You’ve probably lost something while traveling, whether it’s a sock or your phone. But be glad you’re not Newt Scamander. He lost a whole zoo.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tells of the early days of legendary wizard Newt Scamander and his adventures in America. Is it a rare specimen or should it go extinct? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Eddie Redmayne of The Theory of Everything plays Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston of Steve Jobs is Porpentina Goldstein, Alison Sudol of Transparent portrays her sister Queenie, and Dan Fogler of Fanboys plays Jacob Kowalski. Other actors include Carmen Ejogo of Selma, Colin Farrell of Saving Mr. Banks, Jon Voight of National Treasure, and Ron Perlman of Hellboy.
The director is David Yates, returning to the Harry Potter franchise after helming The Legend of Tarzan. He was over every Potter film since The Order of the Phoenix, so expect that tone from those movies to carry over into this one.
The trailer begins by telling us that a wizard has set all kinds of magical creatures loose in early twentieth century New York, and we hear all kinds of nasty growls and see glowing shapes moving beneath the ice of a frozen pond. As long as he didn’t release any killer okapi, we’re good. The wizard himself, Newt Scamander, arrives for his wizard court date in a leather case that’s bigger on the inside. So maybe not so much a wizard as a Time Lord. “So you’re the guy with the case full of monsters?” says a goblin at a speakeasy. Well, not now. Right now, the case is empty and the monsters are roaming New York.
Queenie asks Newt if he knows anything about America’s wizards. Only what he’s read on Pottermore. We see a big wizard clock, get a glimpse of Colin Farrell’s character, and catch a mole-like kleptomaniac in the act of stealing jewelry. I can’t help but love the “Seriously? We’ve talked about this” look Newt gives the little guy. Queenie finishes her question by saying, “We don’t let things loose.” We’re very buttoned up emotionally.
As if losing a bunch of fantastic creatures weren’t enough, a No-Maj (normal human non-wizard) named Jacob finds a hatching monster egg, and Newt drags him along using magic, well and truly blowing the wizards’ cover. Jacob pops down into the Tardis-case and finds himself in a magical creature habitat full of things like horses, things like statues, and things like plants. “I don’t think I’m dreaming,” he says. “I ain’t got the brains to make this up.” At least he’s firmly aware of his limitations.
But as if THAT weren’t enough to expose the wizards to the world, something powerful and invisible attacks a campaign rally and the streets of New York, leaving huge gouges in the earth. “Witches live among us!” a soapbox preacher lady yells to the passersby. And they mostly use their powers to dress up nice.
But some wizards, like Colin Farrell, like the prospect of coming out.”We’ve lived in the shadows too long,” he says. Someone really needs to change that lightbulb. “Who does this protect?” he goes on as dark forces gather in the sky and a confrontation between cops and wizards shapes up. “Us or them?” Hashtag wizard lives matter. An eagle-like creature swoops in to warn Newt of danger. Really, eagle-like creature? I never would have guessed from the massive smoke clouds snatching everyone up.
We hear of another wizard’s attacks in Europe and that this could turn into a war. Nice going, Newt; you let a few animals roam free and all of a sudden it’s a Wizarding World War. Newt and friends go out to save the animals because priorities, and they put a long bird-snake into a tiny tea pot. How many Tardises does this guy have? “Was that everything that came out of the case?” Porpentina asks. Nope, you missed the giant rhinoceros beetle with the golden horn.
Colin Farrell uses his powers to take New York apart (someone call Doctor Strange!), the klepto mole floats through the air, and Jacob punches a goblin because that’s now No-Majs handle their problems. “I won’t let another one die,” says Newt, totally spoiling part of the plot for the audience. And judging by the wand against Porpentina’s neck, she might well be another one to die. Colin refuses to bow down anymore, Jacob and Queenie share a romantic moment, and wizards and police battle. And the trailer ends with Newt getting attacked by the subway. See? It never pays to ride that thing.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? Yes, yes I do. It’s got good actors, great visuals, and a host of creative fantasy creatures, which I love. My only worry is that there seems to be an awful lot going on in one movie, but if they can keep it all balanced, we should be looking at an entertaining flick.
As long as no fantastic beasts were harmed in the making of this movie.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is owned by Warner Bros.