Will ‘Fantastic Beasts’ cast a spell on audiences this fall?
As another summer comes to an end, the arrival of fall will soon be heralded by the arrival of pumpkin-flavored everything and the anticipation of the slate of movies to arrive as the temperature begins to dip.
According to a recent Fandango poll, the continuation of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” ranks as the most highly anticipated movie of the fall.
When the release date of “Fantastic Beasts” was revealed, it seemed impossibly far away. Though our Potter fix has been somewhat supplemented by Pottermore and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” we haven’t seen the Potterverse on the big screen since 2011.
Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl,” “The Theory of Everything”) stars as magizoologist Newt Scamander. While Scamander himself doesn’t appear in the original Potter series, his character is mentioned as being the author of the required textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rowling penned a companion book under Scamander’s name in 2001. The book is meant to be Harry’s copy and is complete with doodles and margin notations from Harry and Ron Weasley. The book provides insight on 85 fantastic, mythical creatures including the basilisk, acromantula and hippogriff.
The film picks up in 1926 with Scamander entering New York with a magical, Mary Poppins-esque suitcase containing magical creatures. As mentioned in trailers released thus far, Scamander has been kicked out of Hogwarts for endangering a human life with a beast. It’s revealed that future headmaster Albus Dumbledore, then a young teacher at Hogwarts, was fond of Scamander and spoke up for him prior to his expulsion.
Inevitably, upon his arrival in the Big Apple, Scamander’s creatures get loose and he is tasked with corralling them before the Muggles cause them any harm. At the same time, witches and wizards are at risk of being exposed. They and their magic beasts are being blamed for certain current events and the debate rages on whether to demonize them.
It will be interesting to see if this installment can capture the magic of the rest of the Potter cinematic universe. The film seems to be filled with plenty of Wizarding action, lots of spell casting and a bevy of fantastic creatures running amok in 20th century New York.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also stars Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Dan Fogler, Katerine Waterston and Alison Sudol. It hits theaters on Nov. 18.