Release date: November 18, 2016
Production Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Box Office: $812.2m
Rinzy’s Rating: 4.5/5
J.K. Rowling takes us back into the wizarding world of Harry Potter in this wonderful installment made to exist independently and perfectly. This movie details events that happened roughly seventy years before the first Harry Potter movie; roughly in the 1920s.
I present to you, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The movie starts by giving us a tiny glimpse into what the main antagonist has been doing behind the scene. After this, it doesn’t take long to show us his face, only that it isn’t his real face. More on this later…
Many things change, and if you were a big addict of the original Harry Potter series you’ll need to keep an open mind to unlearn a bit of what you already know. I introduce to you, your new hero, Newt Scamander – British Wizard who on his way to Europe momentarily stops at New York.
Scamander, or better, Newt, has his travel plans altered when his suitcase is accidentally swapped by a No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski (A No-Maj is the American address for a non magical born person, just like Muggle-born is for the British) who was hoping to make positive meaning of his life. The suitcase is no ordinary suitcase, it is a magical housing for fantastic creatures, or beasts just like the title suggests. Demoted Auror (a hunter of dark wizards) Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard and takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, with the hope that it’ll help her regain her former position. This trio form the heroes band required to solve the problem of the day.
The main plot of the movie though confusing at the beginning became clearer towards the middle, and by a second viewing made perfect sense. I blame my poor following on being too eager to return to the fantastic world of J.K. Rowling.
One of the things that makes this movie super-interesting is its subtle ability of borrowing ideas that made the original Harry Potter movies work, such as having a non-magic born (James) effortlessly contribute to the story-line just like Hermione did, and yet, still existing perfectly away from the Harry Potter movies shadow.
Another thing I like about FBAWTFT are the villains; primary, secondary, and tertiary, all categories of villains made sense to me and they worked wonders to furthering the story-line. Though at this point, I know main villain of this new movie series, Gellert Grindelwald is no Lord Voldermort, I am almost certain he’ll bring his own form of beauty to the movie series, thanks to J.K.’s powerful imagination and actor, Johnny Depp’s future portrayal. Secondary villain, Mary Lou Barebone, a non-magical woman (“No-Maj” or “Muggle”) who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, which claims that witches and wizards are real and dangerous is a welcome addition to the movie. At first, the plot concerning her and the children of the orphanage seemed confusing at first – her beating a particular child (Credence Bareborn) inhumanely, her going about campaigning against the unacknowledged threat the magic born held for the larger public, and her fondness for a particular girl-child in her foster care; all these started to make sense when Director of Magical Security, Percival Graves became involved and sought to connect the separate plots together. An Obscurus (a dark, destructive parasite that develops inside magically gifted children if they suppress their magical abilities) becomes the main focus of the story as everyone sets out to find and subdue the entity causing mass destruction that risks exposing the Wizarding community to the No-Majs.
At a point Newt is accused by Percival Graves of bringing in magical creatures which are illegal in the USA. This is because Percival wants to take away the MACUSA’s attention from the fact that an Obscurus is what’s causing the disruption of peace all around New York. Percival does this for selfish reason which is revealed to be that he isn’t actually Percival Graves but evil Wizard, Gellert Grindelwald. He’s almost swiftly apprehended thanks to the effort of Newt and one of his fantastic beast. It is obvious he will escape soon. As the primary antagonist, Grindelwald feels more human than Voldemort; his reason for going rogue is that MACUSA protects the No-Majs more than they do fellow Wizards; time will tell how well this will be explored.
I liked that Percival Graves was used as a tertiary villain but later shown to be the big-bad of the series in an undercover mission.
Primary movie villain, Credence, is shown to be as confused as someone under doubt of his/her true sexuality; Ezra Millar clearly brought out the vulnerability and pain of this troubled villain to the forefront; sadly his character was apparently killed, and may not be returning for further installments especially if his presence doesn’t further future story-lines.
In one of my best scenes of the movie, Thunderbird – whom I thought from the trailer would have a prominent role in the movie gets screen-time to shine.
Thunderbird users her spectacular power to facilitate the quick obliteration if every No-Maj’s memory who had witnessed the destruction caused by Credence as the Obscurus. Hopefully Thunderbird gets more screen-time to shine. Thunderbird’s act proves to MACUSA what Newt had been trying to say all along – magical creatures are good, and can be a force for good if nurtured right.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a very interesting movie, and one which leans very much to the extensive mythology as created by J.K. Rowling. The movie validates Rowling’s announcement that it is the first of a larger story that’ll be told through five installments, it also lends credence to its name: a lot of beasts (creatures) were on display. With the second installment scheduled for 2018, I can’t wait to watch.
Have you watched the movie yet? Tell me what you think in the comment box below.
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