What is your favorite Harry Potter film? It’s a fun game to play. There’s seven, or rather eight, to choose from. Is it the action-packed and emotional two-part final, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Or perhaps it’s Alfonso Cuaron’s addition of maturity and grittiness in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Then again, it could be the one that started it all- the world-building Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only can you consider the question based off of the plot points and cast- you can also categorize based off director, given that four different directors brought the eight-film series to the screen.
Pretty soon we will have another film to add to the discussion, with the prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them set to be released in less than a year. And if you liked any of the last four films of the series, then you probably rejoiced when it was announced that David Yates would be helming the planned trilogy, as he directed the remainder of the films starting with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. However, it seems that rather than following in Yates’ iteration of the Harry Potter story, Fantastic Beasts will be adhering more closely to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was directed by Mike Newell.
For a quick recap, Fantastic Beasts is set in New York City, seventy years before the events of Harry Potter, and follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which became one of Harry’s schoolbook. Entertainment Weekly cites executive producer David Heyman declaring that, of the previous eight films, Fantastic Beasts is “most comparable” to Goblet of Fire, even though it was not directed by Yates. Heyman adds that the new film has the “charm” of the fourth film, and goes on to say,
”Mike [Newell] talked about the fourth as being like an Indian musical — and it’s not that, but it’s got the humor of that film. It has the romantic comedy, that fish-out-of-water humor, that very human, natural character comedy… [Beasts] is very funny, it’s got a big heart, and there’s darkness too.”
The fourth film is certainly a dark turning point in the Harry Potter story line, as it sees the in-the-flesh return of Lord Vol…, I mean, He Who Must Not Be Named. It also features the death of Cedric Diggory. Beyond the darkness, it also contains the continued maturation of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and their awkwardness with a newfound appreciation of the opposite sex, as well as the fun episodic adventure that is the Triwizard Tournament.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the fourth installment, so it’s hard to envision how its sentiment would apply to Fantastic Beasts. But it does feel like the film where a lot of the exposition and mystery of the previous three movies comes together. And seeing as Fantastic Beasts is almost an introduction to a new wizarding world (taking place in an earlier time and a different place, early 20th century America) that “fish-out-of-water” approach makes sense.
Not that you needed another reason to anticipate this film, but if you were especially drawn to Goblet of Fire, you may have some competition to the question, ‘which is your favorite Harry Potter film?’