Director: David Yates
Script Written By: J. K. Rowling
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan, Fogler, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Jenn Murray, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Jon Voight, Ronan Raftery; Josh Cowdery.
‘Worrying means you suffer twice,’ says Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Which is another way of saying, Why worry, when there’s no point. If something bad is going to happen, suffer through it once, not twice! What a gorgeous way of treating life, the sentiment setting the tone of the film.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is J. K. Rowling’s debut as a screenwriter. The inspiration from the Hogwarts textbook of the same name, written by her character, Newt Scamander.
It’s difficult not to compare Fantastic Beasts and the previous Harry Potter films as there’s a similarity in vision; not only writer, Rowling, being the creator of both worlds but David Yates returning after directing the previous 4 ‘Harry Potter’ films.
But this is America, not England. There’s a new language where Muggles are now called No-Maj (humans without magic). Where the American’s have the Second Salemers – fanatical No-Maj’s who want to get rid of wizardry for good.
Terrified of exposure, Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA), Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) makes short work of anyone who threatens the fragile hidden world of magic. Until Newt arrives with his suitcase full of fantastic beasts.
Instead of Harry Potter and his young friends battling their way into adulthood, with an exploration into all the dark corners of life in magic and life as neglected children, we have adults running through 1920s New York trying to re-capture cute magical creatures. Instead of a darker adult outlook, I found Fantastic Beasts to be more childish in its tone.
There was a lack of depth, the feeling of a beginning, a building of a story rather than a whole which was disappointing after the Harry Potter introduction of J. K. Rowling’s magical world.
But what lacked in story was somewhat off-set by the magical creatures, the Niffler, reminding me of a platypus with a keen eye for all that glitters and all that’s gold.
I couldn’t help but grin and giggle at the behaviour of these creatures, and that brings me back to the childish tone of the film.
Eddie Redmayne as the protagonist, Newt, was likeable and I could relate to his awkwardness, which was essential as I felt if you liked Newt, you liked the film.
But I admit I wanted more from this film, from this story.
The characters were likeable, the creatures adorable, but the story didn’t have that darkness that make the Harry Potter films such a surprise.
Fantastic Beasts is a M-rated film that I’d take my nephews to watch for some fun entertainment. Which doesn’t make it a bad film just not thought-provoking. The Harry Potter films were an adaptation with more thought to the themes like good versus evil and all the inbetween. Whereas Fantastic Beasts felt more like a glossing over of the story.
I’m expecting a series here. A series that will get deeper and darker as the story progresses.
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