Just after Thanksgiving (yes, I know, I’m slow on getting this out), my wonderful sister took me to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film had been out for a few weeks, and we went to a matinee (honestly, the best time to go, because I could take me tea in with me), so the theater only had about a dozen or so patrons at the viewing. As we all found seats and settled down the previews played. As always, there were a few that looked promising and others seemed awful! As we sat there I wondered how this one would be. I hadn’t stayed up to date on all the media hype, prior to the film’s release. And when I thought about it, I hadn’t read the book (waits for the stammering and cursing to stop. I know, I know, I am a bad Potterhead). Would not reading the book affect how I enjoyed the movie? I was assuming so, because whenever I watch The Order of the Phoenix (my favorite Harry Potter book by far), I always get frustrated. Yates, who is a great director, made calls in the 5th film that I did not take kindly to. He cut out what I saw as vital sections book and added irrelevant pieces. Anyways this post is supposed to be about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so let’s get back on track, shall we? 😛
The film takes place during the roaring 20s, well before Harry Potter. Cinematically speaking Fantastic Beasts is breathtaking! We are put in a world that is whimsical and classic, that occasionally shows the seedy underbelly that we’ve heard about it our history lessons. Seeing New York City in the late 1920’s was great fun, buildings are getting taller and more majestic. And when we first get a glimpse into MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America) it is truly a site to behold: with shinning black, gold and white marble; moving golden statues; and golden clocks that tick as wizards and witches hurry about their day. Some of the offices at the MACUSA are dimly light and cramped, which brings an interesting contrast after seeing such a bright and majestic foyer.
Fantastic Beasts is truly a story for everyone. During the two hours and 20 minutes of this film, there is adventure, comedy, and romance. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) -an ex-Hogwarts student- and his suitcase of extraordinary creatures arrive in New York City. No sooner than Newt gets downtown one of the precocious inhabitances of the case escapes. During Newt’s comical attempted capture of the creature, he meets a No-Maj (muggle) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Through a series of events, most of which are funny, Kowalski ends up with Newts suitcase. Once back at his home Kowalski opens the case and some of the beasts’ escape. Causing destruction and mayhem on New York City. Seeing one of the creatures escape ex-Auror, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), follows the men in attempts to capture Newt and the creatures, hoping to regain her Auror status. The trio is soon joined by Tina’s sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). As the quartet runs around New York, chasing after fantastical creatures, friendships and romantic interests form.
Eddie’s performance as Newt is fun. He got to play comedic and brave hero. My sister and I laughed several times as Newt performed silly dances or did bizarre things, to coax the beasts back towards the suitcase. Dan’s performance as Jacob was defiantly more comedic that Eddie’s; but he did play the bumbling, non-magical, side-sick. Tina and Queenie are both intelligent and spunky; though they do have different ambitions. Both ladies are integral in tracking down the creatures and helping stop evil in New York City. There are serval other noteworthy appearances in Fantastic Beasts, but I don’t want to give them away. So just watch and enjoy the brilliant performances yourself.
The creatures inside (and the ones that escape) Newt’s suitcase, are truly magical! The variety of creatures Newt manages to house inside the small suitcase is incredible. In the suitcase, there are creatures of all shapes and sizes from all over the world; and Newt has a habitat for each and every one of the creatures. There are deserts, rainforests, mountains, plains, and even a snow-covered hill-side. The colors for the creatures and their habitats are amazing, with almost every color in the color spectrum. Of course, some of the creatures have more neutral color tones, but there are a few with brilliant blues, gemstone greens, and royal purples.
During the course of the film, there are sweet moments, exciting moments, and moments of laughter. Once the film was over my sister and I both agreed that it was defiantly worth the price of admission (does anyone else miss when you could go to the movies for $5 or less; I miss those days). We even harassed my sister’s husband when we got home; we had to be sure he missed a fulfilled Potterhead adventure, that was defiantly worth all the hype. 🙂