YES! JK Rowling does it again – with a darker and more spell-binding plot, a sombre narrative that sets into motion a fierce battle between the dark world and the magical forces, even as new and stunning creatures from the world of sorcery and magic keep the audience spellbound glued to their seats!
But here’s what you need to know – this movie is completely different from the world of Harry Potter that you love. In fact, you may even find JK Rowling’s characters poking fun at Hogwarts, calling it “Hogwash” in this film!
The year is 1926 but it is not human beings that are fighting the World Wars – it is the magic beings and the No Majs (if you are a Harry Potter fan, this is a reference to Muggles – non magic folks). The unsung villain of the plot is not Voldemort – after all, remember, this is not a Harry Potter story – but it is Gellert Grindelwald, who is a much dreaded, dark wizard.
Newt Scamander (starring: Eddie Redmayne) – the protagonist – is the opposite of Harry Potter. He looks confused and not so lovable as Harry Potter. He lands in New York, clutching a dull looking suitcase which leads to us to a realm of magical beasts. You can find a whole new Universe conjured up through the magical suitcase – more exciting than even life at Hogwarts! Yes, that is right – even the staunchest Harry Potter fans will love the fantastic beasts that come out of Newt’s suitcase though they lead him on a wild goose chase across New York and land him in “legal” trouble and get him almost “arrested.”‘
Jacob Kowalski (starring: Dan Fogler) is the unexpected trigger that sets off Newt’s struggles in New York because their suitcases are swapped by mistake. Following this, all hell breaks loose, and it doesn’t help that Newt forgets to “obliviate” Jacob – which means erase his memory about what he saw of the magic world and then Tina (starring: Katherine Waterston) , a suspended but committed Auror, is determined to take them into custody for breaking rules of the Magic World of USA!
But wait, there is a rather beautiful icing on this cake – enter Tina’s sister Queenie – a lovely ”mind-reading” stunner who takes to Jacob Kowalski, like a duck to water. She reads his mind, conjures strudels to conquer his heart and there is a sparkling, mischevious chemistry between the two characters that make the audience break into knowing smiles even as the dark plot thickens around them.
A new twist to the story comes with mindless killings happening across the city and the portrayal of a magic-fearing crusader who adopts children and abuses them, particularly her son Credence (starring Ezra Miller) who is stalked by Percival Graves (starring: Colin Farrell), a powerful auror, with whom he holds several clandestine meetings that the audience will struggle to understand.
Most of the film is delightful, with an old world charm and comical moments threading the fantastic beast sequences, but at times it turns a little too dark for children.
This is not a Harry Potter movie but a very spell-binding one where you can experience the magical world of fantastic beasts come alive in a most thrilling way.