Blog friends!!! I am back home from a very busy semester at university. In celebration of exam survival, I splurged and bought myself the official screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them in the Toronto airport on the way home. It was a fantastic read (pun intended), so I figured I’d do you all the benefit of reviewing both the book and the movie right here on my blog.
I watched this movie with friends on opening night in the old fashioned one-room movie theatre downtown. The Vogue Cinema is an experience all by itself, but perhaps a post for another day. Anyways… I had mixed expectations going in. I wanted it to be amazing and awesome and perfect in every way, but I was also very nervous about the movie just being a money-grab for the already massive franchise. I also was well aware that though it is set in the Potterverse, none of my beloved characters were likely to show up.
Despite my trepidation, Fantastic Beasts met all my wild expectations. It was sweet, heartwarming, intense, fast-paced, hilarious, and sad. The cinematography was beautiful, and the acting was awesome, especially Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Newt. I can hardly find words to describe how happy I am with the score. James Newton Howard did an amazing job of tying in the familiar motifs from the Harry Potter soundtracks with his own sweeping new themes. I’ll admit I got a bit teary-eyed when Hedwig’s Theme started playing over the Warner Brothers’ logo at the very beginning.
Overall, I’d give this movie a solid 4 stars. As far as Harry Potter movies go, it is one of my favourites. I’m also not complaining about the planned 4 more films in the Fantastics Beasts series. After seeing the first movie, I have confidence that they can pull the series off without the ideas getting old or cheap.
As I said earlier, I bought the screenplay of the movie in the Toronto airport when I was flying home for the holidays. It was a great investment, even though it was a fairly expensive impulse buy. The cover is gorgeous, and under the dust jacket the cover has a little golden niffler, which is absolutely adorable. I, like Ron, wish I had a niffler.
Reading the screenplay was a lot of fun. It was like watching the movie all over again, except this time I could pause and go back and re-read things. I also picked up on a lot of really cool details that I didn’t even notice the first time I watched the film. I found the style a bit abrupt and distracting at first, since I don’t read a lot of scripts or screenplays, but once I was a few scenes in I was able to forget the format of what I was reading and become happily lost in the story itself. I’m glad I bought the screenplay, and I really want to read it and watch the movie again.
DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET!!!
Consider yourself warned.
First things first, the big reveal that Mr. Graves was actually Grindelwald was not super surprising to me, partly because I’d already heard a theory that Grindelwald was going to be a main antagonist in the film. My suspicions that Graves was Grindelwald were pretty much confirmed when he gave Credence a deathly hallows pendant. Who else would give a kid a hallows necklace? Aside from maybe Xenophilius Lovegood. I wasn’t a fan of his overly pale appearance and bleach-white hair, since in the books he’s described as being reasonably handsome, but that is a pretty minor complaint.
My only quibble with the movie was how dark it was. Mary Lou’s abuse of her adoptive children was really disturbing, as was the stuff about obscurials. The idea of a dark force overtaking a child and causing them to murder people is truly horrifying. Also, the death chamber was seriously messed up. Graves’ ability to sentence someone to death without a trial is very bad. And yes, it was the 1920’s, and yes, Graves was actually Grindelwald so of course he wouldn’t have any qualms about killing two innocent people, but the two executioners who just merrily went along with it shows some serious corruption in the American magical government.
On a lighter note, my absolute favourite part of the whole movie is the scene where Newt and Jacob go inside Newt’s case. It is so wonderful, and all the creatures are super cool, and Jacob and Newt become friends and asdfasdfasdf it’s just so awesome! Does anybody else want to have a thunderbird? It’s like if Buckbeak could start thunderstorms! SO COOL! House Thunderbird for the win!
And now for some theorizing! Do you guys think that Credence was destroyed along with his obscurial at the end? Personally I think he is still alive somewhere. And that he is somehow related to Tina. Her son, maybe, or her nephew. Also, do you think that Ariana developed an obscurial? And how come Harry wasn’t one? He was abused and had to repress his magic just like Ariana and Credence.
On a slightly unrelated note, does Canada have a Ministry of Magic separate from MACUSA? I know Ilvermorny is THE North American wizarding school, which raises all sorts of questions about visas and immigration and studying abroad for Canadian witches and wizards, but surely Canada has its own M.O.M.. As a Canadian these are things I would really like to know.
Overall, Fantastic Beasts is a great story. An easy 4/5 stars, and a movie I highly recommend to any and all Harry Potter fans.