Gotta Catch-em all in the Wizarding World
Any Harry Potter or fantasy fan would enjoy this movie. It’s a bit slow and awkward in the beginning, but it makes up for it in its characters humor and chemistry by the end
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had its North American debut on Nov. 18, 2016. This is the first film I’ve seen in the Harry Potter Universe that I didn’t read the book before the seeing the film. Admittedly, I had no genuine interest to see it as I have an aversion to spin-offs. After being enticed by trailers on Facebook, I went to see it. After all, the Harry Potter universe is absolutely in my top three of all nerd fandoms (sorted into Slytherin according to Pottermore, thank you very much).
Eddie Redmayne plays the unassuming Newt Scamander in the title role. Aptly stated by fellow Nerd Caster, Joe, Newt is kind of a Pokémon catcher in the 1920’s Wizarding World. As opposed to Poké Balls, Newt chooses to keep his findings in a suitcase similar in look to fellow Muggle’s (or No-maj, why isn’t it No-mag?) suitcase, Jacob Kowalski, who meets Newt in a bank whilst applying for a bank loan to open a bakery. Newt is just trying to recapture his Niffler who is up to all sorts of mischief.
Eventually, this mischief leads to a switching of the cases and Jacob seeing more than he should (totally didn’t see that coming). Newt is taken in by the demoted Auror, Tina who is quickly dismissed as the Madame President has more important matters to worry about than an unregistered wizard and his carpet bag of creatures. Can I say that I thoroughly appreciate a woman in power in the 1920’s American Wizarding World? The Wizarding World seems so backwards but has a female president while its Muggle counterpart only allowed women the right to vote in the same decade.
The adventure ensues and leads to Jacob mutually falling in love with Tina’s Legilimens sister, Mary-Lou, and the quad (Newt, Jacob, Tina and Mary-Lou) foiling a plot set by (gasp!) Gellert Grindelwald himself.
Much is still unknown about Newt’s past, and while I found him incredibly exasperating in the beginning of the film, his love for his creatures and earnest personality endeared him to me at the end. He is also not much of a Pokémon trainer, he would be more of a breeder.
Jacob is still by far my favorite character though. He takes all the misadventures in stride, and had me rooting for him (and Mary-Lou) in the end. The movie itself feels like a Harry Potter film with its cinematography, lore and soundtrack all befitting the popular franchise. It still holds up on its own, however. The characters are not children, first-off. As I am now an adult, these characters are a little more relatable than magical children getting up to trouble in a boarding school.
Any Harry Potter or fantasy fan would enjoy this movie. It’s a bit slow and awkward in the beginning, but it makes up for it in its characters humor and chemistry by the end. I may now have to read the actual book before Fantastic Beasts 2.
IMAGE: Source – Warner Bros. Pictures | www.fantasticbeasts.com
Update: Due to being so thoroughly uneducated about the series, I had not realized Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them was a textbook-like book written by Newt Scamander and the film tells his story. Therefore, while I may benefit from reading it prior to Fantastic Beasts 2, it won’t tell me anything new about the characters or the story as I previously thought. Please excuse this and also where I mention it in the podcast.
I’m being asked so many good questions about story & characters in #FantasticBeasts. If I can’t answer, it’s bc we have 4 movies to go!
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 21, 2016