The year 2016 seems to have zipped by, sometimes without any remorse and even with a political brutality, but waiting for the end of November to roll around actually felt like waiting forever. It has also felt like an eternity since we’ve had a new film based upon the magic of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and all I can say is… ABOUT DAMN TIME!
Fantastic Beasts is suited to an audience who have all graduated from the school of wizardry and Witchcraft and are now finally set free into what is a fully expanded world of magic.
We go back to New York city in the 1920’s and in convincing style with wonderfully constructed detailed sets, costuming and camera work. Immediately an aura of threat and mystery is teased as themes along with elements of a classic crime thriller. Watching this film for some of it didn’t feel like just a magic film with spells and wands, it had a sometimes gritty and even dark tone which has allowed me to name Fantastic Beasts a magical crime thriller in genre.
Having a ministry of magic in the UK which is indeed underground and away from the prying eyes of ‘muggles’ is very much a semi -realistic thing that could be covered up. But having a separate American magic society under the watchful eyes of millions of New Yorkers, well that’s a great feat JK Rowling has pulled off. Realistically those who aren’t magically inclined are given another name, no-maj. And it is with details like this that I really appreciated of course with the other big stuff.
Eddie Redmayne leads a very much star-studded cast as Newt Scamander and plays him as an endearing eccentric you can only get behind and want to succeed. He has arrived in New York after just completing a global excursion to document an array of extraordinary creatures. He quickly crosses paths with a no-maj known as Jacob Kowalski and after a mix up of brief cases the film begins to roll and unfold. They develop a friendship along with trying to track down many of the mistakenly released creatures Newt had in his swapped brief case.
As much as I would like to give everything away in what I thought was a breath of fresh air for a Harry Potter style film, I won’t provide any spoilers. And I say a breath of fresh air because the magic element of this universe has so much potential for expansion beyond Hogwarts and that is what Fantastic beasts delivers upon. We are shown creatures never before seen in this world and there is one particular sequence in which we see Newt introduce Jacob to this group of said beasts, which left me somewhat open jawed and feeling like a kid again.
We see magic in completely different scenarios, ones where it is fully out in the open. The hustle and bustle of New York wont stop the magic, it only heightens and somewhat romanticizes it.
Credit must go to a cast with great depth, appearances from Colin Farrell and John Voight. And I must give credit to Katherine Waterston and Dan Fogler who did support Eddie Redmayne through out the film. Any reservations I had about Redmayne have very much been put to bed now. His character provided the ultimate mix of mystery and ‘your not the run of the mill every day hero’.
So my conclusion…
What I enjoyed the most was the freshness of this new story with a familiar magic theme. Seeing wand vs wand action is indeed something with a lot of action potential. And saying that the action was spread out, well delivered and well-paced along with everything else in the film. This to me felt like Harry Potter grown up, with a real crime type feel that even looks more towards an adult audience which is what this universe is cleverly appealing to. Kids will enjoy it too as I feel there is something for everyone in this film although some elements are a little dark, but no darker than the exhaling ways of the dark lord who won’t be mentioned.
For what is the beginning of Christmas Blockbuster season Fantastic Beasts and where to find them will definitely heavily contend for film adventure of 2016!
I shall use this opportunity to tell you that very soon I plan on sending out FREE reading material in relation to my future books. You will only receive this stuff if you sign up to my mailing list and give me your email (trust me the next few books I’m sitting on don’t want to be missed), so sign up today!!!