J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts (2016)

Photo courtesy of: Warner Bros.
by Carine Belmont

Do you need to dream for a bit, escape and take a breath of fresh air ? Don’t miss Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This film filled with magic, charm and quality will make you want to still believe in fairy tales, but here no evil dragon, animals are your friends, if you know how to treat them in the right way, of course.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tells the story of Newt Scamander, magizoologist, apparently more comfortable with animals than with his congeners. He decides to go to the United States in order to release one of his creatures in the plains of Arizona, but once arrived at New York for a brief stopover things become quite complicated. A part of his animals escape from the suitcase in which they were locked. (Don’t worry, none of the fantastic beasts was hurt during the shooting! Undetectable extension charm exists and the fantastic beasts have widely the place to stretch their legs.) Unfortunately, Newt have picked the worst time to visit because simultaneously a dark force seems to decide to create chaos in the city. Hence, amalgams are quickly made by the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Moreover, an extremist group led by a narrow-minded and sinister No-Maj (American for Muggle) plans to expose and kill wizards and witches.

As usual, J.K. Rowling masters marvellously the art of the twist. One could believe the intrigue’s obvious and easy to solve but it is quite the opposite. You will certainly be astonished by some revelations. However, contrary to the Harry Potter saga, the story is darker here. The social and political issues have a more important place and more specifically the characters do not follow the traditional binary distribution: good against evil.

You will also find the notions beloved by the author : friendship, perseverance, courage and altruism. Likewise, the main characters are all outsiders who become friends due to the circumstances and chance. Eddie Redmayne is perfect in the role of Newt, introvert magizoologist, who makes friends with an affable No-Maj, Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler), who is afraid as well as fascinated by the discovery of the existence of the magic. Meanwhile, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a former Auror of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, tries to hand Newt over the magical authorities, hoping to get back her position. Nevertheless, she quickly joins their cause and brings her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), a big-hearted Legilimens, in their wild chase. All together form a group of clumsy and insecure wizards, however, determined to end successfully their mission, making them particularly endearing.

The design of the film also gives a great asset to the story. The pre-war New-York is splendidly reconstituted and the fabulous make-up and costumes finely reflect the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties. Regarding the fantastic beasts, the special effects are excellent and the humanization of animals makes them particularly likeable. Among them, the Niffler wins unquestionably the award of the cuteness. This magic platypus adores shining objects and it will steal your heart as well as make you laugh. Also, you will discover Picket, a Bowtruckle living in the pocket of Newt’s jacket, which is Newt’s favourite (although Newt maintains he does not show favouritism).

To sum up, the Harry Potter fans will not be disappointed. They will find everything that makes the charm of the series : magic, humour, emotion, a lot of weird situation and villains more complex than they seem. However, no need to be a Harry Potter fan to go to see the film. The story is far enough from the saga to follow the plot without any issue, and if it pleases you, good news: there will be 4 more opuses!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them poster Rating: N/A/10 (N/A votes)
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling, J.K. Rowling (textbook)
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Zoë Kravitz
Runtime: 132 min
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Released: 18 Nov 2016
Plot: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Video courtesy of: Warner Bros. UK

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