Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
4.0Overall Score

By Michelle Chu | Photography Fair Use

The anticipated movie of yet another return to the Wizarding World is here. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens in Europe with an incident concerning Gellert Grindelwald, who Harry Potter fans may remember as Albus Dumbledore’s friend-turned-foe. There was much concern about how author J.K. Rowling would join the two stories without damaging the beloved Harry Potter series, but she managed to pull it off well.

After the opening scene, the story shifts instantaneously to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), magizoologist and future author of the textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The scatterbrained but caring British scientist travels to the United States with only his enchanted suitcase, similar to Hermione’s bottomless bag in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

As Rowlings’ first screenplay, “Fantastic Beasts” is a lovely addition to the seven-part Harry Potter series and sorta-sequel theatrical play. With casual references to Hogwarts and Dumbledore, the movie treats Harry Potter fans of the nostalgic memory but also adds a new layer of the wizarding world with American wizard slang, such calling non-magic people “no-majs” rather than Muggles.

With casual references to Hogwarts and Dumbledore, the movie treats Harry Potter fans of the nostalgic memory but also adds a new layer of the wizarding world with American wizard slang, such calling non-magic people “no-majs” rather than Muggles.

The director’s choice of dark gray scenery adds a nice contrast to the whimsical world inside Scamander’s briefcase. Descriptions from Rowlings’ original book come to life on the screen as we meet the mythical beasts such as nifflers, bowtruckles and an obscurus. Our wonder is parallel to no-maj Jack Kowalski (Dan Fogler) as he stumbles through the different worlds.

Still, as the time lapse between the publication of the original Harry Potter series and Rowling’s new content widens, the real magic will be if she can stretch the plot into four more movies. Scamander’s storyline seemed to be completed by the end of the movie and it seems like the upcoming movies will be diving more into the politics of the Wizarding World. But Rowling is still doing what she does best by staying in the Harry Potter world, and we can only hope that the magic continues.

Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Director: David Yates

Release Date: Nov. 18, 2016

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