Well it wasn’t what I had expected. I thought maybe the ‘JK Rowling’ machine was just about pumping out money like with The Cursed Child, however there is more than meets the eye or the trailer would suggest. It’s not too shabby at all.
Rowling’s world of Fantastic Beats is well translated on the big screen but at times gets a bit too sentimental for its own good in parts, especially as the characters get a bit “humanistic’ for their own good.
It’s not a bad thing though as English actor Eddie Redmayne looks to have jumped out of his wheelchair but still comprising his Stephen Hawking role with a wand. Redmayne is sublime and totally convincing as Newt Scamander, the scatty magizoologist who enlists some help along the way finding the beasts that have escaped onto the streets of 1920s New York.
Of course, all this has happened 70 years prior to Harry Potter but that doesn’t stop this film being a credible add-on to the already popular franchise, in fact it’s probably done the opposite. Think of it as Where the Wild Things Are for adults or a grown-up Harry Potter without the messy adolescent bits and bobs.
David Yates fresh from the jungles of Tarzan is solid at the helm, he lets the story unfold without letting the special effects take centre stage. You don’t have to be a fan of the Harry Potter series to see this movie, it holds its own plus I’m sure JK gets a few dollars as she has written the screen play and has confirmed she’s on board to write the next four films.
Those witch hunting purists will have the knives out, but overall Fantastic Beasts is a solid film that thanks to David Yates ‘Beasts’ doesn’t turn into a disaster zone or a wizard’s conundrum, it also helps having the ‘who’s who’ of the acting world.
Relative newcomer Dan Fogler is an asset to the film, his character the no-maj (muggles) Jacob Kowalski is an absolute standout as he plays his role to a tee, while singer Alison Sudol, as Queenie makes the successful transition to acting look a breeze.
Katherine Waterston as Newt’s opposite is a nicely casted as the amiable Tina Goldstein. Stalwart Colin Farrell’s role as Wizard sheriff Percival Graves could have been made a bit ‘meatier’ in this film but the support cast of relative unknowns and featured veterans (Jon Voight, Samantha Morton) is a risk that has paid off for the film.
I liked it, it has all the trappings of good watch, it has the dark and light elements of wizardry, good guys and baddies and by the sounds of it has a few more sequels to come. it’s a role that was almost made for Redmayne but then again that’s JK Rowling’s touch of magic.