WASHINGTON, November 22, 2016 – The magical world of Harry Potter has once again appeared on the big screen. However, this time around it is America facing the world of magic and attacks by those who practice dark magic.
J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts” takes place in a circa 1926 New York, where there is an uproar over witches hiding in the city. The film is once again directed by Harry Potter alumni David Yates with the script written by Ms. Rowling, giving us an adult image of what the Potter Universe is supposed to be.
We get the story directly from the creator of Harry Potter’s magical world.
With a thanks to computer generated images (CGI) theater goers are treated to an incredible interactions between the beasts of fantasy and the mortal realm inhabitants of New York. Unfortunately the film relies too heavily on CGI in an attempt to draw in new fans for the renewed “Harry Potter” franchise.
A prequel to the wildly successful Harry Potter stories, Fantastic Beasts introduces the evil magic that first threatened Hogwarts, as well as the human’s response to the magic around them. Rowling succeeds in creating a new line of characters that will reach a new generation of magic and fantasy fans.
The film focuses on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who has allowed beasts to escape his magical suitcase and enter the city of New York. Scamander is a shy character who cannot hold a conversation with the fellow wizards he meets as he attempts to recapture the beasts that have escaped.
Scamander is arrested by magical investigator Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and meets her mind-reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol).
The film’s villain Percival Graves, (Colin Farrell) is a high-ranking Auror and Director of Magical Security for MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America) that preys on an abused orphan, as he attempts to find a dark force that has been killing people throughout the world.
The new film creates an updated Harry Potter universe, relying on less darkness compared with the original series. Fantastic Beasts allows the audience to enter an adult world within the Potterverse. The film builds on the story of Dumbledore and current evil wizard Grindlewald (Johnny Depp).
Johnny Depp makes an appearance in this film but is given only a few lines causing us to wonder how he will perform in the next four films. We know that Depp excels at portraying fantasy characters such as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, so we can expect him to create yet another great fantasy character.
Depp does leave the audience spell bound by his mere 10 second cameo.
While the film tells the story of Newt Scamander, Rowling manages to address heated political issues like tolerance and inequality into the film. Fantastic Beasts creates an original story and will keep the attention of Harry Potter fans, while introducing new fans to the magical worlds of J.K. Rowling.
Rowling ends the film on a high note and allows her to continue her story for another four films.
What the film lacks in depth, makes up for in storytelling. The film draws the audience into a story with characters that continue to expand the Harry Potter Universe. While critics attack the film’s failure of character depth, viewers must remember this is only the first film in a series of five films.
The first film introduced us to the main characters as well as the problem they are facing. Based on the writing, the visuals and the story, watch this film in theaters instead of waiting for the Redbox release.