It’s been five long years since J.K. Rowling and David Yates brought us back to Hogwarts with the final installment in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’. Now it’s 2016. Times are getting tough and it seems our only escape is the world of fantasy with cinematic universes to different studio-based galaxies. There’s the ever-expanding Marvel and DC cinematic universes that have been getting the most tickets; and now it looks like ‘Star Wars’ is trying to expand itself with ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ coming next month. But Hark! A savior has arrived! It’s J.K. Rowling and David Yates once again to take us back to the ever-so-called “Wizarding World of ‘Harry Potter’! But wait! What’s this? It looks like they brought a time machine to take us back 70 years before “The Boy Who Lived” became a hero and saved us all from the nose-less Voldemort’s wrath of attack! But wait! We’re not only transported back in time, but it looks as if they took us to New York, where the world is filled with more social and political issues than we faced in the last week.
There is no other perfect time to go back to the ‘Harry Potter’ universe than this year. It’s like J.K. Rowling and David Yates saw the turmoil that was going on in this world and figured why not collaborate once again to show us something that touches on the issues we are facing in our modern-day and age. We’ve dealt with social commentary this year with films like ‘Zootopia’ (Which explored racism and the media.) and ‘Sausage Party’. (Which surprisingly explored social status by personal belief.) But I have never thought Rowling would touch on current world topics in a serious and emotionally powerful way. Once our hero Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) mentions that the most vicious creatures in the world are humans, I was blown away immediately, even when things didn’t seem to impress me as much in the last 20 minutes with so much reliance on CGI creatures, (adorable as they might be) minor plot holes, and an ending that just doesn’t work for me as well as its twist.
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ takes place in an alternate New York where you had to be careful when using magic. It is also a place where Scamander steps in and ends up changing things when his suitcase full of creatures escape and start causing havoc in the streets of a huge city. That’s when he teams up with the dimwitted baker Jacob Kowalski, (Dan Fogler) who gets all the laughs in this fantasy; Tina Goldstein, (Katherine Waterston) a witch who was kicked off an investigation team for reasons; and Tina’s sister Queenie, (Alison Sudol), who is kind and serves to be Jacob’s love interest; in order to find each creature and put them back in Newt’s suitcase. Along this turmoil is a subplot involving an abused teenager (Ezra Miller) who has a huge secret, the political leader (Samantha Morton) who wants to abolish witchcraft and wizardry, and Colin Farrell playing a wizard who wants to help.
Despite the serious undertones ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ has, it is definitely a lot more light-hearted than I expected it to be. It is a humorous movie where every steps the characters take into finding these creatures becomes an entertaining romp. It also has the magic of a ‘Harry Potter’ movie and is as fantastic as its title. Once we enter Newt’s suitcase, it’s like entering the wardrobe to Narnia, or the portal to John Malkovich’s head. Impossible? Yes. But in a fantasy, anything goes. If I were to title this film, I would name this “A Fantastic Movie and Why you Should See it”.