Like all of Rowling’s works brought to life on screen, Fantastic Beasts looks incredible. The particular version I saw in 3D IMAX was breath-taking from the opening credits on and may very well be the best use of 3D I’ve witnessed in any film to date. It’s no wonder when you see the all-star crew that brought this to the screen. Harry Potter director, David Yates, reprises his role here while Phillipe Rousselot (Sherlock Holmes/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) brings this wondrous world to life as director of photography. Set in 1920’s New York, Fantastic Beasts in absolutely brimming with style and vibrancy. Costume designer Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland/Sweeny Todd) and set designer Anna Pinnock (Skyfall/ The Grand Budapest Hotel) treat us to a refreshing take on the wizarding world across the pond with sumptuous detail and tailored panache.
Frankly, Fantastic Beasts is worth the price of admission based on visuals alone! Fear not though, there’s no shortage of substance here. Eddie Radmayne (The Theory of Everything) is simply astounding as the eccentric collector/preservationist of rare and dangerous beasts: Newt Scamander. He perfectly captures the ticks and quirks of a man bubbling with intellect and concern, but also one who is almost a-social and possibly disillusioned with his fellow kind. Newt is on what he believes to be a relatively simple mission in New York when some of his beasts escape from his enchanted suitcase.
This brings down the wrath of the Director of Magical Security; the villainous Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) and our adventure is up and running. The tale is further aided by superb performances from the supporting cast with notable star power from the likes of Ron Pearlman (Gnarlack) and Jon Voight (Henry Shaw Sr.) plus one other huge name I won’t give away here!?!
This may very well be my favourite movie of the year so far. Its pace is unrelenting and it achieves what every good fantasy film strives for; it immerses you in a world of wonder and takes you on an epic adventure. Fantastic Beasts works completely as a stand-alone film but also throws in a few subtle nods to the Harry Potter franchise. These will keep the die-hard fans smirking knowingly to themselves without scaring away newbies to Rowling’s universe. Unlike the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, feels like it was designed to be on the big screen. Every box is ticked from visuals to stunning performances all round. It’s an altogether more well-rounded experience which leaves audiences begging for more. 10 points for Gryffindor (or Ilvermorny as the case may be). Nerdy jokes aside it 5/5
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is released from November 18th via Warner Brother Pictures.
© OVERDRIVE 2016