Fantastic Beasts

This week the Wizarding World returned to cinemas – this time with Newt Scamander fronting the film rather than the infamous Harry Potter.
As a huge Harry Potter fan, I obviously went to see the film as early as I could! The story was developed from one of JK Rowling’s books – not a Harry Potter story but a type of textbook that would be read by students at Hogwarts. Directed by David Yates (director of previous Harry Potter films, including Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2) and written by JK Rowling herself, it promised to be amazing.

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Attending a Harry Potter Wizarding World film on a Saturday evening proved to be as busy as it sounds… After driving to a second cinema venue and eating a takeaway Nando’s in the car to save on the restaurant queue, we finally managed to sit down in some of the last available seats (a row third from the very front) to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I didn’t know too much about the story – I knew there were magical animals and a Wizard goes to New York to find them. What  I didn’t realise was that there would be such a dark storyline running alongside it! I won’t reveal any spoilers but I will tease that Gellert Grindelwald makes a surprise appearance. The dangerous wizard was, of course, active during the time period in which Fantastic Beasts is set – 1926 – and subtle clues throughout linked the character to the one we learned about in the Harry Potter series. His role in the film gives it a dark edge, and adds more substance to the otherwise happy and simple story! The role of a ‘no-Maj’ (Muggle) – an essential part of the storyline – also adds something. You watch him learn about magic, the amazing creatures and see a friendship blossom between himself and the awkward Newt Scamander. But is a no-Maj allowed to know about magic? I will not reveal, but watch it to find out what the 1920’s Wizarding Law states…

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It was fascinating to watch how Newt Scamander’s story fits into the Magical World we know from Harry Potter’s time, and to see how it differs. It was also exciting to get more information about the history of the Wizarding World. Although it was based pre-Potter, many things that linked the two times together – both Hogwarts and Dumbledore got a mention. The next film is rumoured to actually be casting a Dumbledore – I can’t wait to see that!

As for this one, Eddie Redmayne is an amazing addition to Wizarding World. He plays the awkward and nerdy character incredibly well, and I’m so happy that he is now part of my favourite franchise! While we may have enough material about Harry Potter, there is definitely not enough of the entire world JK Rowling has created!

100% recommended – you don’t even need to be a Harry Potter fanatic to appreciate this film (although be honest, who isn’t?) There’s new magic and old magic, new creatures and characters, and the return of the beloved Wizarding World that the entire world has fallen in love with. Head to the cinema and catch a screening (or two…) – but maybe not on a Saturday night!

5/5 stars.

// Beth

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