While I enjoy the Harry Potter franchise, I am not at the level of a super fan who has read all the books, seen all the films repeatedly and knows all the lore of that world. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a film that has now given me added appreciation and more love for the world JK Rowling has created. The film is beautiful, sweet, magical and layered.
It is so layered and full of Easter Eggs, it bears not just repeat viewing but inspires one to go back to the Harry Potter books and films and online “wikis”| to appreciate everything going on in this film.
Where to begin with the things that work so well in this film?
First of all, there’s the main cast: Academy award winning actor Eddie Redmayne who plays magizoologist Newt Scamander, shy, scholarly, a bit of an outsider but utterly passionate about the “fantastical beasts” he appreciates and so wishes to protect; Katherine Waterston as Porpentina Goldstein, an auror with the Magical Congress of the United States of America ; Allison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein; and Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, a “no-maj” who joins the three on the adventure. They were all excellent and the chemistry was absolutely endearing.
Then there’s the setting—New York in 1926 and the fabulous and legendary Colleen Atwood in charge of the era’s costumes. Her resume is impressive—and she’s been a frequent collaborator on the Tim Burton – Johnny Depp films since 1990 and her most recent work before this was the Miss Peregrine movie.
The story written by JK Rowling herself once again roots the film in very human emotions and experiences while allowing viewers to dream and imagine more by putting in that element of magic we know and love from her unique wizarding world. The film is also in the very apt hands of director David Yates who directed the last four Harry Potter films.
And what would this movie be without its “fantastic beasts?” You get to see plenty—like the grand thunderbird, the occamy, the demiguise, the bowtruckle, erumpent and my personal favorite, the mischievous black niffler. The creature design and effects department did an outstanding job bringing them to life.
We’ll get to see something both fantastic and foreboding and angry and sad as well: an obscurus.
On top of that—Colin Farrell is in there too, and Ezra Miller (who we’re all looking forward to seeing as Flash) and surprise—Johnny Depp is now also part of the Harry Potter universe as Gellert Grindelwald.
So now, we’re set for a five-film franchise with an arc that wraps up in the year 1945. What a start it is off to.