A New Era of the Wizarding World
J.K Rowling and David Yates, masterminds of the tremendous installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, have successfully brought the spirit of magical childish imagination into our hearts once again.
This time around, fans are transported to 1926 New York City where they are given a peek of America’s magical community. In the movie, viewers are introduced to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a young, British wizard who has come to New York in order to write his book, which the movie is named after. While in the city, Newt meets a “no-maj,” or non-magical person, named Kowalski (Dan Fogler).
When he performs an act of magic in front of Kowalski, Newt is arrested by an American witch named Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein (Katherine Waterston).Eventually, Newt, Kowalski, and Tina become friends, along with Tina’s bubbly sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). Together, the four go on wild adventures in order to catch all of Newt’s missing magical beasts. But there is something darker and much more sinister than anything in Newt’s suitcase terrorizing the streets of New York.
Eddie Redmayne carried the movie with his performance as Newt Scamander. His awkward and shy disposition made him an immediate fan favorite. His and Katherine Waterston’s chemistry made their characters’ relationship seem genuine, though it was not focused on in the film.
The movie was filled with plot twists and, more importantly, easter eggs. Mentions of Hogwarts, the Deathly Hallows, and even Dumbledore himself, as well as other references to the original Harry Potter movies, popped up throughout the film. This left Harry Potter fans, or Potterheads, sitting on the edge of their seats, not wanting to miss a thing.
The film’s special effects were also a highlight. Viewers were amazed by the fantastic beasts introduced in the movie, and the effects made it seem as if they were real, living and breathing animals.
Every great film has its faults, however. In the case of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the whitewashed cast created viewer disdain. Most people of color (POC) actors were reduced to nameless roles including a singing goblin and a magical government worker who attempted to kill Newt and Tina.
Many fans took to social media outlets to express their outrage over the subject as soon as the first trailers came out. J.K. Rowling responded to the whitewashing claims in August of 2015 by Tweeting, “...Everyone in #FantasticBeasts is not white.”
Needless to say, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has room for improvement, and maybe we’ll see it in one of the five-film series’ upcoming installments.
The film earned $132 million internationally and $473.7 million globally, resulting in its domination in the box office.
Regardless of its flaws, this magical movie sure to make any muggle say, “Aww, I wanna be a wizard.”
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers