In March of 2001, world famous Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them under the pseudonym Newt Scamander. While the book was written as a textbook for Hogwarts students, Rowling then created a screenplay about Newt Scamander and his adventures with all the beasts from “his” book. The movie, set in the 1920’s, follows Newt Scamander around bustling New York as he captures his beasts that were accidentally released into the city.
Released on Nov. 18, the movie Fantastics Beast and Where to Find Them grossed 75 million dollars during its opening weekend, a sad comparison to the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, which made 90 million on its opening weekend according to The Numbers website. This new addition to the franchise still is able to capture the feelings of the first four movies in the Harry Potter series.
Lighthearted humor with underlying dark tones, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them emulates Harry Potter in the early years. Fantastic Beasts has all the magic of the previous films from the franchise. The boost in graphics allows this movie to be turned into a magical realm. The combinations of colors and imaginative creatures from Rowling’s mind makes the movie a work of art.
A well-developed plot allows Rowling once again to include the theme of light versus dark between the characters as well as inner turmoil. “It was really good. I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was really funny, which was refreshing and there was more hope than the other Harry Potter movies. Twelve out of ten would recommend to others,” said Nina Rocha, senior.
Some aspects of the movie allude to historical events and modern societal issues such as the idea of interracial and homosexual marriages and women’s rights. The movie touches on the idea of “no mage”, or a person born without magic, dating a witch, and the ridicule that comes with it. This reflects today’s controversy over gay marriage as well as the issue of interracial marriages, which did not become legal until 1967 in the United States. With Katherine Waterston, her character Porpentina Goldstein acts as a strong, single female who attempts to work her way up in the work force. Rowling once again includes a poised female to lead.
As with any prequel or continuation of a series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released with some skepticism as to whether or not Rowling could uphold her prize-winning and well-praised writings.
Some feel the era of Harry Potter is over and the new additions to the franchise are simply dragging on. However, with this film, Rowling proves that she can still gracefully write about the Wizard World without excluding any of the quality of her previous works. Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has exceeded critics’ expectations as it truly captures the fantastical feeling of the Wizarding World, yet has created its own storyline and well developed characters that make it easy to continue watching the film.