Last night I was lucky enough to be able to go and see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them before it was released.
I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter books, but was never hugely taken with the film adaptions so I was really intrigued by Fantastic Beasts. Directed by David Yates, who directed the final four films in the Harry Potter franchise, and written by J.K. Rowling, it’s a much darker side of the wizarding world…
Set in New York in 1926, Fantastic Beasts follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he travels across the pond with a suitcase full of magical creatures.
There are two main plots in the film, the more lighthearted story of creatures escaping and Scamander trying to find them in New York, and a darker plot, involving magical politics with the authorities trying to avoid a war and keep the “no-maj” (Muggles to Harry Potter fans/non-magic folk) from finding out about the wizarding world, and Grindelwald, (again a name familiar to fans of Harry Potter) a dark wizard on the loose.
I thought the animation in the film was brilliant, particularly all the magical creatures (the Niffler especially was adorable) and I loved the graphics. A few months ago I was lucky enough to interview MinaLima, the graphic design team behind the Harry Potter films, and they returned to the wizarding world for Fantastic Beasts, which I loved, on top of the fact they are hugely talented, it meant there was a consistency in the film; a lovely throwback to the Harry Potter film franchise.
I think Fantastic Beasts could be watched as a standalone film, but there were quite a lot of references to the Harry Potter series, which I appreciated, but I can imagine may be a little confusing if you don’t know much about Harry Potter.
It was announced that this is the first of five proposed films, and so I felt like a lot of the characters and storylines were being set up for a longer story, which meant that many of the characters weren’t able to fulfill their potential during this first installment.
I actually really enjoyed the film, I thought it was well cast and a lot funnier than I expected, with most of the laughs coming from Dan Fogler as Scamander’s sidekick, Jacob Kowalski. I imagine the future films will go deeper into Grindelwald’s story, which I’m intrigued by, although I’m not sure how it’ll stretch to five films!
This film was definitely darker than I expected, but I think the whole family would enjoy it. There are some pretty spectacular CGI scenes which are definitely best viewed in the cinema.
“I want to be a wizard” Jacob Kowalski
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is released in cinemas nationwide on 18th November