Hello everyone! Christmas is fast approaching but November isn’t over yet, there’s still plenty I’ve got to write about before my blog takes a sudden festive turn! Last Friday the long-awaited magical film ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ was released here in the UK and having watched almost every Harry Potter film in the cinema, I wasn’t about to stop now and I was even more determined to watch it on the day of its UK debut! We really struggled to get a seat actually, everywhere was booked up so we had to get seats for the 9pm showing but I was still as happy and eager with my popcorn and ice blast to enter the magical wizarding world once more.
I’m going to try really hard not to let slip any spoilers so that you can enjoy it yourself, especially since it has only just come out, but I’ll touch lightly on some of the more obvious aspects of the film, and my general thoughts and feelings!So, ‘Fantastic Beasts’! Well the brief plotline is that Englishman and Magizoologist-in-the-making Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a shy, awkward Hufflepuff, is fresh meat in New York; hunting for someone who specialises in a particular creature is his only goal for the city. However nothing seems to come easy with having to adjust to the rules of America involving creatures and magic, and the disasterous escape of some of his creatures! Whilst innocently searching for his Niffler along with Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a No-Maj/Muggle who Newt feels little need to obliviate after witnessing him performing magic, he is informally arrested by Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), both of whom work for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), for being an unregistered wizard. Newt is then falsely accused of an incident after MACUSA learn of the escape of some of his creatures, and he is dragged into something far bigger, dangerous and darker than the escape of his cheeky Niffler…Okay so firstly looking at the characters: Eddie is fairly new to me though I thoroughly enjoyed him in The Theory of Everything (you can read my review of that movie here), some people I have spoken to think he’s too weedy and awkward as an actor but I just assume that he wouldn’t have been casted as Newt if he didn’t fit the bill since they were so specific with who they cast in the Harry Potter films. I personally felt that something wasn’t quite right about him but maybe I just need to get used to the idea of him being a wizard because I do think he is a brilliant and expressive actor. I really liked Dan as Jacob, he was kind-of the light-relief of the film, a muggle who had been swept up in this crazy world that’s been sitting underneath his nose all this time; I really felt his character, he embodied it so well and it fits him perfectly.
I wasn’t too keen on Katherine as Tina, though I know nothing of the character I just felt like she was awkward, scripted and rather plain. Alison as Queenie however was my favourite!! She’s so fun and sweet, manipulative but not in a dishonest kind-of way. She seems like she doesn’t have a bad bone in her body, I couldn’t help but enjoy her on screen!The next thing I enjoyed was Newt’s case! Magic truly is a wonderful thing! I won’t spoil it or go further into details but wouldn’t it just be amazing if we had one??? It trumps Mary Poppins’ bag any day!The Niffler. O.M.G. This creature was my FAVOURITE part out of the whole film. IT’S JUST SO CUTE, I WANT ONE RIGHT NOW!!! I can’t get over how adorable it is, even before they said what it was I just knew from the description given in the Harry Potter books that this was a niffler and I got so excited!! Not only is the niffler’s part incredibly cute but also very funny and cheeky!! I surely hope that they release some niffler merchandise in the future, I’d buy it all! The other beasts were excellent too, fantastic graphics and it was really cool to see not only some new beasts, but previously mentioned beasts from the Harry Potter books that we never got to see!Moving onto some points that weren’t quite to my pleasing…first of all was the fact that I had to get used to the American accents! I really tried but it’s so hard to get used to when you’ve been conditioned to hear the wizarding world with English accents, especially since many had country accents!! Sorry America, the wizarding world doesn’t suit you! I need to get used to it!!It didn’t feel magical enough for me! This is probably my fault, letting my Harry Potter expectations get in the way but basically I felt like the ‘magical feeling’ was lost in this film. I guess it was because the Harry Potter films were set in a magical school where magic was a constant thing, but although there was lots of magic in this film it just didn’t feel magical to me.The plot lines didn’t seem to work well together either; there is effectively two different stories operating in this movie – Newt’s personal journey with the creatures and the mess he gets caught up in. He seems like the least likely person to get involved in such a thing and even then he seems like he’d be the first one to flee given the chance. However I guess that’s a good thing because despite being this shy Hufflepuff, he’s also a brave one too and means that his character runs deeper than what we know at the moment, giving him plenty of room for expansion in the upcoming films following his story. I don’t know how to explain it that well but really it just felt like the seperate stories didn’t gel together at all, making it seem misplaced and too random.However, despite those points I did enjoy the film but me and R let our HP expectations get in the way; if you want to truly enjoy the film then I would highly recommend forgetting everything to do with Harry Potter and watch it as a completely new film in a new world, otherwise you’ll constantly be hunting for references or similarities (for which, wonderfully, there were quite a few). It’s a completely different era with different rules, different views and different ways of living, and the magical world is completely different to that of the one we know.
Sadly I would also say that I wouldn’t watch it again in a hurry, not like how I enjoy watching the HP films multiple times. I told my dad that unless you are a HP fan then there was little point in watching it at the cinema but rather to wait until it came out on DVD; I still enjoyed it as a film but not as much as I had hoped from a fan’s POV. Overall me and R were disappointed but again that was probably our own fault, we did enjoy it as a film but I think we need to learn a little more about Newt and become more familiar with his character before we can embrace him. Since JK Rowling wrote the script for a movie, it’s difficult to completely fall in love with the character when he feels like a complete stranger, but hey we have another 4 films to get to know him so hopefully this series will start to fulfil some of those expectations that some of us hardcore fans are still holding onto.