Monday Movie Mania - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Another movie we caught on an HBO free weekend was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This isn't one we wanted to see in the theater. In fact, we all agreed it would probably be disappointing compared to J.K. Rowling's original Harry Potter series.
We were so very wrong.
Since this movie was released nearly two years ago, I'm skipping my usual SPOILERS warning.
First, I should have researched this film more before passing judgment while it was still in the theaters. Rowling wrote both the story and screenplay, a fact I didn't bother to learn. As the Wizarding World's creator, she knows it better than anyone. We all assumed the film was a cash-grab by Warner Bros.
Second, I should have trusted Eddie Redmayne's choice of taking the role of Newt Scamander. Whatever you say about Eddie, you can never say his acting is boring. Hell, his character was one of the few interesting things about Jupiter Ascending.
The story is based on the adventures Newt has while writing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a magizoology textbook used at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series. The dark wizard Grindelwald, a character mentioned as a former friend turned foe of Hogwart's headmaster Albus Dunbledore, is also introduced in this film.
The movie is set in 1927 New York City, where Newt is passing through on his way to Arizona. It gives fans their first glimpse of magical life in the United States. Let's just say the story accurately reflects America's segregationist policies and attitudes toward mental illness, and the image isn't pretty. However, Rowling does revelations in such a way that it won't scare the bejeesus out of the little kids even as it disturbs the hell out of the adults.
Overall, the deeper themes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them shows Rowling's growth as a writer while at the same time, it mimics the charm of the Harry Potter stories. We're definitely looking forward to the sequel this Christmas!
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