Let me admit (gasp) I am not a Harry Potter fan. I have never read the books nor seen the films. I did try the first book and quickly lost interest but I appreciate the author’s skill and popularity.
I wasn’t expecting Fantastic Beasts to be my thing but I do like Eddie Redmayne, (although I wasn’t convinced by him in the TV adaptation of Birdsong)so it was worth a punt. Playing Newt Scamander, Redmayne talks mainly to his boots as many have commented, but somehow he is charming in his awkwardness as a magizoologist, which is a whole new word. As a Guardian reviewer noted:
When he tells Tina (Katherine Waterston) that she has pupils like a salamander, you wonder when he managed to make eye contact long enough to notice.
The special effects are stunning, though I cannot begin to fully believe I followed the plot or the genealogical links. It strikes me as so complicated that probably only a child could truly understand it.
I think the plot is that Dumbledore enlists Newt to stop Grindelwald creating pureblood wizards to take over the world, but don’t take my word for it. It is ultimately a tussle between the forces of good and evil which obviously occupy both ends of the light/dark dichotomy, else it really wouldn’t work. It’s all rather noir in the filming, which was capable of sending me to sleep. Let there be light!
Pluses: Jude Law is quite a dashing younger Albus Dumbledore, while Johnny Depp continues to be a decent actor, known by his razor-sharp cheekbones, but his Grindelwald is no likeable Jack Sparrow.
The film had its moments but went on a bit, I felt. That said, if you like this kind of thing, you’ll probably enjoy it. I suspect I simply lack imagination and should have seen Fantastic Beasts 1 to be in with a chance, really. Apparently, J.K.Rowling anticipates 5 of these films, so it’s a bit of a marathon to work your way through them all.
It’s on at The Rebel at 16.55 and 20.00 all week til Thursday.