As you may know from other articles: I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise. I’ve seen all the movies and read all the books, multiple times. When I first heard of a new movie about the Harry Potter Universe ("Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"), I was over the moon. The magic continues. The first time I saw the trailer was in august at Amsterdam Comic Con. They played some trailers of upcoming movies in between Q&A’s and the moment I saw it I was sold. At one moment we were waiting for the Q&A of Lance Henriksen and he was sitting right behind me (in the audience). He seemed to be really impressed by the trailer and asked what it was.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is set in the New York of the roaring 1920’s, so that’s approximately 70 years before Harry and his gang roam the hallways of Hogwarts. At Ellis Island we meet Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne). Newt is a magi zoologist travelling the world to find and document magical creatures. He is a member of the Ministry of Magic and is commissioned to write a book about all magical creatures that exist. He just arrived in New York he must go through customs. All he has is a brown suitcase. And it’s no normal suitcase. There seems to be some sort of very stubborn creature in it, so Newt has to do his best to get through customs without anyone noticing his special luggage. If you have seen the first Harry Potter movie, you might remember Harry has a study book called “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them”. This is a book about all the magical creatures that exist. And the writer of that book is…….ding ding ding…. Newt Scamander.
Back to the story: When Newt stumbles upon an anti-magic manifestation, he stops to hear what is said and a man with the same suitcase bumps into Newt and the suitcases get mixed up. When Newt realizes what happened he follows the man into the bank. The man turns out to be Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a good hearted no-Maj (the American name for muggle), who wants to apply for a loan to open his own bakery. Newt notices that one of the magical creatures manages to escape the suitcase. This creature is a Niffler, a rodent-like creature (he looks like a mole), that collects sparkly objects. You can imagine that a bank is not the best place to lose a creature like this. Newt and Jacob talk for a little bit, so Newt can switch the suitcases again. When he spots the Niffler he rushes off to catch it and accidentally leaves a hatching Occamy Egg with Jakob. Before Jakob can return the egg to Newt, he is called in for the talk with the bank guy. When his loan application is rejected Jakob walks out the office and sees the egg is hatching. What follows is one big chaos and the suitcases get switched again. When Jacob arrives home he opens the suitcase and some of the magical creatures escape. In the meantime Newt meets Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) she is a former Auror for Macusa (the American Ministry of Magic), who is expelled because she attacked a no-Maj. She wants to bring Newt in for breaking the rules of the magical world. When they see some of the magical creatures on the loose, they begin their search for Jakob and the suitcase. In the meantime a much bigger and more dangerous being leaves behind a trail of deaths. Newt, Jakob, Tina and Queenie (Tina’s sister) find themselves in a race against the clock to save New York from a big disaster.
“Fantastic Beasts” starts with the famous Harry Potter theme music and when I heard the music, a big smile appeared upon my face. I really enjoyed the movie. Don’t expect another "Harry Potter" movie, because you will get disappointed. "Fantastic Beasts" is a standalone movie series within J.K. Rowling’s "Harry Potter" franchise. It’s set in a different country and time. But the feeling is the same. I love the way the movie portrays the New York of the 1920’s and the special effects in the movie are superb. What about the characters? There are a lot of great actors in "Fantastic Beasts". The Academy Award winning Eddie Redmayne is very convincing as the clumsy Newt Scamander and I love Dan Fogler as Jakob. There is great chemistry between these two actors. I, for one, really liked Alison Sudol as the somewhat eccentric Queenie. Furthermore there are roles for great actors like Colin Farrel as Percival Graves (great performance), Jon Voight as Henry Shaw Sr. and Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. I would like to highlight the performance of Ezra Miller as Credence. I think he is just great.
As a "Harry Potter" fan I really enjoyed "Fantastic Beasts". I’ve heard mixed reactions to the movie, but don’t let bad reviews scare you off (in general). I am looking forward to the sequel!