Last night, I was submerged back in the Harry Potter universe as I went to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
There’s no denying that Fantastic Beasts is a lot darker than the Harry Potter film series, but it worked and it was as though the franchise had grown with its audience. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out in 2001 when I was just 6 years old, 15 years later, I’m 21 and considerably more grown than when the first film came out.
I loved Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Newt Scamander: shy, slightly awkward but incredibly passionate about the creatures he studies. As well as being passionate about changing the world’s perception of magical creatures, Newt displays disdain towards the American community’s attitude towards No-Maj’s (or Muggles for us English folk). In fact, there’s a lot of non-subtle sass directed at America which reveals J. K. Rowling’s feeling towards the country, particularly in light of recent events.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the set up for an entire franchise about magical creatures and also the era of Gellert Grindelwald, so the first film was slightly lacking in beasts, instead giving an overview of the creatures kept safe in Newt’s suitcase and focusing only on a few. Nevertheless, the beasts we did get to meet were incredibly cute and funny not to mention impressive, showing Newt’s new American friends that they are not to be feared.
The darker undertone of the film came in the form of an Obscurus, a dark force that is created accidentally by children who are trying to suppress their magical powers. There’s not much I can say on this without giving away most of the plot, but I will say it definitely tugs on the heartstrings.
I really enjoyed this film and being thrust back into the magical universe, especially with the hint of finding out more about Albus Dumbledore’s early life and his relationship with Grindelwald, was like coming home.
Tomorrow I’m off to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London so this week is set to be magical! Let me know in the comments what you thought of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.