Our FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Review

J.K. Rowling’s new journey into the wizarding world is nothing short of fantastic in our Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them review!

Minor spoilers below.

I approached Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with a level of skepticism. As a huge Harry Potter fan, part of me wanted any excuse to go back to the world of polyjuice potions and the Ministry of Magic. Yet I also feared the movie would devolve into a cash grab for studio.

In the end, these concerns never came close to actualizing. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them manages to capture the charm of the original series, while proving Rowling still has tales to tell in this universe. No longer focused on Hogwarts, the movie follows Newt Scamander, a wizard mix of Hagrid and Neville Longbottom. Both socially awkward and yet a gifted beast whisperer, he stumbles into New York as the wizarding community dangles on the edge of exposure to the outside world. Joined by the ex-auror Tina, a no-maj (muggle) Jacob, and the delightful Queenie, the new friends set out to both save the escaped beasts and the city in the process.

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Adaptations can be tricky things, and as much as I loved the Harry Potter movies, they always lacked some of the books’ charms. Here, however, J.K. Rowling has the chance to tell a much more focused story, and she does so marvelously. The new heroes feel fresh and alive, and by the credits they each owned my heart strings. The beasts come complete with the perfect amount of wonder and menace. The villain has layers and the reveal will leave you appreciative of what comes next in this universe.

While fans will find a number of easter eggs, the movie does well in launching a new adventure. Names such as Dumbledore and Hogwarts get dropped, but thankfully fail to steal the show from the central arc of the story. Magic inhabits every part of the world, and only rarely do the effects fail to live up to the challenge.

Overall, the movie may end up being my favorite in the Harry Potter universe. While I’ll always prefer the books, this movie thrilled and delighted me, and I’m eager to see what comes next. Fear not, my muggle brethren, the world of wizards is alive and well.

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