I have a confession to make: I’m not the biggest fan of the Harry Potter franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be into the books and movies (well, a few of the movies anyway) – but they never really grabbed me in the same way as other people I know. Having said that, I’ve always been intrigued by the universe that JK Rowling built. The wizarding world that the characters inhabited, with it’s deep history and complex society, was always more fascinating than what the super-friends got up to at school. At least it was to me.
So naturally, I’m quite interested in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – the sort-of prequel to the Harry Potter films that’s set in 1920s New York. The movie follows the exploits of the ridiculously named Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), a zoologist who deals with magical animals and who is the author of a book from the Harry Potter universe. He travels to New York to do… something, and appears to collect ‘fantastic beasts’ in a suitcase for… reasons. Yeah, the trailer doesn’t give much a way in terms of story, but from the looks of it some or all of these creatures escape and it’s up to Newt and a group of wizards and witches to round them up again.
Yeah, as you can probably tell, the trailer doesn’t reveal much about the story at all. We hear Colin Farrell’s character, Percival Graves, interrogate Newt about his motives and his backstory (from this we learn that Scamander was kicked out of Hogwarts for ‘endangering human life’… which is probably fair enough); we get glimpses of what looks like an American version of the Ministry of Magic; and we see lots and lots of suitcase action.Yes the suitcase plays a key role in the movie – fulfilling any function that the narrative demands. In the trailer we see it being used as a mobile zoo, office and as carry on luggage. It’s unclear how the creatures escape – but my bet is that it gets stolen… possibly by muggles… hopefully by the Mafia. I just thought of that now, but I will be genuinely disappointed if that doesn’t happen.
One thing that bugs me about this movie is that it’ll apparently be the first installment of a trilogy – because of course it has to be a trilogy. As I mentioned in a different article, Warner Bros. are going all in on this one. It’s one of the studio’s big franchise titles that they’re choosing to focus on, so they want a real big pay day. Because that’s worked all the other times they’ve tried it…
Anyway, despite the fact that it didn’t give much away – and bearing in mind that it’s still a bit early to start passing judgments on the movie – this trailer was certainly intriguing. I said I wasn’t the biggest fan of this universe, but I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about it.