Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy adventure movie directed by David Yates, written by J.K. Rowling and stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell and many others. The film is a cinematic version of the textbook used by the students of Hogwarts.
First things first, revisiting the world of magic which was created by the Harry Potter franchise is an absolute treat as always. The visual aspect of the film is one to create some awe in the audience. A few gripes one may have had with the previous films are addressed in the film but as always, with this magical franchise, it leaves more open doors with what magic and cannot do.
Eddie Redmayne is absorbing as Newt Scamander. Unlike Harry Potter, he is not a inept hero who gets some free passes because he has friends at high places or because he has friends who are more talented than him. Newt Scamander is a very strong and capable wizard even if he might not look as much. His passion for his work, his knowledge and his spirit invite the viewer to along with him to help his cause. One might think if most people who are in his line of work were as forthcoming and had such uncompromising clarity about their goals, the cooperation from the public in general would be much higher. The main supporting cast in the film does their job well. Special mentions go to Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol for being one of the better movie romances one can see on the silver screen. Colin Farrell and Ezra Miller do their jobs in quite the convincing fashion. Even if they are not compelling enough in the opening exchanges, they do hold some weight by the time the closing sequences come around. The true stars of the film behind Eddie Redmayne are the beasts, which are indeed fantastical. The sheer imagination on display here elevated the film to a higher plane.
The moment when the parallel plots of the movie meet is quite sudden. Even though the plots intersect a few times before the climactic scenes, the lead up to the climax might feel a bit rushed. There are a few moments of poor/haphazard editing. The multiple jump cuts sprinkled along the run time might catch an audience member’s attention. J.K. Rowling’s screenplay is a joy to watch on the screen. It translates exceptionally well to the big stage. The fact that there are 4 more movies to come in this franchise might not seem like a good prospect when all is said and done. The world however exciting does not have enough material to carry 4 more 2 hour films.
This film however stands on its own two legs very well. There are nearly no callback to the Harry Potter world, which is a very refreshing change in pace from a franchise film. Armed with a compelling lead and the wonder which accompanies the world, it is a very worthy watch. The film might leave most members of the audience wanting more but I for one would ask the audience to be careful what they wish for. It might ruin the proverbial good taste if gluttony is the order of business.
OVERALL SCORE – 3.75/5