Director: David Yates
- Directing 4/5
- Writing 4/5
- Cinematography 4/5
- Acting 4/5
- Production Design 5/5
+ Fills in the edges of the magical world
+ Visual treat
– Sound editing
Skeptics Need Not Worry
Like most other Harry Potter fans that grew up on the franchise, I was a bit skeptical when I first heard there was a Fantastic Beasts movie in production. Despite it being J.K. Rowling’s debut screenplay, I was still hesitant to jump on the hype train. There was that naggy thought at the back of my head that she could have been milking the franchise.
Needless to say, my fears were misplaced. Rowling is very attached to this magical world she has created. Like others, Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood, so I was cautious with the franchise being elaborated. I knew profit for profit’s sake was not the route I wanted the Warner Bros execs to go.
To illustrate my point, I went and found my old copy of the original short novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, part of a bundle with Quidditch Through the Ages. The book was published back in 2001 – a 15 year gap before the debut of the same titled movie. Flipping through the pages, I discovered the same names for some of the creatures Rowling uses for the film. The demiguise and murtlap for example were already in existence long before the script for the movie was made.
Rowling has stated that the film:
is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry gets underway.
It’s somewhat proper that J.K. Rowling didn’t write a book series and then try to adapt it. By going solely to film format, the focus can be on the world itself. The film aims to explore the details of the wizarding world versus an overlapping plot, i.e. rise and fall of Voldemort. Although, I’m sure we will see Grindelwald’s rise to power in the coming films.
Faithful Production Design
The film was beautiful and very vibrant. I sincerely felt I was stepping back in time to see how wizard kind would have been in the early 1900’s. From the costumes to the accents and attitudes, the characters lent themselves to the era of the film.
Further, the attention to detail when it comes to the creatures is magic in itself. Each creature has been painstakingly customized with details and even its own personality. The filmmakers take great care to ensure that each creature’s personality is evident.
The niffler has its eyes on the prize at all times and tries to get away with mischief. Despite causing a bit of trouble, he is a comic relief and can’t help being liked. I was always laughing when the niffler was part of a scene.
Talk about an Ear Sore
My main problem with the film was the audio during action sequences being too loud! I’m not sure if it was the film’s sound editing, or merely theatre’s audio output, but either way – the audio was close to giving me a headache. The reliance on the sound to reinforce the action or shock was a bit over the top. I would have appreciated just letting the scene play out without the shockwave of audio.
Overall, the film felt like it was definitely part of the Harry Potter world and carried on the sword. It ends on a vague note of to be continued, allowing the filmmakers room to maneuver. The great visuals help populate the wizarding world with magical creatures that appear real. If you’re worried about the world of Harry Potter, rest assured that Rowling isn’t taking the train off the rails. It might not win many awards, but Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an essential film for all Harry Potter fans to watch.
WRITTEN BY: GREENMTMAN
Header Image: http://static.srcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/fantastic-beasts-where-find-them-posters.jpg
Fantastic Beasts Book: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sxFK1rVws8Q/Vgd1qJNo9mI/AAAAAAAAGMk/eChicOKeLLM/s1600/IMG_6151.JPG
Fantastic Beasts Cast: http://www.heyuguys.com/images/2016/11/fantastic-beasts-cast-xlarge.jpg
Niffler Gif: https://67.media.tumblr.com/c9da1a1a41a81e541d626c22c315a8e4/tumblr_oh5st18KH21vlcvv2o1_400.gif
Newt Jump: http://imagesmtv-a.akamaihd.net/uri/mgid:file:http:shared:mtv.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/tumblr_o5g6f9crc01qeklrro2_500-1460385071.gif?quality=.8&height=200&width=500