BY LAURA ERNE
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theatres this weekend, doing $75 million at the box office in Canada and the U.S.
This film, directed by David Yates, is a spinoff from the Harry Potter saga, also written by J.K. Rowling and takes place 70 years before Harry goes to Hogwarts. The magic is off the charts, the unbelievable special effects used to create it might be the best yet.
Fans get to meet Newt Scamander, the Hufflepuff legend who wrote the Hogwarts creature textbook, seen in the Harry Potter movies. Scamander is played by the 34-year-old actor, Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne has mentioned that although he was not cast for any Harry Potter movies before now, he did mention that at 19, he auditioned for Tom Riddle before losing it to Christian Coulson. He also told Cineplex Magazine, that his borderline ginger hair was not good enough for a role in the Weasley clan.
This film follows his journey to New York while on his way to Arizona. What was supposed to be a quick, in and out trip, turns into a full blown adventure when his suitcase, containing unimaginable creatures, allows one to escape and run loose in a city where magic is hidden.
It shows the real divide between those with magic (witches and wizards) and those with none (Muggles/No-Maj) by adding the appearance of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (NSPS), who want no magic. It’s a nice change to see less in-house fighting in this movie compared to its counterparts.
The film introduces sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein. Tina resembles the straight, rule following personality of Hermione whereas Queenie resonates more like Luna, a quirky optimist with the ability to read minds. Both witches and both American, these sisters get thrown into Newt’s world of creatures when he unknowingly uses magic in the city that causes his presence to become known to The Magical Congress of the United States (MCUSA).
Although the film is equipped with an all-new cast, the one to look out for is Dan Fogler, who plays Jacob Kowalski, aspiring baker and obvious No-Maj. Everyone knows that magic is strictly on a wizard and witch need-to-know basis, no muggles allowed. However, for Kowalski an exception is made, when he unknowingly tries to return something to Newt when they first meet. Kowalski acts like a child, all giddy and curious when exposed to magic. His persona resembles Harry’s when he first appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Every phrase and action is adorned with humour. Being the introverted wizard that Newt is, his ability to care for and understand magical creatures makes him lack, what others might call manners. In one instance you might even see him swinging from a crystal chandelier while chasing a shine-crazed creature through a jewellery store. The apparent damage and theft not being on his mind. There is no doubt where Newt Scamander’s loyalty lies. His first love is to his creatures.
Redmayne was the perfect actor to play the lead role of Newt. The awkward/introverted behaviour was honed and well-crafted. He was able to deliver both no emotion and raw emotion while keeping the flow and transformation of his character both logical and genuine.
This film has been given the green light for five more installments. The next film is expected to be released in November 2018, followed by another in 2020. Johnny Depp has signed on for the sequel, this time shot in Paris.