Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

True to the style of Harry Potter, this film also contains some poignant love stories.

fantastic-beastsI should just begin and end with the simple statement that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2 hour 13 minute joy ride. I loved every blasted minute, and you need to see it with or without children.

Directed by David Yates and with a screenplay by J.K. Rowlings, it brings to the screen all of the drama and wonder seen in the eight Harry Potter films. Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a British writer entering New York in 1926. With him is a suitcase containing an assortment of magical creatures, and all hell breaks loose when several of them escaped.

As he tries to hunt down his magical escapees, Newt ends up befriending Jacob Kowalski, a solid, likeable guy who suddenly ends up with his life on the line after the two mistakenly exchange suitcases with Newt. Daniel Fogler is memorable playing Jacob, and you end up desperately rooting for him to follow his dreams and leave a boring factory job so he can open a bakery.

New York harbors a large group of wizards, warlocks and witches, and their attempt to maintain their anonymity is put in jeopardy with creatures doing damage to the city. Colin Farrell is wonderful playing the villain Percival Graves, a guy dedicated to getting control of a vicious beast that will force everyone to choose between subservience or destruction.

However, the strength of this colossal film comes from the performances of Katherine Waterson and Alison Sudol, who play sisters that lend a crucial hand to help Newt and their city. Ms. Waterson plays Tina, a no-nonsense investigator whose affection for Newt will bring a tear to your eye. However, it is Ms. Sudal as Queenie that will capture both your attention and your heart. She can read minds, and the growing relationship between her and Jacob is a love story for the ages.

There is a large supporting cast that Mr. Yates uses to perfection, and I at least have to point out Ezra Miller, who plays Credence, a young man hiding a dangerous secret. The end result is a series of sub-plots that occasionally become a bit complicated, but it is not likely to concern you any more than it did me.

From an entertainment standpoint, I have not seen a better film this year. It contains a wonderful secret that suggests that sequels will appear down the road, and I look forward to them with gleeful anticipation.

In the meantime, be advised that the film has a emotional ending that is likely to have you looking for tissues, so go buy a ticket. This is one great cinematic ride.