A fantastic journey with familiar magic


The cover photo of the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Beasts, which came out Nov. 18.

Melissa Donovan, Business Manager

The wizardry and magical atmosphere of author J.K. Rowling has returned to theaters with her newest hit: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It premiered on Friday, Nov. 18, and because it was part of the Harry Potter franchise, the majority of viewers saw the flick for the nostalgia of the Wizarding World. Rowling has promised three movies, and the newly created series is similar to when Star Wars prequels came out years after the originals, since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place during the 1920s, 70 years before The Boy Who Lived arrived on the Dursley’s doorstep.

During this time, wizards like Dumbledore were learning magic and Voldemort, Tom Riddle at the time, was only 10. They barely get a mention in the film, however, as the real focus is placed on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to help usher in a new cast of muggles and wizards.

The disappearance of the and darkest wizard of the time, Gellert Grindelwald, is linked to disruptions in the muggle or “No-Maj” world; black smoke is mysteriously taking down buildings and people, largely in New York City, the setting of the film.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them definitely sets itself apart from the Harry Potter movies not only through the setting change, but through the characters and the main focus on creatures rather than wizards.

All of the different creatures were beautiful, but not “fantastic.” They didn’t do anything really heroic throughout the course of the film, and a little bit of heroism from them would have been useful because of the powers they hold and the awful state that the city was in. They were more of an endangered species to feel bad for rather than heroes to praise.

Upcoming movies in the series may not be as successful as Harry Potter because currently it lacks the intense background and culture that Harry had. The eight movies of Harry’s magical adventures are hard to beat, but the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series will still be fun to watch as the “No-Maj” world and the Wizarding World collide.

The main characters: Newt, Jacob (Dan Fogler), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Tina (Katherine Waterston) are older than the original Potter trio, but these characters do have an individual spark that makes them just as loveable. There is also an ease with the romance which draws in viewers.

The beasts were astonishingly rendered through CGI. They all had quirky personalities which made them feel in a way, humanlike. One of the most popular creatures, the Niffler, has a knack for stealing shiny items such as money, gold and diamonds. This bad habit gets him in trouble but makes him an endearing, humorous and a cute character.

Although this new series might not match up with the high expectations that the Harry Potter series set, it is making a name for itself in engaging a new generation of muggles who can look forward to the Newt’s next adventures.