Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Image courtesy of: sfhstalon.com

By: Laura Wetherbee

J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry has gotten even more magical with the release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which is set in the fantasy world of Harry Potter.

The main character in the first installement of the “Fantastic Beasts” series is Newt Scamander, an awkward yet funny magizoologist.  A ‘magizoologist’ is a scientist who studies magical creatures.

‘Beasts’ takes place in New York City circa 1926, where Newt has arrived to deal with a rare, magical creature.  He enters NYC carrying a suitcase full of similarly magical creatures until he runs into a No-Maj (aka non-magical) and some of his “companions” get loose.

The movie follows Newt through his adventure of finding the escaped creatures, while trying to avoid trouble with the Magical Congress of the United States of America.

The special effects in the movie are phenomenally enchanting, with identifiable creatures having magical experiences as real to the viewer as they are to the characters within the story.

Much destruction unfolds when a mysterious force begins to cause chaos throughout the city. The non-magic citizens of NYC are scared, as the wizardry world feels threatened by the prospect of exposure.  There is a surprise twist at the end, when it is revealed who/what is causing said havoc.

The movie does become quite dark when is hints at child abuse in relation to a group of adopted children whose guardian mistreats them.  Ezra Miller plays Credence Barebone in the movie, giving a passionate and powerful performance as one of the adopted children.

‘Beasts’ also reveals a new villain in the world of wizardry, a dark wizard named Gellert Grindelwald.  Grindelwald feels the No-Maj’s are holding the people with magic back, and that the people who do have magic should not have to limit themselves by hiding their gifts.

J.K Rowling announced in October Fantastic Beasts would be the first movie of a series of 5, which means this is just the beginning of the story.  Even if you are not a Potterhead you will still appreciate the film. A warning for parents however, this film does have a darker tone than the Harry Potter series and is not as child-friendly.