On the 18th of November, we spontaneously went to see Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them at the Odeon in Leicester Square. We didn't expect to get tickets at the very cinema it premiered at, let alone on the opening day! I'm a *huge* Harry Potter fan, like most of my generation I grew up with the Wizarding World: it shaped my childhood and even my teenage years. Since the last Harry Potter book & final film, I have visited the Warner Bros Studio Tour on numerous occasions, and was even lucky enough to visit the incredible Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Needless to say it's still a huge part of my life, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Fantastic Beasts is more than a film about incredible creatures and magic. The main topic of the film is that of acceptance. Accepting who you are, who your friends are. Embracing it. Being kind to one another, friends, strangers and no-majs alike. It's a commentary on social & political issues that easily mirror our own. Most importantly, it's about tolerance, bigotry and fear which are the very foundation of the story.
When I walked out of the cinema, I felt so alive and positive despite some of the dark tones in the film. But there were so many epic, funny, happy, heart-breaking and awe-inspiring moments throughout. Visually stunning, it also felt well paced despite the various plot lines (I personally disagree with some critics who felt that the film was too 'cramped') and introducing a new wizard lead played by the incredible Eddie Redmayne, offering some interesting glimpses into his personal life that we will know doubt learn more about in the future. (My love for Newt grows by the day.)
If anything, Fantastic Beasts is full of potential, leaving a number of doors open ready to explore in the following sequels, hopefully including further character development. Knowing JK Rowling, who wrote the actual screenplay, a number of threads that appeared inconsequential at first glance in this film will be woven into something even greater in the following sequels.
At the end of the day, I absolutely loved it to bits. (I actually cried of happiness when it started and we saw the logo and Newt for the first time - anyone else do the same?!) It feels like we all needed it after this year! There is so much more I want to say, I could easily write an essay about the plot, about the characters (the antagonist and Credence Barebone!!!) and various theories... But for now I'll just sit back and fight my film graduate instincts, listen to the film's soundtrack and count down the days till I see it again. In IMAX. This Thursday.