Set in New York, 70 years before the story of Harry Potter begins, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has divided the opinions of many, even 10 months before its release, and it’s not hard to see why.
First of all, do we really need THREE Harry Potter prequels? Personally, I think not. Die hard Potter fanatics will of course feel otherwise. Although not a crazed Potter fan myself, I did in fact thoroughly enjoy all eight films. The story was truly captivating, the characters spell binding (sorry) and I really was immensely engaged with it all, the epic finale certainly had me on the edge of my seat.
However, I feel the introduction of a trilogy of prequels could somewhat confuse the story and just start adding things for the sake of adding them, when actually we all might be better off without it.
Another point which we discussed in Episode 33, is that J. K. Rowling appears to be milking the hell out of her creation. Do I blame her? Not really. But still, she clearly has the talent to write incredible novels, so why not try something new? She needn’t worry about it failing because anything created by J. K. Rowling is guaranteed to draw in crowds, simply because of her name. Interestingly, unlike the original series, Rowling has written the script for this upcoming film.
Despite all of that, there are reasons to believe that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be an extremely intriguing watch, and a very enjoyable one at that. I do just want to clarify at this point that I am looking forward to seeing this film, however contradictory that may seem considering my previous points. I also hope that I am proved wrong on this matter and that I leave the cinema with a sense of eagerness to see how the story unfolds in the succeeding two films.
The lead role of Newt Scamander is played by Eddie Redmayne, who has shot to stardom in recent years for his stellar performances in Les Misérables and The Theory of Everything for which his portrayal of Stephen Hawking earned him the Best Actor award at The Oscars, the BAFTA’s and The Golden Globes.
As a fan of his, I am confident he will excel in a role such as this and having had a look at some of the on-set photos, he looks lively and full of confidence.
Another big name set to appear is none other than Colin Farrell (The Lobster) who portrays Percival Graves, a sort of magical detective on the hunt for Newt.
Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) plays Porpentina Goldstein, and Samantha Morton (The Messenger) plays villain Mary Lou, leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, an anti-magic extremist group.
Something that I can almost guarantee with this film, is that visually it is going to be stunning. I mean I really am expecting it to look brilliant on the big screen. Of course because of the beasts themselves, of which many I’m sure will be real animatronics as well as the usual CGI creations, but also the thought of 1920s New York being brought to life. The costumes and the sets are sure to be a real feast for the eyes and surely one of the standout aspects of the whole film.
I also anticipate this film to be slightly more mature than the original ‘Harry Potter’ series. Not that the originals weren’t dark because they certainly were, particularly towards the end of the franchise, but my gut feeling is that this film will take an even greater step in that direction. Director David Yates has said: “It’s a wee bit more grown up, there are no kids in this movie!”
So there you have it, however unnecessary I feel this film is, I do think it will be well worth a watch. So will a return to the wizarding world turn out to be a joyful, wondrous experience? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them opens on November 18th.