The wait is over, the long long wait. Finally we can be drawn back into the Wizarding World created by J.K Rowling as the cinema release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is finally here. We’ve had trailers, we’ve had teasers, we’ve even had casting releases for the sequel before the first film is released, such is the confidence in the box office pull that Harry Potter and the Wizarding World has.
Of course Harry Potter isn’t anywhere near this film, he’s not even a twinkle, even his parents aren’t born yet. Instead we follow the adventures of Newt Scamander, a delightfully charming Eddie Redmayne. He is a Magizoologist, a person who studies magical creatures and as the film begins he has come to America with a suitcase full of, well Fantastic Beasts. He has been travelling all around the world in search of different species to study and has many specimens in his magically expanding case (just wait until you see inside it).
He has arrived at a time when wizards are forced to hide from the No-Maj (non magic folk, the American equivalent of muggles). Something is terrorising the streets of New York and everyone in the American Ministry MACUSA, is convinced that one of Newt’s recently escaped creatures is to blame.
Newt teams up with Porpentina Goldstein (no spoilers who she is but those who have the original book will know her), her sister Queenie and a No-Maj called Jakob Kowalski and the four of them set out to prove that it isn’t one of the creatures to blame but something else.
I enjoyed the film from the moment it started to the satisfying yet open end. Despite being part of the children’s series this film had a much more adult feel to it given that the leading characters were adults this time rather than school children. The characters were all engaging and well developed. Newt himself was sweet and naive, genuinely caring and at ease with the creatures he had discovered and a little awkward around humans. Other than the main four characters, they were at odds with the President Seraphna Picquery who seems likeable enough but she is determined to keep wizards in hiding. There is also head Auror Graves, a charming and smooth Colin Farrell, one can never be sure who’s side he is on. We also meet some sinister No-Maj’s who are fighting to rid the world of wizards and witches. The thoroughly wicked Mary Lou Barebone and her children Modesty, an eight year old girl who constantly sings about dead witches, her older sister Chastity although we know little of her, and the son Credence who gave me the shivers, a very mysterious young man.
Then of course there are the Beasts themselves and what a wonderful array of creatures we meet in this first of five films. I’m sure there are many more to come and I’m hoping we get more dragons, although they were featured quite prominently in the Potter movies so the other creatures may get to feature more this time. However they have always been my favourite mythical creatures. But the new lineup is rich and diverse, just to name a few here. We have Frank, a glorious Thunderbird, native to America and has a very important role to play in the movie. The Niffler is adorable, he resembles a mole and is attracted to anything shiny (mainly coins and expensive jewellery). Newt has a pet Bowtruckle which is pretty much a moving green twig but it is pretty cute. There were some beautiful serpent-like creatures called Occury’s. They hatch from pure silver eggs and can grow or shrink in size to fit the available space, we see them very tiny in a teapot up to huge dragon size filling an attic in Macy’s department store. My favourite had to be the Demiguise, Dougal the Demiguise. They are said to resemble a silver gibbon or ape but to me, he reminded me of a sloth. They can make themselves invisible so are very hard to find, but we did get a glimpse of him and I adored him.
All in all I enjoyed my journey back into J.K Rowling’s world and I eagerly await the next film with great anticipation given the revealings of this first film. There is so much more to come before this film ties in with the films we already know and love, although we did have a couple of familiar names mentioned already. I already love Newt as a character and I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of Jakob, despite what happens in the film to him. I also can’t wait to see what other Beasts Newt has in store for us but I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.