Another of the major trailers to be released at San Diego Comic Con, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the ninth film in the Harry Potter sequence and the first not to feature the main characters, the first in a prequel trilogy inspired by the book of the same name but set decades before the murder of James and Lily Potter and the acceptance of their orphaned son into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the rise of He Who Cannot Be Named.
The fifth film in the universe to be directed by David Yates, most recently responsible for wrangling vines in The Legend of Tarzan, but the first to be scripted by series creator J K Rowling herself and stars Jupiter Ascending‘s Eddie Redmayne as Newton Artemis Fido “Newt” Scamander, author of the eponymous textbook, a magizoologist whose later career career includes the Office of House-elf Relocation and the creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947, but this is 1926 and that remains in his future.
For now, Newt is attending the Magical Congress of the United States of America, carrying with him a briefcase which houses a number of dangerous creatures, which should they escape and be seen by those of the non-magical world, will have a devastating effect on the relationship of the Wizarding and Muggle worlds.
Also starring Inherent Vice‘s Katherine Waterston, soon to be seen in Alien: Covenant, Europa Report‘s Dan Fogler, The Lobster’s Colin Farrell, Minority Report‘s Samantha Morton, Mission: Impossible‘s Jon Voight and Pacific Rim‘s Ron Perlman, the first full trailer has been viewed by the team who are cautiously intrigued.
Dario Persechino – Like the first teaser this looks to present a beautiful world of 1920’s America with the addition of magical creatures, two things I’m very fond of coming together and it does look very pretty.
A mostly strong cast led by Eddie Redmayne including Jon Voight and Ron Perlman seems highly watchable, the weak link being Colin Farrell. The trailer doesn’t let him speak so perhaps we will be fortunate and he won’t go “full Bullseye” in it.
If it can avoid that pitfall and the prequel curse of too much foreshadowing then it could be a good addition to the Harry Potter movie world.
Maggie Symon – Probably the music gave it the Harry Potter feel from the starts. Could be worth a watch.
Adam Dworak – Love it! Love it! Love it! That trailer just made me realise how much I miss Harry Potter. In both its forms, books and movies, Harry Potter was an amazing experience which inspired millions. We need more Potter, but this is the next best thing!
This trailer ticks all the right boxes – a fantastic cast, an amazing story and on top of that it looks great. I am glad this movie is directed by David Yates who knows Harry’s world and will preserve the continuity of the Potterverse. I hope we’ll be able meet some characters from the previous movies – maybe Dumbledore who was born in 1800 or Mrs Riddle, expecting a child…
Michael Flett – I’m not a Potter fan. I’ve seen all of them once; the only two I’ve tried to watch a second time I was bored by. They’re just a bit too twee for me, and the later ones where the books became bricks were unwieldy, indulgent and unavoidably dull. The only one I can genuinely say I enjoyed was The Prisoner of Azkaban, likely as it was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, but since he moved on to give us Children of Men and Gravity I’m not complaining about his later lack of Wizardry.
I’ll also admit I’ve never read the books; they never appealed to me when they first came out even if I hadn’t been to busy, and I certainly have no interest now, though as I have said often all praise is due to J K Rowling for getting a whole generation of children excited about reading, a pasttime which I never imagined would enjoy a resurgence in my lifetime.
I do like Colin, but I admit I find Eddie a bit hard to take having seen Jupiter Ascending where he spent most of the time hysterical in a frock before being beaten to death by Mila Kunis as she screamed “I’m not your mother.” Everyone knows he really got the Academy Award for that, even though for the sake of appearances they had to say it was for The Theory of Everything.
The styling is utterly Potter, which could be good or bad. It will maintain consistency – unsurprising since it’s Yates directing – but we’re in the new world, so it also needs something fresh, a spin. It’s also wide open, not being tied directly to a novel but to an in-universe reference manual, which means J K can go wherever she wants with the story without having to be slavishly tied to an already published story or an endgame planned years before, and certainly with magnificent beasts let loose in the city that certainly seems to be the plan.
It’s aiming for the Christmas crowd, as the Potter films always do, so I suspect it will play it safe and stick with the formula: there will be lots of wow, there will be peril, there will be true life lessons in friendship and honour and doing the right thing, and though there will be sadness there will be a slightly bittersweet victory, a triumph tinged with the sadness of what could not be and that which was lost.
I’ll not be rushing to see it, but it doesn’t take a genius to see this will be a colossal hit, which Warners likely need since they had a Hobbit shaped hole last festive season.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled to be released on 18th November, 2016