|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||Fantastic Beasts and where to find them|
|Production country:||USA 2016|
|Running time:||Approx. 133 min|
|Rated:||From 6 years|
Seventy years before a certain student of magic named Harry Potter had to fight the evil Voldemort, young wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) came to New York as part of his exploration of magical creatures. But he couldn't have picked a worse time, as the magical world here is in turmoil right now. A dark force keeps haunting the city, leaving traces that are hard to hide from the No-Majs - the American term for Muggles. It must not happen now under any circumstances that the No-Majs learn of the existence of the magical world, which at the moment still exists peacefully next to theirs. But now, of all times, an unfortunate incident occurs whereby the No-Maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) comes into possession of Newt's suitcase full of fantastic animal creatures and accidentally releases some of them. Now the young wizard, the No-Maj and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), who is trying to get her old job as an Auror back, must do everything they can to recapture the magical creatures before they cause damage that could lead to an open confrontation between wizards and No-Majs.
With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, hit writer J.K. Rowling and director David Yates return to the world of Harry Potter. However, without Harry, Hermione, Ron and co. as the new story is set in 1926 New York. True, there are a few allusions to Hogwarts and Dumbledore, and Gellert Grindelwald, whose name fans already know of course, plays a not insignificant role. Apart from that, what Rowling has created here is a whole new world. It has its appeal, but it lacks some of the important elements that made Harry Potter so popular and successful. For one thing, there are characters like Harry and his friends, who were important figures for young readers/viewers to identify with. Newt Scamander, while extremely likeable, will never be able to be the hero to children that Harry was. He's also too quirky and too much of a wizard for that. Harry, for all his abilities, was above all a normal boy who grew from story to story at his tasks. And the film noticeably lacks such a character.
What also feels negative is that the story is set almost entirely in the world of the Muggle - sorry - the No-Majs. This makes it clear what an important and central role a magical place like Hogwarts, with all its little magical details, plays in the world of Harry Potter. The fact that there is no comparable place in the new story literally leaves a certain magic missing. Furthermore, the finale, which is a bit too overstuffed, doesn't really convince either, as it's more reminiscent of superhero destruction orgies like Batman v. Superman than the Harry Potter films. And that feels kind of out of place for a fan of the series.
So much for the criticisms. These sound worse than they actually are. Because even if Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them isn't in the same league as the Harry Potter films as a result, it's still a very entertaining, enchanting and visually stunning piece of work that thrives on some very nice ideas, an imaginative set and very good actors. Eddie Redmayne is perfectly cast as a magic nerd with a soft spot for fantastical animal creatures, and Dan Fogler is a more than likable sidekick for him. In particular, the budding romance between Jacob and Tina's sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) is a hugely charming part of the film, giving it exactly the soul that the CGI overkill in the finale lacks.
There's a lot of humour, particularly in relation to the sometimes very cute, sometimes a little crazy magical animal creatures. It's definitely appropriate for children, though that can't necessarily be said about the rest of the film. The 6+ release is not really appropriate given some very dark moments. The film is absolutely not recommended for children under 10. Otherwise, however, the whole thing has become a really exciting fantasy adventure for young and old, which is a promising start to a new series (a total of five films are planned). If the next part delves even deeper into the magical world and uses a little less unnecessary CGI action, nothing stands in the way of great success. Therefore applies - despite some weaknesses - quite clearly: Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp