While the second part of the saga has been carefully teased, The Fantastic Beasts still lacks the hype they seemed to claim. After an intriguing first opus, will the second film in the saga really be able to launch what was to be the cinematic legacy of the famous wizard with glasses?
Grindelwald, Dumbledore, the Elder Wand: the first trailer of the Fantastic Beasts 2 had everything to please fans of the Harry Potteruniverse. However, the magic has still not fully worked in the hearts of the deepest Muggles. As a reminder, the first part of the saga was released at the end of 2016, while the second part will be available in cinemas from 16 November 2018. More than conquering the American box office, this new title from the head of J.K. Rowling must overcome another challenge: to definitively invest the universe of wizards and become a credible saga.
Broadcast in 2016, J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts was a long time idea. There are several reasons for this. One of the first being obviously commercial, but not far in the ranking is also the idea of continuing the magical world of Harry Potter in the cinema. However, deprived of the main heroes of his first novels who were not born at the time of the events of Fantastic Beasts, J.K. Rowling could not count on them for his first opus. Also, it had to do without many elements and finally it managed to build its own identity. Nevertheless, the result is contradictory.
While the Norbert Dragoneau crew wanted to take advantage of the popularity of the first eight films to build their own notoriety, the effect didn’t really work. Indeed, since its launch, and even since its first teasings, many fans complain that Fantastic Beasts is just an attempt, rather clumsy for some, to keep making money on a saga that is now over. For me Harry Potter ended when Voldemort was defeated,” explains Lucie, who followed the saga closely during the 2000s before totally losing. It is an unbearable Hollywood mania to always want to talk about what happens before, after, or even sometimes between events. For Harry Potter, It’s heavy, because the saga is already sincerely complex and self-sufficient.
For others, this argument is completely swept aside since the film must be seen in parallel with the Harry Potter saga.
I saw the first film and I liked it, says Clémence. The first episode is clever because it is sufficiently detached from the eight films to create its own universe. This is not a kind of cheap prequel as we have already had for other sagas. Now we’re really into something completely different. If you’ve never seen a Harry Potter – well, there would be a problem – you can still understand and enjoy Fantastic Beasts.
Indeed, this is one of the main arguments that dominates the first part of the series. Everybody finds more or less his place around the film: the fans of the first hour will appreciate the few references that remain, the others will plunge into a universe far from the world of Harry and his friends. The shadow of the cloak of invisibility of the sorcerer with glasses is not that realistic, the stake will reside in the singularity and originality of the saga.
Nevertheless, can a saga as cult as Harry Potter hide another one? History has shown that spin-offs have never managed to become more cult than the original saga. For the time being, of course, it is difficult to draw any conclusions. After only one film, one cannot know if the sauce will take, judges Lucas, especially as he barely draws the context. In the second film, we will see some characters who are already more charismatic, such as Grindelwald, this is where we will see the true potential of the saga.
When asked if he’s waiting for the second part, this fan who grew up with Harry Potter admits : Yes, really. Now I don’t know if it’s for everyone, I have the impression that the hype went down a bit after the first movie. A lot of people I know, who really like Harry Potter, haven’t particularly liked it. Indeed, this is another dominant feeling that emerges. This famous without more which proves that one can no longer judge a film independently.
On Sens Critique in any case, the score of 6.5 of Animaux Fantastiques proudly surpasses several opus of the original saga. Respectively The Order of the Phoenix (6,2), The Half-Blood Prince (6,2) and The Cup of Fire (6,4). Enough to compete with the most famous wizard? In any case, the American box office indicates the opposite. With 812.5 million dollars generated, The Fantastic Beasts surpasses only one work in the saga, the third part, The Prisoner of Azkaban and its 796.7 million dollars.
Perhaps less expected than the first of the name which benefited from the surprise of the discovery, Les Animaux Fantastiques 2 could again disappoint at the American box office.
So what solutions could allow the Fantastic Beasts to become as cult a saga as its big sister unveiled a few years before? In reality, the worst thing would surely be to talk about this legacy that is too heavy to bear. All that is needed is for Fantastic Beasts to become a coherent, enjoyable and original film series. There is no need to do better or even as good as Harry Potter. The saga is already benefiting from a more flexible manoeuvre: no books that put pressure on the directors. The work of J.K. Rowling is free and, whatever happens, will respect with precision the universe that she herself has drawn.
In the end, ten years of Harry Potter at Hogwarts is only a small part of the wizard’s world. There are a lot of things that the universe has not yet revealed and that could give rise to cinematic sagas, books or even television series. The Fantastic Beasts are just a small part of the huge legacy that awaits Harry Potter in the coming years.
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