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Fantastic Beasts Live - a Review

Film Event Review by Chris Olson

Fantastic Beasts Live

The cinematic hills are alive with the sound of magic. Yes the wizarding world of J. K. Rowling's creation is back, and everyone is losing their minds with excitement. How does UK Film Review know this? Well we attended the recent Fantastic Beasts Live event, a global link-up to celebrate the film's release whereby audiences were treated to a small glimpse of the film along with some special guests.

In attendance were most of the movie's cast. In London fans were joined by Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol & Dan Fogler . Whilst in the U.S. Jon Voight and Colin Farrell were on hand to offer some delightful banter.

So what did we learn?

The first thing which was evident from the uproarious crowd was that the appetite for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film is larger than Hagrid sat atop Hogwarts...blown up like Aunt Petunia. Cinemas from across the globe were shown with packed audiences who screamed and waved like the kick-off of the Quidditch World Cup (if you are wondering if the Harry Potter Puns are going to stop, the answer is jog on muggle).

When asked about the film and their characters, the cast were politely honest but guarded with their answers. Obviously reticent about revealing any sworn secrets under punishment of an Azkaban sentence, but also respecting the huge passion surrounding these stories and Rowling's source material. Redmayne in particular was disarmingly excitable about the film, the fans, and the "tremendous pressure" surrounding the role. His praise of the filmmakers, director David Yates and producer David Heyman (also in attendance), saying he was impressed how they made this "gigantic experience feel like an intimate movie". The actor, who plays the lead role of Newt Scamander, further went on to praise J. K. Rowling's script, when he said "which, for me, was the most astoundingly fully formed script I have ever read".

Other players in the film were on hand to put in their comments about the movie's intimidating presence, but also how they felt completely overwhelmed by the enthusiastic audience. Katherine Waterson, fellow co-star, said she was surprised by the "level of involvement" they were allowed to have. Waterson went on to describe the exciting process of choosing her wand - something every wanna-be-wizard and witch has surely dreamt of.

Colin Farrell in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Colin Farrell, who plays Percival Graves, had a lot to say about his character's storyline. That it was "running parallel" to that of Redmayne's, saying that he "enjoyed the level of mystery" about Graves.

The big reveal

Whilst many of these "reveals" were eagerly scooped up by the audience, it wasn't until Yates started speaking about the future of the franchise, that we would next see Newt "in another capital city", and another chair was ceremoniously brought to the stage that the buzz grew into a palpable air. Especially when it became clear that the chair was for none other than Rowling herself. To rapturous applause the author greeted the London audience and the cast and crew on stage with unfaltering grace whilst obviously soaking up the atmosphere that must have been so reminiscent of the Potter films of yesteryear.

Which brings us on to the biggest news of the Fantastic Beasts Live event. Rowling sheepishly revealed that "they always knew it would be more than one film, and that a trilogy was a placeholder" and that after working on all the story she was "pretty sure it's going to be five movies".

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The roof exploded like Xenophilius Lovegood's house when the Death Eaters blasted the crap out of it, and fans, many of whom had come dressed as wizarding characters, erupted into cheering and applause.

So with that came the preview of the film which lasted all of about ten minutes. Not much more than a long trailer but still packed with an aesthetically pleasing period piece, with intriguing characters and the cheeky tone that will certainly appeal to young and old. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will certainly find a huge box office audience, but there is a degree of uncertainty still whether audiences will take to these new characters.

We wait with baited breath...much like Hermione on the bottom of that lake (we regret none of these references).

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