Push­ing Pot­ter’s mag­i­cal world into a new era

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

HARRY POT­TER fans will be wel­comed back to the wiz­ard­ing world next week with cute and mis­chievous mag­i­cal crea­tures caus­ing havoc in New York City in Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but there’s a deeper, darker un­rest in the mag­i­cal world.

Fan­tas­tic Beasts, open­ing in US cine­mas this Fri­day (Thurs­day in Malaysia), is the first of five new films from Harry Pot­ter author J.K. Rowling, penned ex­clu­sively for the big screen and pre­ced­ing the Pot­ter sto­ries by around seven decades.

Set in 1926, the film cen­tres on Os­car-win­ning Ed­die Red­mayne’s Newt Sca­man­der ( right), an in­tro­verted ‘ma­g­i­zo­ol­o­gist’ who ar­rives in Man­hat­tan with a case full of mag­i­cal crea­tures that quickly es­cape.

Red­mayne, 34, said he and Rowling had a “riv­et­ing” dis­cus­sion on the quirks and man­ner­isms that would de­fine Sca­man­der.

“Get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to talk to an author about where her char­ac­ters come from is so unique. And for her, Newt comes from a re­ally per­sonal place, ac­tu­ally,” Red­mayne told Reuters.

“It was re­ally lovely to hear about his ge­nius in her imag­i­na­tion,” he added.

Warner Bros’ Fan­tas­tic Beasts be­gins with news­pa­per head­lines doc­u­ment­ing the grow­ing power of a dark wiz­ard named Gellert Grindel­wald and fear and un­rest among the mag­i­cal com­mu­nity.

It echoes the rise of the dark wiz­ard Volde­mort in Rowling’s Pot­ter sto­ries.

Sca­man­der’s es­caped crea­tures threaten to ex­pose the wiz­ard­ing world, which lives dis­creetly among oblivious non-magic hu­mans.

Mean­while, Man­hat­tan homes are be­ing de­mol­ished by an un­seen crea­ture, caus­ing non­magic hu­mans to spec­u­late and fear that witches live among them.

Sca­man­der be­comes a sus­pect for the mag­i­cal min­istry, but he is helped by min­istry agent Tina Gold­stein, her mind-read­ing sis­ter Quee­nie, and a non-mag­i­cal baker named Ja­cob Kowal­ski to re­cap­ture his crea­tures.

Sca­man­der’s story is wo­ven into the grow­ing in­flu­ence of Grindel­wald, who be­lieves that the wiz­ard­ing world should rule over non-mag­i­cal hu­mans.

Pot­ter fans will know Grindel­wald from his friend­ship and even­tual 1945 duel with pop­u­lar wiz­ard head­mas­ter Al­bus Dum­ble­dore.

“There is a lot of dark­ness that is com­ing up and also the char­ac­ters – you see them grow­ing so much through­out the film and there is still so much room for them to grow,” said Ali­son Su­dol, who plays Quee­nie.

“It will be re­ally in­ter­est­ing to see, when you spend more time with them, how they will change, how they’ll evolve. When they find their way, will they lose it?” Su­dol said. – Reuters

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