The first in a new series of Harry Potter spin-off movies, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is generating a huge amount of buzz ahead of its release next month. The film follows the adventures of wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who wrote one of the magical textbooks that we saw in the Harry Potter films. Set in New York in the 1920s, the story introduces fans to the North American magical community in a brand new adventure that was recently confirmed to be the first in a five-film series.
With less than a month until the film hits screens across the nation, Warner Brothers is releasing the final few teasers and TV spots for Fantastic Beasts – including a brand new one that focuses on the darker elements of the upcoming film.
This is the eighth TV spot for the movie, titled simply ‘Contain’. The short clip (just under 30 seconds) focuses on the threat that Scamander and the New York wizards will be facing. Over images of dark beasts, streets and rooms being ripped up, swirling clouds of dark smoke, and wizards ready to battle, various characters have lines that emphasize the danger present in this magical world. “Where there is light, there is shadow.” “Danger. He senses danger.” “Something is stalking our city.” “Whatever it is, it must be stopped. It could mean war. Contain this.” and “I won’t let another one die.” The clip features most of the main cast, as well as the classic Harry Potter theme music.
This dark tone is strikingly different from the previous trailers and tv spots, most of which focus on the lighter side of the movie. Earlier spots balance out the more dangerous parts with enchantment and the reveal of new magical creatures and the magical community on this side of the pond. Despite this, not much new has been revealed with this spot, and some of the lines have been heard before – it’s the combination of ominous words and scenes that give ‘Contain’ it’s dark feel.
It’s interesting to see the film presented in this way, and reassuring to those fans who don’t want Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them to be a ‘kids movie’. Although the earliest of the Harry Potter movies are very family-friendly, with an emphasis on wonder and friendship, the later offerings were definitely darker and more adult. Although Fantastic Beasts is a prequel, it is being released long after the original fans of the franchise have grown up, and would be more interested in a complex and occasionally dangerous story. It makes sense to balance out the wonder at this new world with some more violent and frightening scenes, and reassures fans that this is not aimed at young children or likely to be too childish for existing, adult fans.
However, some (especially those with young children) may be concerned that this looks a little too frightening, or that the movie is attempting to go down the path of ‘dark and gritty’. It’s a tonal choice that hasn’t always worked in other franchises – and has divided the DC Comics fandom right down the middle. However, it’s clear from the other TV spots that there is plenty of lighthearted humor and enchantment in the film as well, and that the darkness in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them will always be balanced out by light.