This last weekend saw the release of the first series in a Harry Potter prequel run. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first of five (five!) movies that will bridge the timeline between the World Wars 1 and 2, a chunk of time that parallels the rise of the darkest wizard of all in Potterlore, Gellert Grendelwald. This, of course, basically makes this series the Potter version of the cinematic Hobbit movies and Star Wars prequels. The question is, whether or not this series meet the same critical reaction.
I went into the movie rather hopeful. Review had been pretty good. And because the Potter movies were well done, I wasn’t particularly concerned with the overall story. And while I enjoyed the movie, it didn’t quite reach levels of “fantastic” for me. The lead female character was a bit too stand-offish for me. Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander was a bit too quirky (all while being a bit too bland). The dark tone of much of the movie was also a little off-putting for me. Harry Potter was plenty dark, but there were some fun relational dynamics (and a sense of hope) that kept things floating along.
Having said that, I do find myself interested in seeing where the story goes next. I can’t imagine five (five!) entries to the series. That seems a bit much, really. And I’m curious to see how the titles and main characters and casting evolve over time.
On-the-side reading is often fun when it comes to Harry Potter. Here’s an article intending to point out the (potentially) growing divisions between Potter fan factions. It could be a perfect example of some millennial mindsets. And here’s a quick “review” of the movie from Alan Jacobs, whose reflections on the Potter books were almost as intriguing as the books themselves.
(image from ew.com)