The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.
Mhm yes, finally something new from J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Let’s begin with the plot. Anyone well acquainted with the original series knows that “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is the book that teaches Hogwarts students all about magical creatures. When you have that in mind, going into the movie you might expect a Steve Irvine like documentary of Newt Scamander running around dragging magical creatures from their natural habitat and showing them to the audience. The reality of this movie is (unfortunately) quite a different one. The movie is set in New York where Newt is trying to find like minded people and save more or less dangerous creatures and give them a new home in his suitcase. The creatures he has got in there already range from “oh so cute, I want one” to “oh nice, another plot device”. That being said I’m not disappointed with the creatures we got but now have more questions about how some of them affect the original series now. One in particular the Obscurus. Was Dumbledore’s sister one? Is that the reason she died/got killed? And was it because of that that Dumbledore and Grindelwald hit the breaking point in their relationship?
However, the plot does not only revolve around the magical creatures and the terror Grindelwald has been causing the magical world. It also introduces us to the relationship wizards and Muggles have in North America. One the one hand you have those who think it is important that muggles be protected from the dangers of the magical world and therefore may under no circumstances be engaged with. Wizards are generally not allowed to form any type of relationship with Muggles something that seems to be quite different to how things are done in the UK.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is only the first in a series of five movies to come. I presume that is the reason they chose Johnny Depp to play one the character that is most likely to play a major role in the upcoming movies. They needed someone who has the pedigree to lead a franchise as big as this one which is unfortunate because the character he portrayed like someone they had to break-out of Tim Burton’s closet in the dead of night in order to have him in the movie. Besides Depp the only other person that seemed a bit amiss in this movie was Colin Farrell. He just didn’t seem to fit into this type of movie. All the other characters were quite wonderful, most of all Kowalski and Queenie. These are the characters I would personally look forward to seeing in the next movies.
As with all the other movies/books set in the Harry Potter universe this movie opened up a can of plotholes and inconsistencies. For example: What are the rules for spells? Sometimes you seem to need fake Latin or Greek, sometimes not or some people can do magic without a wand. Like what are the rules? Also those undetectable expansion charms. In the Harry Potter books it is said that it does not have an effect on the weight of the actual bag, suitcase or whatever. The how come Newt or even some Muggle can carry a suitcase filled with a bunch of magical creature (which I guess weigh something) around New York no problem? If you can apparate why would you take a ship to New York?
Newt Scamander: “My philosophy is if you worry, you suffer twice.”
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Samantha Morton, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp