Directed By: David Yates
Written By: J.K. Rowling
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katharine Waterston, Collin Farrell, Dan Fogler
J.K. Rowling has been doing for fantasy lovers what Walt Disney once started doing for them; she envisioned a magical universe and used Harry Potter and other characters to give a face to the wildest imaginations of the craziest minds. So when she starts unfolding a whole new horizon of Magic and Wizardry in entirely new premise with entirely new characters, the expectations definitely ignited craving for some superior magic with mind-boggling visuals.
As it turns out, the end product quite adequately matches the expectations. Though comparisons are bound to be made with the Harry Potter series, yet Fantastic Beasts holds its own identity and triumphs in establishing its own fan-base.
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. – (Source: IMDB)
What works for the Movie
Breathtaking visuals: The creatures; the wizardry shenanigans and the magical universe inside the traveling suitcase, all have been created with utmost perfection. The 3D works wonders to enhance the impact of the proceedings. This is probably one area where Fantastic Beasts might even beat all the Harry Potter extravaganzas.
Performances: For me, before this movie, Eddie Redmayne was the wheelchair-ridden genius of “Theory of Everything” and I had my apprehensions about accepting him as the nerdy wizard who would be carrying “Fantastic Beasts” in his suitcase. But he knocks the nail right on the head with this role as well. The nerdy expressions and the muffled accent bring a certain vulnerability to the character of ‘Newt Scamander’.
Another adorable performance comes from Dan Fogler as ‘Kowalski’. Colling Farrell is just about adequate as ‘Graves’.
Direction & Screenplay: With a run time of 133 minutes, the movie never slumps towards boredom. Things keep on happening, new beasts keep on popping up and narrative keeps on engaging the audience.
What doesn’t work for the Movie
Shallow Supporting Characters: Some of the supporting characters have not been given due depth in detailing and as a result their motives do not make a lot sense at time. Most notably, the characters of Graves (Collin Farrell) and Credence (Ezra Miller) should’ve been described in more detail. This would’ve enhanced the overall impact as these two characters are highly critical in the narrative.
Johny Depp’s Make-up: I don’t know if this was supposed to be a surprise and if I am throwing in a spoiler here, but Depp makes a very late appearance in the movie and the way he looks makes you wish he had never made his way in the proceedings. As it seems, his will be one of the most pivotal characters in the forthcoming movie(s) of this series, so one can only hope that the makers realize how shabby the make-up was and they improve it drastically before the sequel.
This is definitely a promising beginning to a new franchise. Ideally it shouldn’t go beyond being a Trilogy but who knows? if we go by the previous record of J.K Rowling, she might manage to pitch this throughout the next decade.
What can be felt and declared at this stage is that the magical universe of Harry Potter has got a worthy new cousin whose impressive infancy promises a further bloom of magic and wizardry.