Fantastic Beasts and a new Harry Potter movie: Thanks, but no thanks.

Alright, here we go. It’s really happening. A release date has been announced, and the new Harry Potter film is coming out on 18 November 2016. By that point I will have just turned 26, so what better way than to give money to a franchise that has been entertaining me/taking all my money since when I was about 8?

I wasn’t one of the people who made a scene when the last (at least for the time being) Harry Potter film came out, mainly because I had done my end-of-an-era desperation rites when the last book had been released. I was sixteen, what better age to start with book-related traumas?

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-harry-potter-26796486-940-1370-jpgAnyway. The Harry Potter world has become a nostalgia-ridden topic for almost everyone who has been deeply involved with it at any stage in their life. My Facebook wall becomes a cryfest every time the saga is mentioned and many of my friends, even the unsuspected ones, feel like they belong to a certain House et cetera.

Despite this, even the little group of ├╝ber-faithful fans I always nerd with had quite a disappointing reaction to the announcement of the new Harry Potter universe movies, based on the life of everyone’s favourite magizoologist Newt Scamander. I mean, it’s not like we weren’t expecting it: this series is a money-making machine, so even if JK Rowling said that she wasn’t going to put any new material out (and then she did anyway, see Pottermore) it wasn’t too outrageous to think that Warner Bros would peruse their, uhm, right to the rights once more.

It’s not like the first eight films (!!!) were made just for the fun of it, but this feels as forced as a new Star Wars trilogy. Or The Hobbit, which for some reason (money, duh) is also a trilogy. It’s something that no one really wanted, but it’s happening and we will just have to roll with it.

It just doesn’t make sense to make a book out of an encyclopedia like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It would be a David Attenborough documentary with unicorns, and WB seems to be going with a narrative angle rather than a dragon Springwatch.

Our main guy Newt
Our main guy Newt, looking lively in his Hogwarts portrait.

The fact that JK Rowling herself would be penning the script – at least for the first film – is not making me feel better about it. My main concern is that it won’t actually have to do with Harry Potter that much. This won’t necessarily make it a piece of garbage, but it’s just not what I would look for in a new installment of the series. I would want something immediately recognizable and that I already care about.

I’ve done my fair share of role playing as a teenager and let me tell you, nobody likes Care of Magical Creatures that much. Fantastic creatures are one of the least inventive parts of the Harry Potter universe, since some of them have been around for millennia, so it will be very hard to produce something specific to the universe it is taken from, rather than just a generic “magical” world.

From what has been announced, the Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them adaptation will have to do without highly recognizable elements like Hogwarts, as it will be set in 1920s New York. It won’t have any of the usual protagonists and/or side characters and/or the young version of the “adults” of the series, which would have been ace. Young Dumbledore/McGonagall? I would be all in. Or even better: something set in the ’70s, since what fans really want is something – anything – about the Marauders.

But no, we get Newt Scamander. I’m sure he was a cool wizard, but let’s be serious: the reason why he was of any relevance in the original series was because he had written a textbook. The greatest book about magical creatures to ever be written, sure, but still.

With so many interesting minor characters to develop, it’s a shame that they’re going to waste perfectly good millions of dollars on someone we never really cared that much about. And a Hufflepuff to boot.

I am ready to take this entire post back when the movie comes out and it’s bloody brilliant.


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