Fantastic Beasts and where to find them - Film review for blowUP media 22.11.2016

'Be warned, this is NOT a Harry Potter film'

On a rainy evening in November, while most people were probably off home to wrap up warm, I chose to spend my time far more wisely! I was off to immerse myself into the wizarding world through Warner Brother's new film - 'Fantastic Beasts and where to find them'.

I had been waiting all year for this film so by the time I arrived at the cinema my excitement was palpable. That being said, I was also still recovering from the excitement that the film was advertised on our Alfa Lava Inbound Giant Poster Site. 470sqm of magic?! Amazing.

As the lights fade to black and the film starts, I have to hold my large popcorn with both hands for fear of dropping it on hearing the forever recognisable 'Hedwig's Theme'. Who knew that Hedwig would have one of the most beautiful scores of music dedicated to him and how key it would become to the voyage into the wizarding world.

The characters come to life on screen and you start to settle yourself into Harry Potter mode. There are wizards, there are wands, but this film is a long way from its home of Hogwarts. The opening scenes (after some eerie flashes of enigma) find the protagonist, Mr Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arriving in New York City in the 1920s. He carries a slightly battered looking leather briefcase of which the lock has a bad habit of popping open.

He had barely disembarked the boat before we were all channelling our inner Brad Pitt in Seven and screaming in our heads 'WHAT'S IN THE BOX?!'. But all would soon be revealed, I just had to be patient.

As expected, the film truly detaches itself from Harry and his friends, which for some is risky business but for me was fantastic! Some would say the delight of the Potter series was the fact that it would definitely come to an end. The young bespectacled boy confused about his past would eventually graduate and live happily ever after with his Ginny. Any deviation from this opens up a world of possibility, and the dilution of such an iconic tale. So, to remove almost all traditional Potter elements from Fantastic Beasts (apart from sparing references in varying degrees of subtlety) was a gamble.

A gamble that absolutely paid off! From a fresh new selection of witches and wizards to a whole menagerie of Fantastic beasts and a new set of problems for them which had nothing to do with 'he who shall not be named', it was a masterpiece of its own making. Even when the quest for 'a young boy with dark powers and great worldly significance' was introduced, you didn't feel like it was going to turn out to be Harry Potter's dear old Grandad. Top muggle award (or No-Maj as they are referred to in New York, no magic - obvs) goes to Dan Fogler as the wannabe suave, ex-solider-turned-aspiring-baker who gets swept up in the action thanks to a classic briefcase mix-up at the bank.

Hilarious, exciting and at times a little bit terrifying, you are in good hands with the bumbling, David Attenborough of the wizarding world (Redmayne) as your magical guide. The lovely thing about the group of grown-up heroes (and villains) in this film is the fact that they are all a selection of misfits in their own way. I'd say that was the most profoundly wonderful part of this film: despite being filled with beasts; it was the human flaws of each character at the forefront that was either most beastly or most powerful about them. And despite being a film about magic and witchcraft, what you take away is a sense of pride in the innate humanness in everyone, even when that might make you slightly awkward, ditzy or downright hell bent on revenge.

Looking back at the chosen artwork for the blowUP media campaign booked by PHD and Kinetic the film makes it appear even more clever and creative. The wrapped building behind the Giant Poster has been incorporated into the design making it look like the characters were bursting through the Giant Poster and into London. Given that the entire film takes place in built-up, industrial New York it's extremely relevant as well as being a great example of how using the context of a piece of advertising can strengthen it completely.

As I left the cinema, I walked down the road reliving the film, wishing I had bought a wand when I had the chance!

***** - Five stars.

Kim-Alexis Georgiou