Release date: 18 November 2016 (United Kingdom)
Director: David Yates
Film series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Film Series
Box office: 812.5 million USD
Screenplay: J. K. Rowling
This is a film that I have been meaning to watch for ages. Literally ages. Because I am the biggest Harry Potter fan and I love Eddie Redmayne so why it has taken me six months to watch it, I have no idea. But a few weeks ago I finally got around to watching it. And I was not disappointed. The film was quite different to what I was expecting, especially in how dark the film went, but I loved it nevertheless. I adored all the characters, particularly Queenie because I could really connect to her on a personal level, because they were all very complex and interesting and had their own individual quirks and backstories. I did think that a little more time could have been spent on the world building because I think that people who aren’t die hard Harry Potter fans may have had a bit of trouble understanding things. However, the visual effects were brilliant and I loved how all the magical creatures were presented. This was a really surprising film for me as it was very different to what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it all the same.
The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander – played by Eddie Redmayne – has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
Let’s just get this out there – Newt’s a real sweetheart, isn’t he? He is so loving and warm and good-natured but still very determined and protective and I love that a Hufflepuff is getting their chance in the spotlight for once (because yes, I am a Hufflepuff). I thought that Eddie Redmayne did a fantastic job, particularly as he had to work with so much CGI in the film, and really brought this socially-awkward yet very intelligent character to life. I also adored the Goldstein sisters and they are both two of my favourite female characters ever. Tina is so dedicated and hard-working and loyal and I love her relenting resilience that never once wavers in the film. But I also loved that she isn’t stone-hearted and goes through a lot of emotions in the film and isn’t afraid to openly show them; she is human and that’s what I love. I also adored Queenie because I think out of all the characters she is most like myself (though I am quite like Tina too). She isn’t ashamed or embarrassed of her kindness and warmth and actually uses this to her advantage when people underestimate her for being a giggly, dumb blonde. She’s also very funny and protective of her sister and I loved seeing Queenie and Tina’s relationship.
This film was a whole lot darker than I ever could expected; there are themes of child abuse, discrimination and a level of intense hatred and disgust towards certain groups of people that I certainly wasn’t expecting. There were also several comments towards society which I also wasn’t expecting, seeing as this is a ‘kid’s film’. But it’s no ordinary ‘kids film’, this story tells several very important and deep messages about people’s attitudes and what we do when we tell groups of people to suppress themselves and hide away from society because who they are is unnatural – we create the results and consequences of what that individual then does and the results of that are clearly shown in the story. On a lighter note, I thought all the CGI was done brilliantly and I loved seeing all of the magical creatures and the wizarding world come to life. The plot is quite slow at the beginning with a lot of flitting around between different characters but at the half way point, it really picks up and builds into something fantastic.
This film was definitely a surprise but it was a welcome surprise because I loved all the different elements and all the sub-plots that wove together to create this historical and moving film that even though it is about wizards, still has a lot of relevance to our society today. This is definitely a film for slightly older children to watch because it does get quite dark but both kids and adults can enjoy it – kids can enjoy the wonderful CGI and humour whereas adults can pick up on the hidden sub-text and the themes that the film is trying to get across.