Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on opening night was just as magical as anticipated. The film is set seventy years before Harry Potter’s arrival at Hogwarts and follows the exciting story of Newt Scamander when his magical creatures are loose in New York, 1926.
The film was produced by the legendary David Heyman who produced the Harry Potter films. It is based on a book written by J. K. Rowling in 2001: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ one of Harry Potter’s course textbooks in the franchise.
Eddie Redmayne portrays Newt Scamander as a charming, kind and bumbling Professor figure who specialises in the care of magical creatures. Newt will do anything to try and convince the public of the beneficial effects of these creatures but accidentally sets some of these bizarre creatures loose, risking the exposure of the magical world.
Some of the elements that made this film a success for me was the gripping storyline, the comedy about the differences in magical education between England and America and the mise en scene of 1926 New York. There were familiar moments to those who grew up in the world of Harry Potter such as the use of spells, mention of creatures and the all famous Albus Dumbledore. The immense nature of the American Ministry of Magic is portrayed fantastically in the film with the memorable elevators that speed in every direction.
Katherine Waterson played Porpentina Goldstein, a member of The Magical Congress of the United States, demoted from her role of auror. She assists Newt in his adventures and they form a charming bond as the plot unfolds. A hilarious No-Maj (no magic, what English wizards call a Muggle) gets involved in the plot and learns about the magical world. It was brilliant to see a film from a ‘muggle’s’ perspective as we in the audience often mirrored his reactions at the fantastic beasts we saw before us.
The film is fairly long with a total running time of 2 hrs 13 mins, so if you’re not a watcher of long films where you have to pay attention to the plot, I wouldn’t recommend this for you! However, I found myself laughing out loud and reminiscing the elements of the wizarding world which are so familiar to me. A thoroughly enjoyable watch, especially for those fans of Harry Potter and anything associated with the franchise!