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Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts



Article Written By Sarah Joseph

Photo Courtesy of FilmMusicReporter.com

Accio, Harry Potter! …. Well sort of. For fans of the Harry Potter series, this month was an exciting one as the long awaited prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, entered theaters November 18. The screenplay of Fantastic Beasts, the first film in the Harry Potter world in 5 years, was written by J.K. Rowling, so it was authentic Harry Potter.

Fantastic Beasts takes place 70 years before the birth of Harry Potter and centers around the magizoologist (someone who studies magical creatures), Newt Scamander. The movie follows Scamander as he journeys to New York City for a short reprieve on his adventures around the world as he is studying magical creatures. These studies eventually lead to the textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them present in the first Harry Potter film.

Scamander’s short stop in New York City turns into a misadventure when a few of his magical creatures escape from his suitcase filled with the creatures he has collected from his travels. Along the way, he meets and befriends a muggle (or as the American witches and wizards call them: No-Maj [no magic]), a demoted Auror (like the wizarding world’s version of a police officer), and a mind-reading witch. While searching for his lost creatures, Scamander gets roped into a larger plot of the tensions between the American wizarding world and regular humans.

Eddie Redmayne, an Oscar, Tony, and BAFTA winner, shines as Newt Scamander, bringing his awkwardly adorable boyishness to this timid, yet courageous character. Scamander is an unlikely hero, being someone usually associated with intellectual pursuits, but due to his compassion and intelligence he is able to see things others would not see. Accompanying Redmayne was the outstanding acting of Colin Farrell as the mysterious official, Graves, Katherine Waterston as the demoted Auror Tina and Scamander’s love interest, Dan Fogler as the No-Maj, Jacob, and Alison Sudol as Queenie, the mind-reading sister of Tina. The special effects are also impressive, actualizing these magical creatures and producing a fantastic world that makes the audience want to step into this world of magic.

This long anticipated movie certainly lives up to its predecessors’ standards, with 4 more movies on their way. The movies are said to take place over 19 years, with many speculating the last movie will revolve around the duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, an easter egg from the book series.There were many other easter eggs that fans of the books and movies will be delighted to find.
“It was fantastic,” said Gaston Ocampo, Freshman and Harry Potter fan. “My favorite beast was the one that stole everything (the niffler) because I thought it was funny but also innocent. I especially liked the part where the niffler pretended to be the statue.”
Ocampo is from Argentina and when asked about the Harry Potter’s franchise’s popularity in Argentina, he gave an interesting answer. “It is strange but Harry Potter is very popular in Argentina. It is strange because the only war fought has been against Britain, so typically people don’t like British culture. Many people like Harry Potter despite the the underlying British connotations of the films.”
This goes to show the power of the franchise to unite people usually wrought by tension.