I’m proud of this piece because I have never been good at or liked writing reviews. When I decided to write this piece I was a little but apprehensive about being able to write a quality feature on such a monumental movie for a large portion of our school population: Harry Potter fans. Turns out, I delved into this piece and made it the “feature” styled review it deserved to be. When a dominating franchise like Harry Potter creates another branch of movies it is something to think about deeply and talk about. That is why I wrote about the movie’s connection to the original Harry Potter series, how it will become it’s own entity while still staying connected to the original series, how existing Harry Potter fans will respond to this (including myself), and how the details in the movie itself guarantee success. I restructured this review many times because it was hard to determine what people reading the story (HP fans) will want to know first and what will keep them reading. I made sure that it was readable to non-fans and I wanted to include aspects of the movie that were not connected to the original series. It is it’s own movie, after all. Overall, I’m proud of my ability to write such a good feature with extremely little experience in this genre, and my ability to include so many aspects of the movie while still making the story sensible.
Photo by Vimeo.com from Buddha Jones (Feb. 2016).
Dedicated fans of the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling have adamantly followed each addition to the wizarding world (in books and movies); And the recent movie release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has the whole world flipping out.
In the new movie, which is soon to become a series, the author of the fictional book called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is introduced: Newt Scamander. Known by most followers of Rowling’s universe, Fantastic Beasts was a required textbook in Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwart’s School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.*
Another reference to the HP series that only fans will notice is the appearance of Gellert Grindelwald. Grindelwald is the famous wizard who possessed the Elder Wand until an interaction with Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the wizard who had a famous duel with Albus Dumbledore, which is alluded to in the HP series. Rowling said that the Fantastic Beasts series will “probably” end up being five movies, according to her plotting. Fans speculate, according to the dates that the series will take place, that it will end in a bang with the famous Grindelwald vs. Dumbledore duel in the fifth movie.
Like every past Harry Potter movie, Fantastic Beasts was beautifully developed in its storyline and its characters. The audience is drawn in with a few central characters and their missions, only to discover with them a greater dilemma. We are taken through the layers of the wizarding world government, wizarding social norms, and the personal quests of the characters, inevitably captured in masterful scriptwriting, filmmaking, and acting. As much as I appreciated this, as a Harry Potter fanatic, the movie could also be easily enjoyed by any other person because of the engaging storyline, character development, and filmography.
For those in the HP fandom, this movie wasn’t just references to the original series. This was returning to the familiarity of the wizarding world, with all of its comforting quirks that we love so much: self writing pens, scary looking creatures that are actually quite loving, magically bottomless bags, food that makes itself, and – most importantly – the wizards. I know we are all looking forward to the journey that Rowling will take us on in this series, and we are excited to fall in love with all of the characters we will come to know.
*In 2001, J.K. Rowling released the book, written by her (in the HP series it is written by Newt Scamander), which Potter fans could buy as if it were the textbook read in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She did it to entertain her fans, but also to benefit her community; More than 80% of the cover price of each sold book goes to poor children around the world. The combined profits of this book and Quidditch Through the Ages (another textbook from Hogwarts) raised 15.7 million dollars.