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Movie Review: "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" by David Yates


The end of the Harry Potter saga answered a lot of questions about the magical world created by JK Rowling two decades ago. Still, when it came to the fanatics of the story, the ones that followed it through the years, who read every book and watched every movie, there were high expectations for it to continue somehow. The play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child allowed us to reconnect with the characters we love and to meet a new generation of young wizards. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them offers us a different experience. It takes us many years back, and introduces us to characters and events that had a direct impact in the story of the boy who lived.

The movie centers in Newt Scamander, a British wizard and magizoologist, who arrives in New York at the end of 1926 with a case full of magical beasts and uncertain purposes.

The unexpected escape of his niffler, a creature that tries to steal any shiny thing it sees in a muggle bank, causes a disturbance and leads Newt to meet Tina Goldstein, an employee of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) and former Auror. Tina has lost her job while trying to protect a boy from his abusive adoptive mother, being demoted to a minor position. The American laws are way more restrictive than the British ones; the possession of magical creatures and having relationships with non-magical people are illegal. So, considering Newt a criminal, Tina arrests him and takes him to the MACUSA offices. Once there, they realize that Newt’s case has been swapped by mistake with a no-maj’s case.

Guarded by Tina, who mistrusts him and refuses to let him go alone, Newt starts the search for the man who has his case, but as soon as they find him they learn he has been bitten by a creature while trying to open it. As a result of this, some of the other beasts have managed to escape as well.

The pair, along with no-maj baker Jacob and Tina’s legilimens sister, Queenie, are thrown to an adventure in the city of New York to recover all the missing creatures before they get hurt or hurt any human being, magical or non-magical.

But soon it will be clear that there are other people particularly interested in the creatures too, though with very different purposes.

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Why should you be watching it?

You can call me crazy, but I loved this movie immensely more than any of the Harry Potter ones. I’ve been thinking about the reasons I feel this way and these are my conclusions.

To begin with, I have admired JK Rowling’s writing for a long time and I find the fact that she wrote the script for this movie herself to be terrific. I watched all the “Harry Potter” movies being a child, in Spanish, and most of them without having read the book first. That last statement, in particular, made me more tolerant when it came to accept the differences between the movies and the books, and it did not let me appreciate the enormous difference between the dialogues in ones and the others. Watching them again now, I feel that a big part of Rowling’s voice was lost in the films. I know that it is impossible for the movies to be an exact reflection of the books and that when writing a script sacrifices must be made to make the whole thing work. But “Fantastic beasts” brought back to me the style of writing I admired in the books and the very same sense of humor I love so much and find so amusing in them.

My second reason, but not for that less important, is the fact that I am older now, and as time goes by I realize I value fantasy and imagination even more than when I was a child. Maybe it is simply that now I need it more than I did then. Only hearing the soundtrack’s main titles of “Fantastic Beasts” takes the eleven-year-old girl I once was back to the surface. And I really love this to happen.

It is exciting the way that the magic is expanding and getting out of England, to show us the lives of witches and wizards from different countries and cultures, and also for it to give us the chance to get to know a little bit more about the wizarding world before Harry Potter.

All the characters, including the non-human ones, are fascinating and interesting. Every one of them has another big story behind, and of that, I am sure, we are going find out more in the next movies. Even better than that: We are going to discover the ties between this story and this characters with the ones we already know from the previous books. I can barely wait!

The continuation to this film, The Crimes of Grindelwald is being released in less than two months, but while we wait for it, it is not a bad idea to rewatch the first Fantastic Beasts to stay in tune and of course, control the anxiety. For the ones who have not watched it yet, now would be a perfect time to give it a try. It will not disappoint you.

© 2018 Literarycreature

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