events.
Fantastic Beasts sheds light on the Wizarding World prior to the adventures of Harry and his friends – taking place in the 1920s, it occurs during the era of the rise of Grindelwald, a powerful dark wizard who plays an important role in the life of resident Yoda, Albus Dumbledore. To be fair, this film didn’t reveal much plot-wise about Grindelwald or even about Newt’s past – but it does set the stage and creates question to (hopefully) be answered in the films to come.
You don’t need to have seen the previous films or know what’s happening in the wizarding universe to enjoy and understand Fantastic Beasts (a fact that delights Sarach immensely), but if you’re a long-time fan like me, you’ll be able to catch some references and clues hidden throughout the movie.
For me, the loveliest thing about Fantastic Beasts is the acting. Eddie Redmayne does a spectacular job as the awkward, earnest Newt Scamander, who is clearly more comfortable with his beasts than with other humans. He wears his heart on his sleeve and just wants people to understand magical creatures – a rare breed of hero in the sense that he’s far softer and kinder than most.
Katherine Waterston plays Tina Goldstein, and visibly portrays how Tina chafes at her limitations and is a by-the-book cop, while Alison Sudol does an amazing job as Tina’s sister, Queenie, hiding a razor sharp mind between a vapid exterior.
Dan Fogler plays friendly Muggle (or No-Maj, in America) Jacob Kowalski, who wants nothing more than to open up his own bakery (but instead gets dragged into this magical world), and Ezra Miller wrenches our hearts open as poor orphan Credence Barebone.
The beasts featured in the film are adorably heartwarming as well – from a Niffler that manages to squeeze several pounds of jewellery into his tiny belly, to a Demiguise playing babysitter to an Occamy, the antics they get up to are hilarious. Much like the silly dog that gets stuck in a fence, or the cat that insists on following you everywhere like a stalker, the titular fantastic beasts are a sheer delight.
If you’re looking for a film to welcome December that has a mix of adventure, humour and even some romance, watch Fantastic Beasts. And if you just want to watch a handsome man run around chasing animals for two hours, that’s fine too. No judgement.