Today is November 18, 2016 and it is the day that the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them movie opens nationwide. However, I was among the fortunate few who was able to see it the night before. No, not at a midnight showing, but at 6pm! Would you believe that the theater was almost empty? We got there 30 minutes early expecting a very long line to get into the theater and were surprised when we were the first ones there. Not even the parking lot was full. I'm sure that will change tonight when the movie officially opens and I'm glad that I got to see it before it was crazy.
At this point you are probably wondering whether or not I liked it. Well, I went into the movie with low expectations. There were only two things that I knew about it beforehand: 1) Newt Scamander is the author of the Hogwarts textbook of the same name, and 2) Newt is the grandfather of Rolf Scamander, the man who married Luna Lovegood.
You can safely read this part because it will be spoiler free. I will get into a few spoilers later on, but I've given you fair warning so you can stop reading before you get to the spoilers.
So, did I like it? YES!!! I LOVED IT!!! This is a wonderful film that you can appreciate and understand even if you haven't seen or read any of the Harry Potter stories. If you have, though, you will pick up on things that you know will play a part in the world of Harry, such as the mention of Dumbledore (that's not a spoiler because it is literally nothing more than one sentence that mentions him as a teacher at Hogwarts, and we already know that he was teaching there).
The film itself is beautiful to watch. They did a wonderful job taking us to New York in 1926 and giving it a magical twist. We get to see what life was like for wizards and witches during this opulent time in US history, just before the Great Depression. I'm not going to say much more about the story because I prefer to go into a movie not knowing what it's about or will happen. There are plenty of other reviews you can read if you want specific details.
Having said that, I will share with you information that won't spoil the storyline.
List Of Characters
Newton ("Newt") Artemis Fido Scamander (b. 1897) - Newt is the main character and travels from the United Kingdom to the United States for reasons that have to do with the research that he is doing on magical creatures.
Porpentina ("Tina") Esther Goldstein (b. 1901) - Tina is a witch who works at the Magical Congress Of The United States Of America (aka MACUSA).
Queenie Goldstein (b. sometime between 1902 and 1909) - Queenie is the younger sister of Tina, and she is also a witch who works at MACUSA.
Jacob Kowalski (b. ?? but fought in WWI) - Jacob is a human with no magical abilities (called a No-Mag in the USA, which is the same as a Muggle in the UK). He wants nothing more than to become a baker and knows nothing of the magical world around him.
Additional Characters - There are many other characters you will meet, including goblins, witches, and wizards, but I don't want to risk spoiling anything by listing them here.
You will also encounter a wide variety of magical creatures, including a Niffler, Bowtruckle, Thunderbird, Occamy, Demiguise, Swooping Evil, Erumpent, Billywig, and Murtlap. The creatures are beautifully rendered and I fell in love with many of them, as did my children.
- Spoiler #1
- Spoiler #2
- Spoiler #3
Do not read this section unless you want to learn about specific plot details. I have made this a tabbed section so that you cannot accidentally see anything if you don't want to read the spoilers.
Okay, I lied when I said that I only knew two things before seeing the movie. I actually knew a total of three but I didn't want to say the third thing before now because it's a spoiler to those of you who haven't read the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them textbook. That book has an "About Newt" section at the beginning that talks about his life. If you see the film you can probably guess this but Newt and Tina get married.
Johnny Depp is in the film, at the end. I was unsure if it was him at first and hadn't heard that he was in it. His appearance is fairly well hidden under makeup (or, perhaps his face has changed so much in recent years that I had a hard time recognizing him) but my suspicion was confirmed in the credits. I'm assuming that this means he will be in the next film, possibly more.
This isn't so much a spoiler as it is a guess as to what the next film (or films) will be about. We already know that Albus Dumbledore will be in it so I think that J.K. Rowling is going to show the history between Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore from their youth. It was in the final book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, but was barely mentioned in the movie. There is a lot that can be done to show how they came to be friends, why they separated (the death of Dumbledore's sister, Ariana), Grindelwald's rise to power, and Dumbledore's defeat of Grindelwald.
We have already been told that there will be a total of five films made (it was originally going to be three but Rowling told us on October 14, 2016, that she was extending them to five). What we don't know is what the other four movies will be about. The ending of this one alludes to one aspect of what the next one might be about, but I honestly don't know. Will it include Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob? I sincerely hope so because I think they are wonderful characters and I want to see more of them.
What I do know is that I'm very impressed with J.K. Rowling's first ever screenplay. She wrote this movie so this is 100% canon, unlike Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, which I will never accept as canon because she didn't write it herself, she only contributed to it in ways that are currently unknown. I think that Rowling is mining the deep background that only she knows about as she writes the prequel screenplays, and I find it very exciting to learn more about what she's known for years!
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