Years of missing J. K. Rowling’s genius on the big screen finally felt quenched with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie. It flickered in me those familiar goosebumps I used to get on witnessing the Warner Bros Pictures logo hit the big screen. It would sublime that renowned rad symphony that went Na-Na-Na-Na-Na in the backdrop.
Direction of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fewer directors could ace a prologue in such terse frames than David Yates himself. The beginning of the Fantastic Beasts movie is so laconic, and yet so colloquial that you can’t stop yourself from feeling mesmerized by his fleeting frames.
Years of directing Harry Potter franchise has chafed off its shine on him. It becomes evident the moment Yates gets behind the lens. There is plenty of experience under his collar that he has garnered over time, and it has prepared him upfront to deliver some fine seamless finishing.
David Yates’s work speaks volume when you find him easing into the magical world without us realizing it. It is apparent with his overtly long and meandering walks alongside our protagonist that only stops when he successfully wraps up his scene. He is that kind of a genius that magically seems to get better with magic.
References and Comparisons (Spoilers Ahead)
Comparisons ensue when you place it against the likes of one of the best Hogwarts franchises of all times. In Fantastic Beasts movie, the frequent disappearing acts seem to happen effortlessly. There is more magic entailed here which acts as a great plus. What makes it further embellished? None other than the movie’s thrilling 3D effects. They are absolutely ravishing! David Yates makes sure there are plenty of them sandwiched at odd junctures to aggrandize the flick’s theatrics.
Fantastic Beasts franchise appears to be much darker than Harry Potter series if we take their first epicsode into consideration. But as far as storytelling pace is concerned, Potter franchise would beat it to pulp any day. There are references galore from the Potter world that don’t hold back from tingling your inner “pensieve”.
Calling Hogwarts Hogwash is a smart jest deliberately put to show what others think about the best school we know hitherto. That remark brings a smile to your face as it tries to wryly devalue our favourite fantastical school. Then at one point you hear the word Dumbledore and you can’t pay attention enough. The fact that Dumbledore supported and believed in Newt Scamander even though he was expelled helps you to accept him more easily. Then doors get opened with the only opening charm that we have ever come across: Alohomora. All of it takes you back in time.
Since the primal theme of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is revolving around amazing creatures, we find it as one the major driving plots. But J. K. Rowling loves to make connections, and everything connects so beautifully that the end result becomes really satisfying. You don’t really see the end coming from miles and it kind of flabbergasts you.
Out of all the amazing creatures that were unleashed in New York, Niffler is the most adorable of all. The creature was first referenced in Harry Potter series where an allusion of sorts was made when Lee Jordan had released two of these fantastical creatures to trouble Dolores Umbridge. It is a cute little thief who has an inbred penchant for shiny things. We see plenty of it to fall in love almost immediately.
Then there is a creature called Bowtruckle that has letting go issues. It looks like a stem cum mantis and stays most of the times hidden under Newt’s collar. Swooping Evil is one of the most badass creatures which assists our protagonists during desperate times.
Demiguise‘s power to grasp futuristic events has been beautifully portrayed. The concept of Occamy ‘s, the serpent’s, behaviour to occupy space is brilliantly thought of. Thunderbird is one of those titular fantastical beasts that reminds you of Buckbeak from the HP saga. However, this one has weather control under its aegis and is closely related to a phoenix.
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If we squint hard at its downsides, the first one would be the introduction chapter to the Beasts. It is almost abrupt, something that takes away the joy from a well written account. The need of the hour was the wonderment that it was supposed to tag along whilst launching each creature. We have been fed fantasy so much in the past that the way Yates introduces them ends up becoming a tad forgetful.
Do you remember how Buckbeak made a lasting impression, and is still remembered whenever you get a faintest reminder of its colossal import? To match that level of recognition David Yates should have resorted to some awe-inspiring calm.
Then there was this moment when Newt takes Kowalski into his suitcase. There in an attempt to introduce him to the astounding abode, he does some eye-popping magical shenanigans. It becomes almost overwhelming at one point. I overheard one of the fellow spectators complain:
“What is he trying to do?”
Primarily because Newt stays reticent most of the times and well quilted under his acting wraps. To play a nerdy character that asks him to stay shy, gnaws on his character’s capabilities.
The Pairing Up
The chemistry Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Kowalski (Dan Fogler) bring into the tale is akin magic. Their side-plot is amazingly portrayed as well. It almost takes the lead characters Newt and Tina out of the picture entirely. It is both a good thing and a bad thing for the story. Reason being it leaves you with a rare feeling of insouciance towards any budding relationship between the latter couple, taking away their supposedly thunder. Their lack of nerd chemistry “obliviates” you from seeing them go anywhere in the long run.
Colin Farrell does plenty of justice to the character of Graves. And then that remarkable acting in those final rad moments make for a resounding icing. Johnny Depp was an insane revelation as the badass villain we all wanted. But a lesser renowned face would have done Grindelwald justice I think. Let’s see how he fares in the future runs. Keeping fingers crossed on that one.
Music by James Newton Howard is extraordinary as well. Very soothing and aptly placed! Sways you like an Occamy to a tune of roach!
The Final Verdict
Overall, the Fantastic Beasts movie was beautifully packed in one magnificent capsule of delight. Can’t wait to find out where this brilliant prequel takes us. Most interested in how Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will connect dots and give more Easter eggs to make magical omelettes from.
Check out the trailer of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie here: