Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Nothing short of fantastic


courtesy of Sherri Sitler

Linganore’s Harry Potter Alliance pose with the cardboard cut-out for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them after seeing the movie at Regal West View Cinemas, Stadium 16 on November 20, 2016.

by Savannah Sitler, Reporter

With screenwriter J.K. Rowling, director David Yates, and lead Eddie Redmayne, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Fantastic Beasts) was practically guaranteed for success as soon as the idea was posed. The film was officially released internationally on November 18, 2016.

The anticipation I had endured waiting for this movie was almost unbearable. When I heard about the film via Rowling’s Twitter and the news that she herself was making it, boy, was I excited! Whenever an advertisement appeared on my TV, I would practically jump out of my seat with elation. I hadn’t been this pumped for the wizarding world since Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was released in 2011.

The story takes place in 1926, when Muggle (or rather No-Maj, the American term for non-magic folk) suspicions of the wizarding community are high. Muggles are making such an active search for the witches that the wizarding community feels that it is in grave peril. So when Newt Scamander, a magizoologist (a person who studies magical creatures) travels to New York City with a case of mysterious animals, the governing board of wizardry is quick to point fingers at Scamander for creating Muggle havoc. Scamander, though, has nothing to do with the creature that is causing mass-destruction throughout the city…

Fantastic Beasts takes viewers through a journey as Scamander dodges the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) and attempts to collect the few beasts that have escaped his enchanted case. Along the way, we watch as assorted wizards and Muggles create friendships and we start to feel sympathy for the creatures that Scamander defends from human harm.

The producers of Fantastic Beasts have taken advantage of the movie’s connection to the original Harry Potter series. This is exemplified by the use of the classic “Hedwig’s Theme” which definitely pulls at the heartstrings of devoted Harry Potter fans as it makes several short appearances throughout the whole film. Every time the song started to play, it sharpened my senses and set my nerves on edge.

The film itself (which is as unique as its Harry Potter predecessors) is insanely comical. More than a few times throughout the movie, the entire theater was caught laughing-out-loud together. If you’re going to see Fantastic Beasts make sure to look out for the Niffler! It was the biggest clown of this movie.

Yates, the director of Fantastic Beasts, also was in charge of executing the last four installments of the Harry Potter series. It is negotiable, especially among Harry Potter fans, but often it is agreed that these last few movies directed by him are the best in the series. It can patently be said that Fantastic Beasts is equally rich in aesthetic beauty as his previous works.

Yates’ crisp and sharp in detail framing in his movies looks so sleek on the screen, I feel legitimately transported to the scene. The shots in Fantastic Beasts also tend to be fairly dark (like in his Harry Potter movies), which make me feel as if something dark or villainous is soon to happen in the series.

Anyone can pick up and understand this movie easily, even if you are not knowledgeable on the girth of the Harry Potter series. Rowling does an excellent job depicting the way the wizarding world works (all over again) and opening another door to a new era of magic.

Redmayne, the actor who plays Scamander, had the successful performance throughout the movie that we all hoped for. As an Academy Award winner for Best Actor in his performance of The Theory of Everything and nominee for Best Actor in his performance of The Danish Girl, it is safe to say that he had the experience necessary to tackle the roll of Scamander. Redmayne portrayed his character with little flaw and relative ease. 

An interesting aspect of Redmayne is that he has always been famous for all of the very different leads he has played. From a transgender girl to a protagonist in a musical, he is always able to blow viewers out of the water. Redmayne is simply a Renaissance Man of Acting.

In Fantastic Beasts, Redmayne plays the comedic hero that will be the icon of this new era of wizardry. In retrospect, his role of Scamander might be one of the easiest jobs in acting he’s had yet.

Alison Sudol, a break-out actress who portrays Queenie (one of the supporting-actresses), particularly shined throughout the film. For someone who has never really performed at the level of Fantastic Beasts, Sudol certainly stole the spotlight. Before Sudol’s career in acting arose, she was a singer-songwriter under the pseudonym “A Fine Frenzy” for 10 years. Today, she is still making music. Her character Queenie, a Legilimens (or someone who can read minds), is one of the additional sources of comedy provided throughout the movie.

Pottermore recently reported that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is only the first of five movies soon to be released by Rowling in the next decade. This is good news, for the end of the movie leaves the audience wishing for more and looking forward to the continuation of the story. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, is scheduled to be released in 2018 with the same director.

Undeniably, Rowling, Yates, and Redmayne have put together another entertaining and eye-catching story for all Muggles to enjoy. With a lick and a promise, the upcoming sequels will be just as magical as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.