The new Harry Potter spin-off, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, delves into a new corner of the Wizarding World, offering a fresh take on the Harry Potter universe that so many of us grew up in.
The film starts off with a series of American wizarding newspapers, all with headlines on Grindelwald’s rise to power and rising anti-wizard sentiment. Then, it follows the hijinks of Newt Scamander, a British wizard with a passion for magical animals, as he enters 1920’s New York City.
The film is aesthetically great, and the its CGI is on par with that of the original Harry Potter series; beautifully enchanting.
Eddie Redmayne delivered a fabulous performance as Newt Scamander, and his costar Tina (Katherine Waterston) played off him beautifully. Between the two of them, they further showed the diversity of people and beliefs that are present in the magical world, creating an eye opening culture clash. The movie also didn’t force a romantic relationship between the two of them, instead relegating that to a subplot between Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol), a wonderful act of cinematic maturity. Also this film returned to one of the darker themes found in the original series, child abuse, with more depth and all the seriousness it’s due, showing that the film series is growing up with the people who first enjoyed it.
However, the plot lacks unity. There are severals subplots that the film entertains, all of which are interesting, but the movie moves too quickly to ever get enraptured in any one of them.
Overall, Fantastic Beasts is a great film for people who already adore the Harry Potter series, but if you’re uninitiated, or are looking for a definitive plot, you may want to look elsewhere.