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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 

Shane J Alliew

Running at 133 minutes, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them in a prequel to the Harry Potter Series; directed by David Yates based on J K Rowling’s book of the same name. Incidentally Rowling is also the producer of the film marking her screenwriting debut too.

Well, let’s have it straight, if England was the heart of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, then can America be left far behind? Nope- it can’t!

So here we have our dear Danish Girl Eddie Redmayne, playing Newt Scamander, travelling from London all the way to New York in 1926, in search of a majestic beast, or so he thus claims, as a birthday gift back home.

In actuality, Newt is a dreamy (sometimes loony) wizard struggling to protect-conserve magical creatures, beyond the fantastical imagination of even the wizard world.

Little does he know that America is not so tolerant towards the secret, almost into hiding community of witches and wizards, which he soon learns after a couple of fantastic beasts escape from his inseparable suitcase, he carries everywhere with him; as it houses a few and is the doorway to the world of the others.

Newt’s mission to the rest of the magical world is to cajole them that these exotic beings are not to be feared but understood and accepted into their fold.

No sooner has the Brit landed in New York than he is taken in by a demoted Auror Tina (Katherine Waterston) for goof-ups with a “no-maj”, muggle actually, in the vault of a bank, whilst bringing back into his suitcase one of the incorrigible yet adorable looking beasts, who has this insatiable attraction towards anything shiny (read gold, precious stones etc).

Of course Tina is dismissed by the high council being more monopolised by Percival Graves (Colin Firth) who has other matters up his sleeve to deal with, on the sly, in the shadowy lanes of England with one hell of a shaky teenager Credence (Ezra Miller).

And then a cold-blooded daylight murder of a muggle/ no-maj takes place. It’s just at this time that the actually discovery of Newt takes place along with his human pal Kowalski (Dan Fogler), an aspiring baker, as they walk out of the suitcase.

But wait, it’s not one of his beasts, even as Dan tries to explain, it’s something different that caused the death of the muggle and if one were not to take a note of it, sounding almost ominous, there could be consequences.

On the other hand, Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) is carrying on her hell-and-brimstone campaign against the wizarding world almost like Headmistress Dolores, hoping that it would make some sort of a difference, blotting out the dark. But one can’t just deny the dark forces, can one?

Through the labyrinth of mazes, underground unused railway tracks and situations Newt, Tina, Kowlalski and Tina’s sister (cupid-struck by the baker aspirant) voyage to resolve one circumstance after the other. But what is it that they are up against and how do these fantastic creatures fit into the final saga of things?

All beautifully tied up, like the promise of Newt to Tina that he would come in person to hand over a copy of his book, once published and she says, “I would like that.”

Would you like the film? Well, if you have been missing Harry Potter and the gang and their dazzling world, then this one is for you! Only don’t expect the same standards from a dreamer-of-a-wizard Newt because he wears an ill-fitted cloak that for sure does not suit him. Cross-dressing is far more marvellous a fit for him!

3.5/5

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