In all honesty, the recent adaptation of JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is, if you’ll pardon the pun, pure magic. Eddie Redmayne breathes life into his bumbling and bashful character Newt Scamander, exploring 1920s New York in search of some of his misplaced creatures. His co-stars Katherine Watson (Porpetina Goldstein), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Colin Farrell (Percival Graves), and Ezra Miller (Credence) are equally impressive in their portrayal of their characters.
The primary plot is intriguing and humorous, fully captivating the audience with incredible special effects that can truly make a person contemplate the existence of magic. Combined with a stunning soundtrack from James Newton Howard, it can bring even the most emotionally hardened audience to tears at the right moment, and there are many. The subplot is perhaps far more sinister than a 12A rating would suggest, linking to characters that Potter fans will recognise from the original series and tying the two worlds together. It touches on critical elements like child abuse and animal cruelty, foregrounding significant aspects of the real world that still need addressing. It was a relief to find that Queenie, blonde and beautiful, was not just the stereotype, but a well-rounded character that furthers the plot through her actions. It was also gratifying to see that the President of the Magical Congress was a black woman, and not just another old white man.
‘Redmayne was perhaps the most stunning, truly capturing the adoration and awe Scamander has for his creatures and translating it into a loveable protagonist’
Redmayne was perhaps the most stunning, truly capturing the adoration and awe Scamander has for his creatures and translating it into a loveable protagonist who cares more than anything about protecting them. The creatures themselves were visually spectacular, adding a dash of comedy into the fantasy and adventure mix. All in all, this is a magical film that deserves recognition for the incredible performances, effects and writing. Did I like the film? Well, maybe ‘just a smidge’.
(Image courtesy of All Star/Warner Bros)