“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” impresses

Emily Gibbens, Staff Writer

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is an exciting, fantasy spin-off of the Harry Potter series.

The movie came out on Nov. 18, 2016, and is based upon the script written by J.K. Rowling who took inspiration from a textbook mentioned within in the Harry Potter books and films.

The British film was directed by David Yates and produced by Warner Bros. Actors included Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Ezra Miller with a surprise appearance from Johnny Depp.

In the Harry Potter books and films, “Fantastic Beasts” and Where to Find Them is a textbook used at Hogwarts to teach students about the creatures in the magic world. The book is written by Newt Scamander, the main character of the film.

Scamander, played by Redmayne, goes on a journey from his home in England to NYC. While in NYC, he discovers that magic is handled much differently than what he is used to in his native country. Scamander spent his life working with and studying various magical creatures that most wizards knew nothing about.

While walking around NYC carrying many of those creatures with him in an enchanted briefcase, Scamander accidentally let the animals out into the non-magical world.

Scamander navigates the Big Apple trying to gather his creatures all while dealing with an ordinary man who saw him casting spells, the Magical Congress of the U.S., and an evil spirit that is wreaking havoc on the city.

The movie gave me a nostalgic feeling that brought me right back to middle school when I was reading the Harry Potter books, and then watching the movies.

There are subtle jokes and connections throughout the movie that really brought the worlds together. There was even one mention of Albus Dumbledore’s name that grabbed the attention of all of the Harry Potter fans in the theater.

Redmayne did a great job depicting the smart, mischievous, slightly awkward, Scamander. His quirkiness kept the audience laughing and his sentiment made it impossible not to feel his emotion. His chemistry with the rest of the set, especially Tina, the stubborn Auror for the magical government, played by Waterston was undeniable.

The film follows an interesting storyline that gets a bit confusing throughout. By the end, most of the loose ends were tied, but some questions were intentionally left unanswered to set up for the movies to follow.

The cinematography of the movie was fantastic. The stylistic qualities and the dark, gloomy settings of the film reminded me of the same style the Harry Potter movies were filmed in. Fantastic Beasts was better quality, but that is most likely due to the time in which it was filmed. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released in 2001, 15 years ago. It only makes sense that the film quality of this movie is much better.

The most impressive part of the film was the special effects. Dozens of mythical, magical creatures had to come to life because of Scamander’s fascination. They all looked very realistic. The magic within the movie was also very convincing. Though magic wasn’t used as much as one would expect from a Rowling movie, the visual effects were years ahead of the original Harry Potter films.

Although the movies often intertwine, this movie is unlike the original Harry Potter movies because there wasn’t a book to go off of for this one. Because of this, viewers have no idea what to expect, and they were also left wondering if this would be the only movie or part of a series. At one point, Rowling announced it would be a trilogy, but this October she confirmed that the “Fantastic Beasts” series will be split into five separate films over the next eight years. The next movie of the series is set to be released in Nov. 2018.

I believe the people who grew up reading or watching the Harry Potter series will be split into two groups: the ones who don’t enjoy it because they don’t think anything could live up to the originals and the ones, like me, will enjoy the journey Fantastic Beasts brings them on because it lets them hold onto their Harry Potter memories.

Because of the great special effects, the nostalgia and Eddie Redmayne’s acting skills (and charm), I give “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Emily Gibbens is an opinion writer for  The Dakota Student. She can be reached at  [email protected]