Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Review.
As I sat to enjoy this film on its first weekend in the box office, the cinema filled up in capacity and the tale began. The starting credits rolled and the familiar musical theme of Harry Potter filled the air, a tune, I think the whole audience thought they would never get to hear at the cinema again. The atmosphere shifted to an electric excitement as everyone settled in for what was about to be a magical adventure.
Set in bustling 1920s New York, this film comes from the amazing J.K. Rowling and whilst based within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the references to her previous works, although present, are not required to understand the story line. A prequel of sorts, this film and its premise, first originated when Rowling was writing the school books for Harry’s years at Hogwarts, the author of one book: Fantastic beasts and where to find them, is now our main character, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne).
Rowling states that “Of all the characters in Potter who were just a name, Newt was the one who took on quite a bit of life in my mind”
So, from there our current story was born, this link although small allows for more freedom for Rowling to let her imagination run wild regarding what her magical world could have been like in the past. It lets her introduce us to creatures that will capture our hearts and our own imaginations. Although the links to the Harry Potter franchise are few and far between, the keen Harry Potter fan will spot them and this will only augment excitement for further films in the franchise to be developed.
Upon meeting the main character, we are thrown into his world and begin to appreciate how much more there is to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. If you thought Hagrid had an interest in mythical creatures, just wait until you meet Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne. Not only does he have a love for magical creatures, but his personality draws you in, and his ability to attract problems for himself only makes the film more interesting.
What surprised me most was the light-hearted twist that this film shows to the wizarding world. Although there is still a strong story line, there are many laugh out loud moments that make you overjoyed to once again be immersed in this world, this time experiencing it in a slightly different light.
With this being said, I believe an appreciation is needed for the new franchise, this is by no means a kid’s film. The Harry Potter generation has grown up! Yes, this film is based on the audience learning about a bunch of well created and somewhat goofy magical creatures. However, that is before you delve deeper into the carefully constructed plot, and you realise the political and serious themes that it is also addressing, such as societies divided and the persecution of minorities, themes that might touch slightly too close to home for some people’s liking.
Although the Harry Potter books were accessible for all ages, Rowling now clearly writes for an older audience. It could be argued that these themes would simply pass over children’s heads allowing them to enjoy the rest of the films creations, though I don’t believe the plot moves fast enough to entertain if you aren’t appreciating the more complex issues present. Plus, there are still plenty of other dark themes found throughout the film that do not take so much thought, such as witch killers, and children who murder.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and am so happy to once again be immersed within the fantastic world that is Harry Potter. Although there are stronger adult themes present this film, it does a very good job at setting up this new franchise as something to take note of for its ability to address the serious issues whilst also managing to pause the plot to insert humorous moments and to allow for a moment of thoughtfulness. I would definitely recommend to go and see this film.