I’m getting mixed reactions from people who’ve seen Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. For someone who had very low expectations of the movie, I was surprisingly entertained by the revelations it provided. Eddie Redmayne’s a charmer. His good-natured portrayal of Newt Scamander provided much of the movie’s heart.
For starters, I love how we’re starting on a whole new backstory to supplement what has been revealed in the Harry Potter series. Save for Pottermore and whatever J.K. Rowling has released on her site, not much is known of Newt Scamander other than being the author of a standard textbook mentioned in HPSS and the grandfather of Luna Lovegood’s husband. Here we see him as a budding magizoologist who comes to New York with an enchanted suitcase that houses all of these magical creatures he’s been caring for. The adventure begins when a brief stopover turns indefinite after he’s unknowingly involved with events in the American wizarding world.
The Big Apple itself is a welcome departure from the very British setting of the Harry Potter movies. MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) proves that it can hold a candle to the Ministry of Magic and the American Aurors are every bit as kick-ass as their British counterparts.
Surprise cameo aside, the movie is worth every penny for the fans who’ve missed the magic of the HP films. Fantastic Beasts benefits from not having a book series as the source material and it has done wonders for character development. Besides, what can possibly go wrong with J.K. Rowling herself penning the screenplay?