Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

If there’s one world that needs no introduction, it’s J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. And as fans rejoice the world over for the first installation of a five-part series released today, we’re happy to report that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them does not leave us wanting.

Once again making magic in the muggle world seem not only plausible but probable (one can only live in hope), Director David Yates takes the helm in delivering this newest spectacle to the big screen. Only this time there’s a new layer of mystery shadowing our expectations, with no book to guide us and no indication of where this new series is going to take us. Set far away from Britain’s Ministry of Magic and well before the time of our favourite trio of wizarding teens, who do we trust to lead us through this new adventure that will surely capture millions world wide?

Thankfully (and honestly, what did we expect) we’re in safe hands. The opening scenes introduce us to our new hero, Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander, who deftly takes us into these new waters with as much commitment as in his previous Oscar worthy roles. His Newt is a whimsical, softly spoken scientist with an iron will and weakness for exotic creatures. It’s evident from the outset he shares the same strong values for good mirrored in another spectacle wearing wizard we can think of. While shyly navigating the big new city of New York – which incidentally provides us with a fascinating new backdrop to the magical storyline – and chasing down his wayward creatures, Newt is joined by a cast well deserving of their coveted roles.

With a nearly all-adult offering elevating our much loved magical world into a more grown-up context, Rowling is free to explore darker themes hitherto barred from her earlier child-lead storytelling. There’s the creepy undertones of Colin Farrell’s ministry man Percival Graves, whose relationship with Ezra Miller’s Credence hints of seduction and abuse. Sisters Porpentina and Queenie Goldstein (Katherine Waterson and Alison Sudol) bring a lightness in their 1920’s NYC witch portrayal, and aspiring baker Jacob (Dan Fogler) links the no-maj (muggle) and wizarding communities together with bursts of humor and a brewing love story. 

Once you delve into that tattered brown suitcase and discover what can only be described as the most magical of worlds shared with us yet, there’s no doubt you’ll be under the same spell as the rest of us. Props must go to the design team behind the fantastic beasts themselves and accompanying explosions of magic let loose from start to finish. It’s viewing pleasure worthy of the famous Dumbledore vs. Voldemort battle of Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix – something we hope will be mimicked in the coming tales involving Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and none other than a young Dumbledore himself (yet to be cast).

Ensure this one is on your watch list for the weekend; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has us frozen like we’re hexed, waiting with drawn breath and hot anticipation for more.