Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter Spin-Off Prequel Movie 2016)  » Movies  »
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  • I am the world's biggest Harry Potter fan (self-proclaimed)
  • However, David Yates, the director of the final four Harry Potter films, was brought to the helm and thus a wonderful product in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' was born- a movie that has earned its place in the Potter world and will satisfy everyone, even the most die-hard of fans
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is loosely based on a textbook of the same name that Rowling published
  • The fictional author, Newt Scamander is the protagonist of the movie
  • Outstanding acting, especially by Farrell as Percival Graves and Miller as Credence, elevate this movie


by Moe

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    I am the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan (self-proclaimed). When I’d heard that J.K. Rowling was penning a screenplay for a prequel spin-off movie of the Harry Potter franchise, I was excited but unsure of how a movie without Harry Potter would turn out. However, David Yates, the director of the final four Harry Potter films, was brought to the helm and thus a wonderful product in ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ was born- a movie that has earned its place in the Potter world and will satisfy everyone, even the most die-hard of fans.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter Spin-Off Prequel Movie 2016)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is loosely based on a textbook of the same name that Rowling published. This textbook (a compilation of information on magical beasts) was used by Harry Potter during his years at Hogwarts. The fictional author, Newt Scamander is the protagonist of the movie.

    Newt is played by Eddie Redmayne, who’s able to mold Newt into this intelligent, kind, witty but shy character from England, who’s arrived in the US with a magical suitcase. His suitcase is not what it seems on the outside for within it is filled with various magical beasts that he’s come to release into their rightful habitats.

    Porpentina (Tina) Goldstein works for MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America - similar to the Ministry of Magic in Great Britain) and tracks Newt when she realizes that some of the beasts from his suitcase have escaped. Newt, unaware of the laws of America, is apprehended by Tina.

    At this point in the movie, we believe the focus of the movie is to find Newt’s beasts. However, the movie starts to show little tidbits of concerned people that realize something is stalking New York. Evidently it’s not from Newt’suitcase, because the initial scenes in which this unknown entity is wreaking havoc, happen before the escape of his beasts.

    Being completely honest, finding the escaped beasts was not quite an interesting story line but was able to provide outstanding visuals for the screen and a source of some much needed laughs. It’s great to be able to see creatures we’ve only read or heard about such as the green praying mantis like creature known as a bowtruckle and an extremely adorable, furry, black penguin-mole creature called a niffler that cannot resist shiny objects. Slowly, however, a bigger, captivating story is emerging from what initially appeared to be the main story- find the beasts.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter Spin-Off Prequel Movie 2016)
  • Eventually, Tina apprehends Newt and takes him to MACUSA but her superiors have little interest in Newt, and his suitcase has accidentally been swapped with that of a no-maj (a person without magical blood,a muggle in Europe), Jacob Kowalski. This results in more beasts being released; Tina and Newt find Jacob who’s mind-blown about realizing there is magic in the world.

    The release of many of the beasts has made a Newt a sought after person but for one night Tina chooses to harbour Newt and Jacob (until all the beasts are contained) in the apartment where she lives with her beautiful sister Queenie, who’s main ability is to be able to read minds. Over the course of the movie these four people form an odd alliance and then friendship.

    Within this friendship, Jacob and Queenie form an unlikely romance- an overweight no-maj and a beautiful witch that can read minds. However their chemistry in this movie is so powerful, so undeniable that I can’t see it not being a big part of future movies to come. The romance isn’t forced, it comes naturally as part of the story, and for Jacob, an aspiring baker, he is able to experience among the most delicious meals he’s ever had, cooked by Queenie and it makes him appreciate her more.

    Of course, it’s illegal in the US for a no-maj to marry a magical being, so there’s that.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter Spin-Off Prequel Movie 2016)
  • But let me get down to the core of this movie. There’s an auror, Percival Graves (Collin Farrell) who works for MACUSA and he’s seen interacting with a teen named Credence (Ezra Miller), privately, many times throughout the movie asking him to find a person that he senses Credence knows. This person would be host to a dark force called an obscurus which forms when a person’s magical powers are repressed to the point of it being traumatic. The obscurus forms as a part of the person and the magic will be uncontrollable, dangerous and any person host to it has not lived beyond the age of 10. This is the main story that runs throughout the movie, with Newt’s finding beast story, merely a cover to be able to bring up the story of what is truly stalking New York.

    Can we talk about how impressive the characterization of Graves and Credence was? Graves manipulation of Credence is creepy but so well done. In turn Credence is characterized as this friendless, abused, lonely teen that latches on to the only person showing him any kindness, not knowing he’s being used for a darker purpose. Kudos to Farrell and Miller for being able to sustain such a dark, sickening relationship.

    The first half of Fantastic Beasts is rather slow as it focuses on Newt’s quest. However, Graves and Credence, although limited in appearance in the first half, are able to show us in the second half why they are so important to the movie.

    Straight from the start, Graves seems to be a mysterious but evil man. His obsession with an obscurus is evident as he’s interested in an obscurus Newt had separated from its host (called an obscurial) until realizing it’s only useful if it’s still a part of a person.

    The second half of this movie is nearly as dark as the last Harry Potter movie in which Voldemort is defeated. With the finding the beasts plot line out of the way, the movie focuses on the actual story.

    What I loved about the way this movie was done was that despite the many connections to the Harry Potter world (which of course we needed), this wasn’t a Harry Potter movie. This is a movie with merit on it’s own and the word prequel, merely denotes that this movie took place in 1926, nearly 70 years before the start of Potter’s story. Rowling has managed to create a unique story that manages to accomplish what she does best: answer some questions, create many others and leaves us with a yearning for more.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter Spin-Off Prequel Movie 2016)
  • The quartet of Newt, Jacob, Queenie and Tina are still very much a part of this story for when it is revealed who hosts an obscurus, they are pitted against Percival Graves.

    Graves turns out to be this dark wizard Grindelwald (brief appearance by Johnny Depp). For those not familiar with all the Harry Potter lore, they may assume Rowling is trying to milk the franchise by creating another Voldemort-esque villain. However for those that are familiar with the books and movies, in 1945, Dumbledore defeats his one time best friend, Grindelwald in a duel that is said to be the greatest of all time. When Grindelwald appears, you realize what Rowling’s aim is for this and her future movies; she is telling the tale of Grindelwald and how Dumbledore came to defeat him. As a Harry Potter fan, there can be no greater story, no greater mystery that she can tell and just like with the Harry Potter franchise, she’s found an excellent story to tell.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter Spin-Off Prequel Movie 2016)
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, there are easter eggs that connect to the Harry Potter franchise. Percival Graves/Grindelwald, owns a necklace which he gives to Credence containing the sign of the deathly hallows (triangle, circle, line- cloak of invisibility, resurrection stone and elder wand). Voldemort was obsessed with one of the deathly hallows in the Harry Potter franchise and later meets his demise at the hands of it (elder wand). The other two items also appear in the Potter franchise, with the invisibility cloak being Potter’s himself.

    Grindelwald was Dumbledore’s best friend a long time ago and yet when he chose to be this Percival Graves he picked one of Dumbledore’s middle names (Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore).

    A picture of a woman, hinted to have been involved with Newt at one point and from his past is shown, Leda Lestrange. Lestrange is a famous family name, for in the Harry Potter books, Rodolphous Lestrange was a Death Eater (follower of Voldemort) and he married Bellatrix who would become one of Voldemort’s top lieutenants.

    Newt Scamander’s grandson married a popular Harry Potter character Luna Lovegood. Lovegood became instrumental in the overall defeat of Voldemort and his followers as she was able to point Harry in the direction of finding Ravenclaw’s diadem, a horcrux.

    However the main easter egg or really a theory that has been linked to the movie is that of the mystery that surrounds Ariana Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s deceased sister, mentioned in the Harry Potter franchise. She was attacked by muggles when she was younger causing her magical powers to be repressed. Never fully recovering from that trauma, her magic would burst out in unexpected ways like that of an obscurial. It seems Rowling may intend to explore Ariana’s story while telling us the story of Grindelwald and Dumbledore.

    Lastly, for those who have read the textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the fictional publisher is Obscurus Books. Rowling is someone who loves to lay clues in books and movies, years before they mean anything.

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is an excellent movie. The first half is rather slow but it’s a visual treat to see the many beasts Rowling has mentioned in the past come to life. It also gives Rowling a chance to develop Newt, Tina, Queenie and Jacob as characters.

    The second half is a dark, action-packed, fast-paced story that ties together everything revealed in the first half and gives us the real story. There could have been more use of magic but I suspect that will be solved in subsequent movies. Outstanding acting, especially by Farrell as Percival Graves and Miller as Credence, elevate this movie. I recommend this movie.



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Irish Ombrosa says :

re : The fictional author, Newt Scamander is the protagonist of the movie
Newt Scamander is indeed one of the best wizard in his time. He possesses a case wherein all pf his fantastic beasts are hidden. The twists and turn of each events is thrilling. JK Rowlings is one of the best writer of all times.

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