#REVIEW: “FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Back in 2011, the world said goodbye to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. However fast-forward five years and there is a new play based on the beloved wizard and this new Franchise entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As someone who self identifies as a no-maj or a muggle, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is still pretty great as it appeases the casual fans of the Franchise, while die-hard fans will certainly fall in love all over again.
This new entry is directed by David Yates, who directed the last few Potter Films and penned by none other than J.K Rowling herself. There is certainly something special about this new branch, and for the first installment it certainly sets-up a lot of hope for the future.
The Movie starts off with Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) investigating a house in New York that has mysteriously fallen apart and then a beast wrecks havoc throughout the city. Percival works for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) which is meant to protect the no-majs from realizing there is magic in the world. The Movie then progresses to introduce us to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York City, and him being caught in the middle of a protest against wizards while one of his fantastic creatures escapes his briefcase. This brings Newt on a quiet adventure that leads him to struggling baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), who discovers that wizarding is real and accidentally switches briefcases with Newt which leads to his fantastic beasts escaping. Shortly after this encounter, Newt meets the mysterious and enchanting Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) who works for a department within MACUSA. Upon discovering that Newt is a student of Hogwarts, who has jeopardized the sanctity of wizardry within New York, Popentina takes Newt to the highest order of MACUSA to be dealt with, but they unfortunately have higher priorities. This leaves Porpentina no choice but to take Newt and Jacob back to her house, with her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) for everyone’s protection.
There is also a secondary story that takes place throughout the Movie that involves Percival Graves enlisting the help of Credence (Ezra Miller) to find the Obscurus. When a wizard doesn’t harness their power, it transforms into an obscurus, which is an incredibly strong entity which can wipe out buildings and eliminate people without ever being seen. This story seemingly ties into the overarching story of Gellert Grindlewald who is the dark wizard who proves to be a menace for Newt and wizards in general.
The performances from the cast are what truly shine here with the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller and Alison Sudol, the ensemble work together like a well-oiled machine. Moreover though, it is the finely-crafted story which engages us.
Lastly, if you’re a no-maj/muggle like myself, there is plenty to enjoy throughout the Film and undoubtedly the forthcoming installments, but if you’re truly a wizarding fan, then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will have you chomping at the bit for more!
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM in theatres on Friday, November 18th, 2016.