I went to watch the new Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them last night. Now for anyone that knows me well will know that I am a complete ‘Potterhead’, so the concept of a spin-off franchise set in the Harry Potter universe was so exciting! I miss the feeling of waiting for a new Harry Potter movie to come out every year but not anymore.
Fantastic Beasts is set in 1926 New York, so years and years before even Harry Potter’s parents were born. It is mainly based around the character Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), an English ‘magizoologist’ who has travelled to New York in hopes of widening his knowledge of Magical Creatures/Beasts. He carries around a bottomless suitcase full of all the creatures he studies, unfortunately a few of these escape and start to cause chaos all over town. With the help of Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson) and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a muggle (or no-maj as the Americans like to call them) he focuses on recapturing them as quickly as possible, however it turns out that his harmless creatures are the least of his worries as it becomes apparent that Dark Forces are at work within New York.
Written by J.K Rowling and directed by David Yates (who directed the final 4 Harry Potter films) brings a strong sense of continuity within the Harry Potter universe and there were enough references to the Harry Potter universe we know and love today to keep me happy.
Throughout the film we briefly learn that Newt was in fact expelled from Hogwarts and that he used to have a friendship/potential love interest with Leta Lestrange. This paves the way for a potential storyline for the future (4) films that will lead us to learn more about the Lestrange family and in turn Bellatrix’s background. Running alongside Newt’s storyline in this film we also learn that Gellert Grindelwald has gone missing, back in 1926 he was considered an extremely dark wizard (a young Tom Riddle was not even born when this film took place).
In the current 8-film franchise we are not given a lot of information regarding Grindelwald and if you have only seen the films (which I would hope not) then the only thing you really know about Gellert is that Voldemort kills him in search for the Elder Wand in 1988 just before the Battle of Hogwarts. However if you have read the books (and done your research) you will know a bit more about Grindelwald and his relationship with Albus Dumbledore which leads up to the one of the most famous duels between Albus and Gellert in 1945 resulting in Albus gaining control over the Elder Wand. I am hoping that this particular storyline is played out within the Fantastic Beasts franchise as I would love to see more of Dumbledore’s history.
Also the reveal of the actual actor who plays/will be playing Grindelwald was completely unexpected and I am SO excited for the second film already just based on this fact. This entire franchise has real potential to be incredible and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us.
This film is by far my favourite film of 2016 and I would recommend it to anyone (Harry Potter fan or not), it’s full of comical moments and a storyline you can follow even if you haven’t seen the other 8 films (minus a few little references that have been thrown in). Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Newt is phenomenal and I am so glad that he has been cast within the Harry Potter universe as he fits right in.
Thank-you for reading and yes I am aware that I probably know more about Harry Potter history than I do actual history, haha!🙈