Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a terrific journey back into the magical world of Harry Potter.
Newt Scamander, a magizoologist played by Oscar Award winner Eddie Redmayne, sets out to round up some of his magical creatures that have escaped from an enchanted briefcase. Along the way he faces quite a number of unexpected turns that all come together very well to establish this new series.
Redmayne is superb in his lead role as Scamander. He delivers a nuanced performance as the introverted scientist that has trouble making, wizard, friends.
He doesn’t do it alone though, he is backed up by an incredible cast of well-played characters.
Katherine Waterston plays Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, a young former-auror working at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) as a desk clerk.
Alison Sudol has a breakout role as Queenie Goldstein, Tina’s younger sister, a dreamy legilimence (can read people’s minds) with a desire to help all people.
Dan Fogler brings in the laughs as Jacob Kowalski, a no-mag (non-magical person) who just wants to open his own bakery when he gets unwittingly dragged into the magical world.
The Jacob character serves as a window for the audience to enter into this new franchise of films set in the universe established by the Harry Potter series, allowing moviegoers to experience all the wonders of wizardry through his eyes.
Foglers performance and comedic timing give the film the whimsical edge it needs to survive on its own in J.K. Rowlings well-established wizarding world universe.
J.K. Rowling exceeds expectations in her screenwriting debut, delivering the touching, heartfelt story, she is well known for. Though the script does suffer from pacing issues, seemingly slowing down and ramping back up again, sometimes without intent.
Other gripes to be had with the film, are the underused talent that it employed.
Jon Voight as a newspaper editor and Ron Perlman as a goblin speakeasy owner are both in a very limited amount of scenes. Seeing more of the two veteran actors more would certainly have been a treat for audiences.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a thrilling entry into this new five picture series from Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling.