Going to see movies is an absolute luxury as a parent to a toddler. There is no way we can take Marvel to a theater that’s not a drive in as she would rather run around and play. Thankfully my parents took her for the afternoon so we could go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as I knew it wasn’t a movie I could wait to see when it goes on DVD/Blu-Ray.
I wanted to talk about my experience but of course I didn’t want to spill the beans on anything in case you haven’t seen it yet. So here is my Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them spoiler free review!
The film itself feels very familiar from the opening credits and music, to names and spells we know by heart.
But of course, it feels different as well because it takes place about 70 years before the previous films in the 1920’s (Did you know that Harry Potter takes place in the 90’s?). It also takes place in America which has a totally different attitude on the relationships between magical and non magical folks (Muggles are called No-Maj in the U.S.).
The story of course centers around Newt Scamander played by Eddie Redmayne (I will always think of him as Marius in Les Miserables, but he was fantastic as Mr. Scamander). Mr. Scamander is a Magizoologist, which means he studies magical creatures in the world. He has come to New York with a briefcase full of some of these magical creatures. Some of these creatures get loose which causes panic among the wizarding community in New York and the Magical Congress of the United States of America (Macusa for short) due to their not wanting to expose the wizarding community to the No-Maj people.
I don’t want to go any further than that and just recommend that you go see the movie!
However, I’m not done! I do have some things I loved about the movie that are definitely not spoilers!
One of the things I loved about going to see this movie was that I didn’t know anything besides the basic plot. Sure I’d read the book a long time ago, but if you’ve also read the book, you’d know that the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written as text book to read and learn about the creatures. It was fun seeing different creatures in the movie and recognizing them from the book, though some of them I didn’t remember. I’ve already made a note to find my copy so I can read through it again. If you don’t already have the book, I recommend picking up a copy from Amazon at this link here.
By not knowing the plot of the story, I was able to be surprised at every turn! Something that I didn’t have when I saw the other Harry Potter films (though I did have that experience when I read the books thank goodness).
I mentioned above that the film felt familiar and that was because the wizarding world feels so iconic and a part of our generation. It was so easy to fall into the film. We knew what specific spells did because we had already learned them in Harry Potter. They only really needed to explain the No-Maj thing. I was worried about that term because it felt foreign to me when J.K. Rowling had first come out with it on Pottermore, but it didn’t bother me at all during my viewing of the film. In fact, it really makes more sense that they call them No-Maj (short for No Magic) as Muggle is such a silly word. But to be honest, I’ll always use Muggle.
The characters were also unique and intriguing. I would have liked to have gotten to know more about them in the way you can only do through a book though. But J.K. Rowling has a way of writing all of her characters to be interesting, even if they aren’t major. I’m honestly having a hard time choosing who my favorite characters are, but if I had to choose, it would be Jacob, Queenie, and Newt. The creatures are another story though as they have their own personalities as well!
Speaking of J.K. Rowling, I wanted to touch on how this is the first screenplay she wrote. I admit I was a little hesitant because I know that writing a screenplay is completely different than writing a novel. Writing language that will sound natural in a film setting takes talent. However, I was absolutely impressed with how well she did! And thank goodness you can actually buy the screenplay so I was able to add it to my library of her works. I recommend seeing the movie before reading it, but if you just can’t wait (or you’ve already seen it) you can buy it here on Amazon.
Personally I’m excited to read it so I can dissect it and find everything I missed from seeing the movie (and of course I want to go see it again!)
It was also a stark difference from The Cursed Child. While I enjoyed the play script, you could tell it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling (as I mentioned in my review of the book). With Fantastic Beasts, you could tell it was written by her.
All in all, I’m really excited for the next installments of the movies. This one very much felt like it was setting up for the next ones so while there is a plot, it’s not as in depth as the Harry Potter movies and books.
Of course, we had to get pictures with the film advertisement to prove we went to see it.
Okay. That was really hard to keep it spoiler free! I’m sorry it seems vague and rather choppy but if you’ve gone to see the movie, let me know in the comments and tell me what you thought!