Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016 movie)

Newt Scamander, a British wizard, arrives in New York City with a suitcase. When a magical beast slips out of the suitcase, Newt tries to capture it but is arrested by Tina Goldstein, an Auror who tells him the Wizarding World already has enough problems. Newt and Tina set off to find the escaped beast before magic is exposed for good, but what could be behind the strange incidents happening all over the city?

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Fantastic Beasts takes us back into the world of Harry Potter, only several decades earlier and in the US. Newt is more interested in his beasts than other wizards but he finds himself in need of help from both Tina and Jacob, a muggle man to whom Newt accidentally reveals the existence of magic. They make an odd trio but there’s too much at stake to complain.

The Wizarding community is at risk, not only because a group of muggles — or no-majs as they’re called in the US — is telling everyone magic is real but also because odd incidents keep happening all over. It’s like an invisible force is wreaking havoc in the city and some suspect it could be the work of one of Newt’s beasts. The truth just might be much more complicated than that…

To be honest, when I heard there’d be five movies in total in this series, my expectations fell drastically. I still wanted to see this movie but I wasn’t hyped anymore. I was then pleasantly surprised by how good it was!

The beasts were amazingly done and fun, but they didn’t steal the whole show. I really hope they’ll explore more beasts in the upcoming films because it gives new insight into the magical world and at least I’ve always loved magical creatures.

I liked Newt immediately. He was very relatable, especially in the way that he seemed so much more comfortable around magical creatures than people. He behaves differently in these situations but still in a way that fits the character. Tina seemed like a good and interesting character but we didn’t get to know her as well as I’d hoped. Tina’s sister Queenie had less screen time but I felt like I got a better grasp of her character than Tina’s.

Jacob, the muggle man with a dream of his own bakery, was one of the best parts about the movie. He has no idea what’s going on in the world of magic so his sense of wonder and amazement was great to see. It made the movie feel all the more alive and his interactions with Newt helped me care more for both of them.

Plot-wise the movie started off a bit slow but it picked up towards the end. There weren’t any dull moments and there were even a couple of surprises and twists along the way to keep you interested. I wasn’t a huge fan of the very end but since there are more movies on the way, it might get mended later on.

All in all I think this movie is a must-see for anyone who loves the world of Harry Potter and I can definitely recommend it to those who love fantasy in general. It looks beautiful, has great characters and the plot has both deep and light elements that’ll work for younger and older people alike.

∗4,5/5∗

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