ReviewWriter: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Harry Potter" franchise The Good, the Bad and the Fantastic:
First of all, obliviate
all intentions of comparing this franchise to the "Harry Potter" story as they are both very different and incomparable narratives. Where Harry fed our sense of childlike wonder by introducing a completely new world of magic and boarding school adventures, Newt Scamander accompanies back the same fans of the wizarding world into exploring adulthood, finding your ground, and the charming awkwardness that comes with it - All this with a dash of magic and pending evil, of course.
Warner Bros. couldn't have been more spot on with their casting of Eddie Redmayne as their lead wizard. Playing 29-year-old Magizoologist Newt Scamander- yes that same wizard who wrote the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" textbook that Harry Potter and friends would be using at Hogwarts 70 years later - the Oscar-winner shows that even by being a shy, awkward wizard (well he is a Hufflepuff after all), he can still be lovable and charming in a very nerdy kind of way especially when he brings a common No-Maj (Muggle) Jacob Kowalski to step into his TARDIS like briefcase to show him all the beasts he has rescued.
Even more charming than Redmayne, is Dan Fogler the No-Maj who with his perfectly timed wide-eyed reactions towards anything magical taking place is the perfect representation of all of us. We weren't too sure about the casting of Fogler upon watching the trailer, but the movie proves that he is the perfect sidekick to Newt just like how bumbling Ron was to Harry.
Katherine Watson as the Tina Goldstein may have seemed all-uppity in the trailer, but she's just another surprise as you begin to feel sorry for her after her role as an agent for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (America's Ministry of Magic), is constantly dismissed. Colin Farrell as the Director of Magical Security, Percival Graves plays an imposing character, but you can't help to question his motives throughout the movie especially when he plays father figure and friend to a constantly abused No-Maj, Credence (Ezra Miller) who the latter with his mother, wants to expose the magical community but at the same time plays informant for Graves.
While we may not get to gasp in wonder at all yummy and magical feasts at Hogwarts that Potter fans are so used to, here you will still get to do the same when the magical abilities of Newt's beasts are revealed, bringing you a sense of nostalgia as if watching "Harry Potter" for the first time.
Director David Yates who worked on the last four "Harry Potter" films, did such a great job of portraying the wizarding world of New York in the 1920s that it successfully detaches itself from the Harry Potter universe but yet still manages to hang by several fine threads with tiny mentions and easter eggs when names like Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts or the symbol of the Elder Wand are subtly brought up. The most fun in the movie is to be had when Newt, Jacob, Tina and Queenie (Tina's sister) go hunting for the magical creatures and you'll be surprised with the amount of laughs all of that brings up. Of course with Yates, you just know that the bigger picture would be the dark forces, where in this case the belligerent antics of the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald is weaved into the story to create that perfect balance of light and dark.
Speaking of Grindelwald - yes, we get to see Johnny Depp on-screen - but while his brief appearance was a thrill, it is too early to say if he could match that of Voldemort's dark prowess. What's definite though, is that we'll get to see more of him in future installments.
With "Fantastic Beasts" finally out in the open, hopefully it would manage to pacify fans who were worried that J.K. Rowling had lost her magical touch for the monetary one, and after watching the first film, fans can then come to understand why her plans to make Scamander's journey into a five movie franchise spanning 19 wizarding years isn't that ridiculous after all.Cinema Online, 17 November 2016