Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the newest installment from J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter universe. If you’re a Potterhead, it’s a no-brainer. GO AND WATCH IT! If you’re not, however, here’s a spoiler free look at the movie so you can make up your mind.

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The film revolves around Newt Scamander, an eccentric British wizard who lands in the United States of America with a suspicious suitcase full of exotic magical creatures. The wizarding world in the USA is in a state of turmoil- the non-magic (No-Maj) world is increasingly being gripped by fanaticism against witchcraft and the secrecy laws are imposed more strictly than ever. This is bad news for Newt, as carrying and breeding magical creatures is illegal here. As luck would have it, his Niffler, a magical creature that is attracted to shiny objects escapes in a bank and mayhem ensues. In the hunt to catch the runaway Niffler, Newt manages to mix up his enchanted suitcase with a No-Maj, Jacob Kowalski’s ordinary one and also catches the attention of a Tina Goldstein, a demoted Auror (Aurors are sort of a wizarding police force). Tina arrests him and takes him to MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) in an attempt to regain her former position. However, the President Seraphina Picquery and Auror Percival Graves dismiss their case. The suitcase, now at Jacob Kowalski’s house springs loose, letting several creatures inside escape.

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Dark forces are at work in the country, causing homes and buildings to be mysteriously destroyed and finally culminates in the killing of the New York Senator Henry Shaw Jr. The blame for the death falls on Newt’s creatures and the MACUSA orders that Tina and Newt should be executed for conspiring to expose the Wizarding world, and that the No-Maj Kowalski’s memory should be wiped. The three of them manage to escape and begin a hunt to recapture both the missing magical creatures and trace the source of the strange force wreaking havoc in the country.

The best part of the film is unarguably the special effects. The exotic creatures in Newt’s suitcase are a sight to watch. Jump in to find yourself in a National Geographic Documentary, but with magical creatures! The Director, David Yates, does a good job of merging the effects into a tight storyline filled with chases, showdowns (the sight of Newt finally capturing his runaway creatures) and interwoven with gentle moments (the No-Maj Kowalski’s fascination with magic).

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The film left a lot of loose ends untied, however. It is to be expected, because there are four more to follow, and this is the first part that sets the stage for the wizarding equivalent of World War II, ending with the epic magical duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. But with interesting characters, fantastic graphics and great chases, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is thoroughly entertaining in its own right, and is definitely worth a watch.

Niveditha Rao watches too many English Movies and is a final year student of Information Technology.