By Meghan Weatherall
Saying it was magical may seem a bit cliché, but that’s what Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was.
As the Waterloo theatre lights dimmed and Hedwig’s Theme filled the room with its classical chime, the crowd fell silent. Like myself, many in attendance for the Nov. 17 premiere have waited for more than five years for a new Harry Potter movie. I felt like shouting the famous Sirius Black line, “I’ve done my waiting, 12 years of it – in Azkaban!” After waiting so long for a new movie there was worry the film would not live up to expectations or the magic would not feel realistic. Once the movie was over and I had sat through the full two hours and 13 minutes of Newt Scamander trying to save New York and his creatures, I can safely say fans will not be disappointed. David Yates, the director, perfectly transformed J.K. Rowling’s book into a cinematic masterpiece.
The movie’s special effects team brought multiple magical creatures, like the Niffler, Bowtruckle, Graphorns and Swooping Evil, to life. To me, how the creatures looked and acted would help me decide if the movie was a good adaption. The original Fantastic Beasts book is a short Harry Potter library book. Inside is a list of magical creatures and a page explaining what they look like, their behaviour (danger level), diet and habitat. Most are accompanied by photos so fans already have an idea of what the creatures do look like. The film version matched the description in the books without making them look overly computer generated.
The magic itself was done flawlessly, from Sen. Henry Shaw Jr. being whipped around and killed by an invisible creature to simple baking spells done by Queenie Goldstein, a flirty blond and sister to Tina Goldstein who has been roped in to helping Newt. Each actor and actress made each spell look different. It wasn’t just a few hours of the same arm flailing. Instead, to distinguish the different spells the characters put different emphasis on where their arms jabbed or swooshed. It made the scene more intense to see the dramatic arm movements.
As a longtime fan of the Harry Potter world I have read all the books and gone to as many premiere nights as possible. Though this was the first year I did not dress up as a character, I was nostalgic seeing others proudly displaying their house colours. J.K. Rowling always says that Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home, and in a sense, it did feel like home at Waterloo’s IMAX theatre. It was as if I had just been on a long holiday and now that I am back, so is the magical world of Harry Potter. I applaud Yates and his team for once again creating a movie that brings to life what the fans imagined.