Photo courtesy of ScreenRant.com
Starting off as a textbook used by Harry Potter, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is now the ninth film set in the wizarding world. Although J.K. Rowling is finished writing about Harry Potter, her latest film proves she isn’t quite ready to let go of the magical world she has created.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” takes place 60 years before Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts, in the 1920’s, and is set in New York City. In the movie, Newt Scamander, an English wizard played by Eddie Redmayne, arrives in America to set one of his many magical creatures free in the wild. However, in his first moments there, some of his other animals escape. In the process of capturing his beasts, someone starts killing humans and he is immediately blamed.
Being a huge fan of both the “Harry Potter” books and movies, I was excited to go and see this latest production. Expecting another movie similar to those in the “Harry Potter” series, I was a little disappointed in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Although this film is considered a prequel, I had to come to terms with the fact that the movie was just taking place in the same world that Harry Potter lived in rather than mirroring his world.
The differences however, weren’t all bad. Because this film takes place in New York, J.K. Rowling introduces the American school of magic, Ilvermorny, as well as the American version of the Ministry of Magic, MACUSA, two things only briefly mentioned in the “Harry Potter” series. Also, the differences between American and English wizards were highlighted showing that not every wizard is like Harry Potter.
Besides the different characters and the different setting, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” took on a very different tone than the previous films. It was a lot darker and had some horror aspects at some parts. Being used to the light conquering dark theme in the “Harry Potter” films, this came as quite a shock. Scamander, however, offered a bright and funny contrast to an otherwise dark plot.
One of the things that this film did well was showcase the magical creatures J.K. Rowling dreamt up. Besides the dragons and hippogriffs from the previous movies, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” introduced creatures from all over the world that Scamander has collected during his travels. The thing I appreciate about all of the creatures is that some resemble real animals, but J.K. Rowling is able to put a twist on them so they easily fold into her world.
J.K. Rowling has said that “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is the first out of five films she plans to create which will cover a 19 year span leading up to the finale of the global wizarding war. With big shoes to fill, Rowling is currently focused on the second film which is planned to be released on Nov. 16, 2018.