The time has come when i feel like everyone who wants to has read or seen Fantastic Beasts by J.K. Rowling. It has easily been one of the biggest movies of the year as we were thrust back in to the Wizarding World, something we have all be hoping for, for a long time. I managed to see the movie during the first weekend of its release, and i’ve recently just finished the screenplay. Here are my thoughts on both of them, what i liked and didn’t and what my hopes are for this world! (Contains spoilers).
First of all, i couldn’t be the only person who was disappointed by the screenplay that was released? I was really hoping for a novel from this story. I would have loved full length novel of Newt’s story with Tina and Jacob. However all we got was a lowly screenplay. Admittedly, i adore reading screenplays, and am a keen script writer myself, so in some ways having J.K. Rowling write a script as inspiration really did help. On the other hand, i was a little disappointed i’d have the exact script from the movie, i would have liked a few extra bits written in to the book or vise versa. Keeping that in mind, i still really enjoyed reading the story.
One thing that i noticed about the story as i watched the movie (and to some extent reading it) was that a lot seemed to happen in a short amount of time, but similarly, nothing really happened. For those unaware, the story follows Newt Scamander as he travels to New York in the hope of releasing one of his magical beasts back to Arizona. In the mean time, he meets some fellow wizards as more of his beasts escape in to the city, and also a very friendly no-maj. I really enjoyed the fact that Rowling managed to write a full story out of such a small companion novel to the Harry Potter series. That was done really well i thought. But back to my original point, that i did feel like there was a lot that had happened, and a lot to keep up with, but at the same time by the end the story had barely set off.
I found the casting of the movie to be magnificent. Eddie Redmayne is one of my favourite actors of all time (so maybe i’m bias), and he truly did the role of Newt justice. He played a very believable Hufflepuff and i enjoyed his characterisation. Simiarly the other castings were very impressive. My one little downside to this was by the end the movie felt very ‘Hollywood’ compared to the Harry Potter series. I’m well aware that this is now a well established franchise that can afford to use some more well known actors, however i felt a little like it was trying to be something it isn’t.
The best thing about the whole story for me is the fact it feels so much more than Harry Potter. It feels ‘grown up’ and magical and more sophisticated than the other seven stories have done. It has a very similar feel to The Cursed Child, and i think many of the older Harry Potter fans will love that aspect.
The main downside to the screenplay was that i felt reading it as if i wouldn’t understand it if i had not seen the movie first. The story is very reliant on the visual aspects i think, and obviously while you’re reading the screenplay there are no visuals to rely on. I’m sure there are many people who will just read the screenplay, but you cannot imagine the characters fully, or the beasts that are roaming around often. It also heavily relies on magical aspects differently to Harry Potter. As these are older witches and wizards, they are not always voicing the spells, leaving us to watch what happens. Rowling i felt did not describe stage directions very well.
I’m happy that i ended up watching the movie before reading the screenplay. It let me reminisce on the story and imagine it in my head as i read through the book. I will always be able to go back to the screenplay and read odd parts that i enjoyed, and that is a major plus point in the ease of reading a screenplay. However i do think with the nature of the story, the movie is definitely not to be missed and is a much better version of the story.
I could go on and on about my opinions on this story, certain castings, the writing, the continuation of the next four movies, but i don’t want to make this post way too long. Let’s have a chat in the comments about it, let me know what you liked about it and didn’t like about it. Your favourite castings and ones you didn’t like too much. Also let me know what you think about the next four movies!