Friday, December 30, 2016

Book to Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Image result for fantastic beasts

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them
Screenplay by JK Rowling
Directed by David Yates

I am unable to find a satisfactory description that I can copy, so allow me to tell you about it myself.

Fantastic Beasts follows the story of the writer of the book by the same name that Harry studies in school in Care of Magical Creatures. Newt Scamander's studies bring him to America 1926, where the magical community is governed by MACUSA. There is a no-maj anti-wizard group active, a NY senator's brother slowly discovering the community, and a dark wizard trying to hunt down a magical force.

It is great fun.

Basically I declare this movie of the year. It was everything you hoped for as a Harry Potter fan but so different and new that you can start the magical world here, too. You can tell it's going to tie in but it's beautifully indirect- Fantastic Beasts is its own story.

First of all, Newt is just a pleasure to watch. Smart and passionate, kind and lovely, geeky and British. He is also extremely talented and powerful!! I love him, and I am so excited to dive deeper into his world- his years at Hogwarts and his friendship/love for the Lestrange girl, his passion for animals and his research and travels, his family, his expulsion... tell me everything!! I didn't know going in that the franchise will be five films, but boy, was elated to find out. Also, a Hufflepuff!! Soooo refreshing.

Tina and Queenie are fascinating ladies. Two very different and very talented New Yorkers who can also do magic. Their sisterly bond was wonderful to watch, but I wondered at it. They seemed to old to be living together, definitely in the 1920s, no? I wonder if in the next films we'll explore their history a bit more. While I certainly found them interesting, it took me a while to get to like them- Tina seemed a bit desperate to me all the time, not happy ever. While in real-life that doesn't make her any less great a person, she didn't draw me in. Queenie did- though I couldn't really wrap my head around how quick she fell for Jacob, or how quickly both sisters trusted Newt and Jacob enough to let them into their home. I mean, for all Tina knew Newt was a criminal she was trying to arrest!

The music and graphics of this film were truly astounding. It was familiar and nostalgic but new and unique at the same time. The setting is gorgeous- NY in 1920 isn't something I'm used to seeing or reading about, and the creators of FB make it something really magical, no pun intended.

The wizarding system raises many questions- if he was expelled, how can Newt have his wand? Is it just pure muggle prejudice that fuels the restriction on marrying no-majs? However, loved that the president is a woman! So unexpected!

Before watching the movie I honestly didn't think I'd like the plot- I was never previously interested in magical creatures, and I didn't know what else was supposed to happen in the movie. I'm DELIGHTED to say that the beasts were FANTASTIC. I loved them all so much, it was amazing how the movie really allowed us to see them as Newt does. And the other stuff- the obscurials are a totally new concept that took me a while to accept (at first I was suspicious- if this existed, why haven't we heard of it before? Hmph. They just made it up to sell us a new movie) but then after thinking about it it made perfect sense, and raised thoughts about Ariana Dumbledore.

Could I go on and on? Definitely. But I'll leave it here. Happy Holidays everyone!!

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