We hope your wands are at the ready. It’s time for our review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them.
So, a new potter film… We’ll be the first to admit that we were rather sceptic about it. First we had the Warner Bros studios, Harry Potter world in the US, The Cursed child book AND play and now this. We’ve come a long way since we walked out of the cinema, dabbing our wet cheeks with the sleeves of our robes after watching the final Harry Potter film.
A new cinematic adventure. If this was any other franchise we’d argue that it is just a money making scheme, and perhaps it is. But when the quality is there who are we to argue? Are they drawing every last drop from the wizarding world? Perhaps. But, J.K. Rolling created an almost infinite universe with many unanswered questions… she’s simply answering them for us. If it was the adventures of Harry Potter and his mid-life crisis or bald spot, then we’d admit it’s gone too far. Though, let’s be honest. We would still go and see it.
The first big tick was the choice of cast and director. Eddie Redmayne really was a great decision for the role. Proving to us once again, he can tackle any character with ease. He gives the un-known author/ carer of all beasties a kind hearted character – similar to Hagrid, which is perhaps why Dumbledore fought in his favour when he was kicked out of Hogwarts (Hagrid went down a similar path as we know.) Slightly nervous, twitchy but also very knowledgeable and unaware of the dangers that people could per see in his brown briefcase.
Collin Farrell, we’re still not sure of. It was a tricky part to play, as you’ll see with the ending. But, he got away with it. Not the best performance we’ve seen. And a little too touchy-feely with the orphan in our humble opinion.
So, we loved Newt, we loved the beasts… why Johnny Depp was included at the end, we still don’t know? Shock factor perhaps? It’s Johnny Depp that’s why.
In a way, I don’t consider Fantastic Beasts to be a Harry Potter film. It’s certainly got Rolling’s fingerprints all over it. But it’s so far from what we’re used to. Yes, it is the same world and we do hear some very familiar names. But, its set in New York where they see magic and No-Maj (please don’t make us say that again J.K ) very differently. Also, it’s the 1920’s the vibe is different. It’s Jazzy, it’s industrial and there’s no talk of Voldemort or Harry.
The problem was, it felt less magical and more realistic, which is not what we expected – you can take this as a bad point or a breath of fresh air. We’ll leave that up to you.
The attention to detail shone through thanks to David Yates (director of 4 past Harry Potter films.) The CGI was also fantastic. A real leap from the days of Fluffy and Norbert – or should we say, Noberta. Though, the effects always were great with Potter, it was almost too good this time? Sometimes we like our animals a little rough around the edges.
The characters of the animals were wonderfully personified into Newt’s adopted children. Our favourite being the clingy Bowtruckle, Picket – the walking Alohomora charm.
The only thing that was difficult to wrap our heads around was the plot itself. It was hinted early on in the film that Grindelwald was the antagonist; not the heir of Slytherin we’re so used to hearing about.
We know from the original books that he was expelled from Durmstrang for dark experiments and befriended Dumbledore to find the deathly hallows and rule over muggles.
The Grindelwald we see is close to the end. We assume it’s just before he fled to France to create an impenetrable prison and enough followers to lead an army (sound familiar). Soon up would be his last duel with Dumbledore that would lead him to be imprisoned in his own prison. Here, Grindelwald was still at large with the elder wand in hand. He wanted to find the Obscurial (a complicated dark parasite built up in wizarding children when they suppress their magic) and use it in his domination plans. It’s also hinted that Dumbledore’s sister was an Obscurial (http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Obscurial ) which would explain how he knew about it and why he was so fascinated by its power.
As big Harry Potter fans, we were able to follow the plot relatively easily – but for those that have only seen the films, or have never seen the films, it will most certainly prove challenging. Even some of us avid Potter heads had to research back to join some dots together.
Overall it was a very satisfying film. It didn’t disappoint, yet it also lacked that ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling when you walk out of the cinema. That being said, we’re glad they kept their distance from Potter as we know it. We just wanted to see some more Beasts to be totally honest, where were the Blast-Ended Skrewts, the Chimaeras and the Horklumps?!
But, there’s another 4 to come apparently, so I suppose we’ll see.