So, here we are, with a return to the wizarding world no one could have seen coming. If you were like me, you thought your journey to the wizarding world ended with the release of the final Harry Potter movie. Any journey after that was simply a return. You were revisiting the stories and the characters, but there were no new words to digest. Sure, you may have learnt new things, but the core material was still the same.
I think this is why I was so excited about the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Everyone who knows me, even a little, knows I love Harry Potter. Those close to me have a bit of a better idea just how much. Essentially, it boils down to my belief that I would not be the person I am today had I not read the Harry Potter novels when I was young.
My love for Harry Potter, however, has made me nervous about any additional forays into that world. While I so hoped I would love The Cursed Child—I did not. So even though I was very excited for Fantastic Beasts, a small part of me was nervous that I would not like it. This, I think, would have really hurt.
I need not have worried. I was hooked from the moment the film started. The flashes, the music…the magic. I would not have changed it. Well, okay, this is not strictly true. There is one thing I might change if I could, but I am trying to enjoy this world. But I will get to that a little later.
After watching the film and reading the script, I have concluded that Eddie Redmayne was the perfect choice for Newt Scamander. I would not want to change him out for anyone. From my research since, I discovered some people wanted Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) to play the role, but I think Newt would have appeared too much like the Doctor that way. I mean, technically those similarities still exist, but with Matt in the role they would have been overwhelming. This would have taken me out of the magic of the film if I saw Matt on the screen. I am sure he would have been good, but I would still choose Eddie over him.
Eddie disappeared into this role. When I watched the film, I was not watching him. I was watching Newt.
Newt Scamander is a wonderful character. I love his quiet, awkward nature. The way he acts around people is the way I feel, whether I show it or not. But beyond that, I love how he cares for these magical creatures. His interactions onscreen are astonishing. His kindness and desire to show other wizards they should not kill or even fear the creatures is…captivating. I need to withhold my final judgment until I see more of Newt, but at this point, I think I can safely assume he is among my favourite characters in the wizarding world. Only time will tell if he takes the top spot.
The magical creatures themselves were stunningly made. I love the Niffler—he was hilarious—as well as Pickett, the bowtruckle (there is a great moment near the end with Pickett). There are, of course, other fantastic beasts in the film. All of them live up to my imagination.
This film raised many theories both about aspects of Harry Potter canon I already know as well as about some pieces about the future of this film franchise. I will probably come up with more the longer I think about the film and, let’s face it, read the script multiple times. I am so tempted to return to the theatre to watch the film a second time—something I have never done before. The magic, my friends, was that strong.
Now for the final thing I want to mention about the movie. I would write more, but I could probably go on forever and I want to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. However, in order for me to explain the last bit well, I do have to spoil part of the film. If you do not want to know anything (though I suspect you have likely seen the movie if you are still reading), stop now (do not scroll past the picture).
A few days before I saw the film, I found out that Johnny Depp would be in the movie in a mystery role. Of course, as we know, the role was revealed not long after. This is where the spoiler comes: Johnny Depp is playing Gellert Grindelwald. From what I gather, this will be quite the big role in the remaining four Fantastic Beasts films. This one took place in 1926, and I heard these films will take us to 1945. If that year sounds important to you in terms of the Harry Potter universe, it should. That is the year Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald. So, I imagine the backdrop behind all of these films will be of Grindelwald and the wizarding war he caused.
I have no issues with Grindelwald being in the films. The issue I have is with Johnny Depp’s casting. I have been a fan of his work—particularly Pirates of the Caribbean—in the past, but there are still two issues. One, I am struggling with how to react and what to believe regarding the media storm with him and Amber Heard. My feelings on that are too complicated to discuss here, but I know they have at least made me a little uncomfortable with him in these movies, regardless of the true story behind the media storm.
The other thing is I am nervous about how his style of acting will apply to Grindelwald as a character. As another dark wizard, I see him as being quite similar to Lord Voldemort, and I just do not see Depp as a good fit for Grindelwald as Ralph Fiennes was as Voldemort. With all of this said though, I am hopeful I do not see Johnny Depp on my screen when I watch the future Fantastic Beasts films. I hope I only see Grindelwald, a terrifying dark wizard.
Have you seen Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them yet? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!