“… the whole film has a gentle, old-fashioned feel to it … a great way to spend an afternoon!”
Since I didn’t enjoy the recently released new Harry Potter book/play as much as I’d thought I would, I didn’t have high expectations for the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I thought it would be just another cog in the franchise, yet another money-spinner for those who hold the rights. I was proved wrong and was pleasantly surprised by the film!
It is set in 1920s New York, so obviously predates the other Harry Potter movies and stories, although there are some names that are familiar. A young wizard called Newt Scamander arrives on a steam ship, and we eventually find out that he has come to America to return a rare magical bird to Arizona after having freed it from captivity in another country.
Scamander is a shy and awkward young man, but the viewer warms to him immediately because of his gentle manner, kindness and love for creatures of all sorts. He quickly gets into trouble with the local wizarding community for breaking some of their laws (which are apparently different to those in the UK and Europe), and encounters disgraced former Auror Tina Goldstein. He also befriends a muggle called Kowalski by accident, and they become an unlikely quartet when they’re joined by Tina’s sister who can read minds. Together they have to try and carry out Scamander’s task, as well as fight an evil entity and an equally nasty villain (played very well by Colin Farrell).
I don’t want to give away any more of the plot so will leave it at that except to say that the whole film has a gentle, old-fashioned feel to it and there are the usual fantastic special effects that we have come to expect from these films. Some of the magical beasts are wonderful, others a little less so, but on the whole it’s a very enjoyable movie and I especially liked Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Scamander – he is utterly brilliant and worthy of another Oscar nomination IMO!
All in all, a great way to spend an afternoon!
Pia Fenton writes contemporary romantic YA stories and her Northbrooke High series features UK heroines clashing with US heroes in an American high school setting. The fourth one in the series – New England Dreams – is out now!