A new film based on a short booklet titled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J.K. Rowling is scheduled to come out later this year, but is it a good idea to re-visit the Harry Potter world once again on screen?
Here are five reasons why it may not be:
I. Re-visiting: although Rowling is confirmed as a scriptwriter for the upcoming movie, who would really ensure that the Harry Potter world would not be “meddled with” or changed unnecessarily in the film? Even the author herself could not provide that assurance. Every re-visiting of the Harry Potter world has its consequences, and, due to the nature of the film, there will be many additions introduced to the Harry Potter world. For example, it has been confirmed that there will be additions to the wizarding world language and culture as it is presented in the U.S. The bottom line is that the Harry Potter books may not be read the same anymore, whether the change is welcoming or not.
II. David Yates: I have argued before (see my post from 15 January 2012: “Harry Potter” Films) why the first two Harry Potter movies should be regarded as the best, but the problem with the later Harry Potter movies is not only their adaptation. David Yates has directed the last four Harry Potter movies and the reassuring thing is that the man has quite experience in the field. The bad news is that Yates’ Harry Potter instalments are far from perfect. For children’s books adaptations, his movies are too grim – both in the colour and the content – and way too hastily moving forward.
III. Purpose: The Harry Potter books were written with children and teenagers in mind, and, therefore, fun should be part of the game. Instead, what the later Harry Potter instalments, as well as the forthcoming film, try to do is to almost re-enact the World War II scenarios. Seemingly, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will star few if any children. Aren’t we defeating the whole purpose of the Harry Potter world?
IV. Adapted book: the movie-makers have a very thin booklet to base the story on. The booklet primarily describes the habitat and behaviour of magical creatures. This means that a lot of new story-telling will fall on Rowling yet again. This also means – see point 1 – that new stuff have to be invented for this film, complete with characters, institutional bodies, and yes, links with the Harry Potter world described in the previous seven books.
V. Future developments: there will inevitably be future developments after “the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” movie. This is not a one-off movie, and the production has already confirmed two other movies in sequence which will come out in 2018 and 2020 respectively. Why is this a problem? Well, the more you temper with the magical world of Harry Potter, the more damage you inevitably make. There is little sense, apart from some monetary gain, in making “Severus Snape and the Marauders” (2016) short film, or even a West End play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child“ (2016). And, yet, both are the current confirmed productions.
Set in New York, year 1926, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016) stars Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman and Katherine Waterston, among others, and is scheduled for release on 18 November 2016 (UK).