Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a stunning, fascinating and magical new adventure from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. It is the perfect prequel to the Harry Potter franchise.

Rating – 5 out of 5

Director – David Yates

Starring – Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterstone, Colin Farrell, Alison Sudol

Certificate – 12

I am a huge Harry Potter fan and did not know how to feel about a Wizarding World film without my favourite characters. Fantastic Beasts is better than I had imagined. It is an amazing and exciting story which, in future installments, is likely to bring to life one of the greatest wizard fights in the Wizarding World franchise.

The story is set in 1926 and follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who arrives in New York, nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures.

Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a No-Maj (aka muggle), gets caught up in the magical world when he inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in the city. Newt and Jacob band together with sisters, Tina (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) and set out to recapture the missing creatures before they come to harm.

However, when their mission collides with a dark force which is sweeping through the city, the foursome become a group of unlikely heroes.

Five films have already been confirmed for the Fantastic Beasts series and the first installment takes you on a fantastically wild ride. Compared to the Harry Potter films, it takes on a more adult storyline, with a look at the darker side to magic and the introduction of a new and dangerous dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald.

David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films, returns to direct this fascinatingly different look at the Wizarding World. He has brought a bustling 1920s New York spectacularly to life with beautiful 20’s architecture and costume design which is second to none.

Eddie Redmayne plays the quirky and awkward Newt Scamander brilliantly. The character, who is somewhat of a loner, loves his magical creatures and Redmayne is flawless in the way he interacts with the make-believe creatures; created through the magic of CGI. Dan Folger brings humour to the film through his character Jacob and the pair perfectly bounce off of one another creating a great and interesting friendship. The theme of friendship is as strong in Fantastic Beasts as it is in the Harry Potter series and is mirrored perfectly through the quartet that come together at the beginning of the film.

The realistic beauty of the special effects keep you completely immersed in this new world. The CGI is simply breathtaking and has stepped up a notch since the Harry Potter films. From small colourful insects to huge golden, shimmering feathered birds the detail that has gone into the creation of the magical creatures is nothing short of amazing. The entry of Niffler, one of Newt’s many creatures, is brilliant. The rodent-like animal, which is attracted to anything shiny, causes mayhem around New York and brings instant humour and lovability to a make-believe creature.

Fantastic Beasts is breathtakingly stunning and exciting. The prequel shows a more dark and adult twist on the magical world. Definitely worth a watch, whether you are a fan of the Potter series or not.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is available to buy on Amazon.

Featured photo – © Warner Bros. Entertainment/J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World TM