Harry Potter and friends have grown up and their adventures have closed satisfactorily in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Now, will you watch their journey as oom-oom and aunts witches? If as the main character, maybe not. The film is definitely heavier than their last film and I can't imagine how stressful it is to watch the film. Thankfully, his latest film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them brings us to a completely new adventure, with locations, flavors and new figures.
What I didn't think was how David Yates, who surprisingly, could inject the fun element in this film. Yates is the director who directed the last four Harry Potter films, which to me is very grim (depressive atmosphere is also reflected in another film this year, The Legend of Tarzan). But Fantastic Beasts is an adventure film in the light and entertaining world of magic, departing far from Deathly Hallows, even though its films have heavy socio-political subtitles and allegories.
Fantastic Beasts written by J.K. Rowling, who made this the first film script. Just like the first Harry Potter film, the film must have a fairly long exposure to provide the foundation for what it should be. Yes, the world is still the same as Harry Potter, but its location now is in New York in 1926, a few decades before Harry, Ron and Hermione attended Hogwarts. This film does not bring nostalgia (except familiar names milling about), because it takes a far different adventure.
The main character is Newt Scamander, played eccentrically and awkwardly by Eddie Redmayne through a small, almost subtle gesture. Newt is careless but empathic, which makes it easy to like. He is a Hogwarts dropout student who later worked as a magizoologist, a magical animal expert who tried to save them from extinction. The mission led him to New York and met a No-Maj (non-witch, the term "muggle" for Americans) named Jacob Kowalski (And Fogler) in a bank. They had similar suitcases, and of course, the classic case happened: their suitcases were exchanged and the magical animals that were in Newt's suitcase were accidentally released and made a mess in the city.
J.K. Rowling took the film from the same book, which was basically a thin fictional encyclopedia. The book only contains descriptions of magical animals, so that appreciation deserves to be given to him and Yates who can create this new world clearly, though not as rich as Harry Potter. Its production is detailed, especially creating an old school atmosphere. Every corner of New York City looks authentic. And again the legend lived, Colleen Atwood never failed to make a costume that spoiled the eyes.
The most interesting thing about Fantastic Beasts is of course the magical animal. The contents of the Newt suitcase include Niffler, a kind of platypus which is a hobby of collecting shiny objects; Bowtruckle, a kind of living branch that likes to stick to clothes; Demiguise, a kind of monkey that can appear invisible; Erumpent is a kind of hybrid hippopotamus; Occamy, a snake that "fills the room"; Swooping Evil, which is rich in birds and much more. Every scene that shows them, always stares attention, whether it's when a Niffler is thrown in a jewelry store, Erumpent is screwing up in the zoo for wanting to marry or simply majestic Thunderbird. The space in Newt's suitcase is so wide, each animal has its own ecosystem in it.
But they are not the only problem in this film. There are many things that happen. The existence of Newt in America is considered threatening the world of magic according to Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterstone), a low officer from the Ministry of Magic of America. A No-Maj community of witch-haters named "Second Salem" chaired by Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) aggressively campaigned for the existence of witches. How can Mrs. Minister (Carmen Ejogo) prevent this disclosure? Then what's the matter between Graves ministry official (Colin Farrell) and Mary Lou's son, Credence (Ezra Miller) who is introverted?
If the subplot sounds unrelated to the main story, yes it is. This part has nothing to do with magical animals, rather than aiming to present a spectacular magic fight in the third round involving something called Obscurus. Not that I mean to say that the beak is finally bad - the special effects are competent and the sequence is executed classically by Yates - but I am already tired enough with a bombastic climax with the current blockbuster CGI giant monster.
The freshest Fantastic Beasts in the first half, when the film was busy introducing settings. The Harry Potter universe is virtually unlimited and has many possibilities, so it's interesting to see how the mechanism of the world and the characters in Fantastic Beasts work. Newt, Tina and Kowalski have quite unique dynamics. They are not friends with each other, but must unite to capture the magical animals that roam. Well, maybe not for Kowalski who prefers to flirt with Tina's sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol) who is flirtatious. For the last two names, the role is more than just comic relief, but also gives emotional weight that cannot be achieved by our two main characters.
Because almost everyone is an advanced magician, Fantastic Beasts barely present a meaningful tension. His characterization is not yet fully binding on us as in Harry Potter, but this comparison may not be right, because we developed with Harry et al in 8 films. What Fantastic Beasts has done is to invite us back to the world of magic that used to hypnotize us. The film builds its world solidly, while setting a strong foundation for the sequel which (he said) there are four more.