Continuing on from the huge success of the Harry Potter franchise, Warner Bros look set to reap in the rewards of J.K Rowling’s other book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Based on the book published in 2001, it covers about all the magical creatures that exist within the Harry Potter universe. Written under a pseudonym author named Newt Scamander, J.K Rowling released this book so fans could gain more insight into the creatures. After being approached by Warner Bros, Rowling decided to write a screenplay based on the character of Scamander. The ever brilliant Eddie Redmayne plays Scamander, who is charmingly awkward and very much a loner. His only love and ambition is to rescue, nurture and protect magical creatures that are supposedly a threat to the wizarding and muggle worlds. Making his way to New York City for the first time, Newt’s suitcase full of creatures accidentally gets switched over by a muggle who then accidentally releases all of the creatures into the city. Causing chaos and destruction, Newt and his now muggle friends Kowalski have to capture them.
I’m always a firm believer of leaving a franchise alone when it’s done, especially something like Harry Potter. Perfectly constructed with care and love, it’s one of the greatest stories to come onto screen from book. Continuing on from that story is always going to be very difficult, but exploring different time frames, especially before Potter is always going to be intriguing. The film only being based on a short book about the creatures is going to be difficult, but with J.K Rowling doing the screenplays for this film and all future planned films is the best way to go. A positive note also is that no one will have any idea what’s to come in the films, as these moments haven’t been published in the books before. It will bring a sense of excitement and uncertainty in a good way towards the characters in this new story. Rowling’s writing is brilliant on-screen and creates a new breed of characters that we can learn to love again, especially Newt.
There couldn’t be a more perfect fit to Newt Scamander than Eddie Redmayne. The Oscar winner is on the form of his life and completely brings this character to life. He injects enough personality and wit to make Newt instantly likeable and easily recognisable into the Potter world. Surrounded by a good supporting cast, Fantastic Beasts boasts a wide variety of acting talent on-screen. Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller and Dan Fogler all contribute incredibly well to keep the film on its toes when Redmayne isn’t on screen.
My only quarrel with the film is the movies fast paced introduction to some characters. If you blink, you’ll quickly forget their names. To me, knowing these characters is vitally important as were going to be joining them for a lot more movies down the road. On the flip side, a lot of films these days do seem to linger on with their character development a bit too much. Maybe it’s a good thing that we’re thrown into this world without knowing much about the characters? Yes I could see it as a bad thing that I may not have caught some people’s names in the film, but it didn’t make me not enjoy the movie any less. I really did enjoy it, it made me feel back in the wizarding world and how I felt when I was younger watching the Harry Potter movies. It really captured the magic that bounced off the Potter books. Mainly down to Rowling’s screenplay and David Yates returning behind the camera to continue his wizarding run after directing the last four Potter films. 4 out of 5 stars.