Madames Moody and Anxiety took their little witches and wizards to the new Harry Potter-themed movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They, being of geeky mind and disposition, have shared with your below their take on this new addition to the wizarding world.
Madame Moody’s (aka H.M. Jones) Musings *Not Entirely Spoiler Free*
Characters: (5 of 5)
Madame Moody fell in love with the characters in Fantastic Beasts. It is clear that the screenwriters and J.K. really knew who Newt Scamander was. They understood how socially awkward he was, how stunted with people he was, how caring he was. And we get to know that, too, as viewers. I might add that I think him to be rather dreamy and am smitten with him, as well. That helps with the rating.
There is a large amount of “othering” in this film, which puts our main character and his friends in deep straights. Newt’s accidental friend, Jacob, is a wonderful actor and a fun addition to the story. He’s not the bumbling, helpless muggle most wizards expect him to be (apart from Newt and Queenie, who understand his worth). The final few scenes (you’ll hear no spoilers from me) with Jacob are so moving and so unfair that I cried like a baby. No lies.
I loved Tina and Queenie. They are believably from a time period where they are still being openly discounted for their gender, they have snippets of backstory that endear them to the viewer, they are smart, loyal and pretty darn brave. It makes you wonder which houses the American Wizarding school has, if any, and which traits placed them where. Maybe that’s not a thing in the American school. Maybe we’ll find out! OOOO!
The villains were great. I love a good villain, though I knew from the start who he was, which is a bit of a downer. However, he was a double-agent sort of man, which is also kinda fun. Apart from the main villain, we have secondary characters who are a little hard to love, but aren’t quite villains, like the President of the Wizarding World who is harsh and fails to see value in the right people until it’s too late. You also have the children of the New Salem clan who are less villains and more mistreated, abused and mishandled lives. Great complexity there.
There are a few characters (mostly muggles) whose stories aren’t really answered, but I have a feeling that there will be a continuation for Fantastic Beasts and that it might happen then.
In Moody’s eyes, the characters were a huge perk in the rating of this movie as a whole.
Plot: (4 of 5)
The plot was pretty good in this movie. It had good tension, some fun, uplifting moments, moments of intrigue and moments of humor. It was well paced. However, there are a few points when I thought to myself: “I knew that was going to happen” (see main villain comment), and that was disappointing. I also thought that the end was kind of smashed together so that some loose ends were left loose. This could be because there will be another movie, but it left me wishing they’d put another 15 minutes in to answer some questions left buzzing in my head, to give great depth to what happens next. I mean, Queenie gets her moment with Jacob, but Newt loves him, too!
That said, the part in the end with the bakery of fantastic beasts=best scene in the world. I’m still interested in our villain. You can’t just have a Johnny Depp Grindelwald and not give us more! *more on that below*
Geek Factor: (3 of 5)
Don’t get me wrong, I geeked out hard over the fantastic beasts themselves! Brilliant. Wondrous. If only Hagrid were not a baby or fictional and could have been there to see them…Newt is geek-out worthy, too. He’s a truly obsessive geek and his caring, loving, kind nature makes his wearing the Hufflepuff scarf a beautiful thing. Didn’t catch that? Just look at the below picture.
But here’s a few things that bugged this HP geek:
Grindelwald gets very little backstory. We know he’s “bad” in an offhand way, but we don’t really get much about him. As HP nerds, many of us will understand, but will still want more backstory. We don’t know how old he is, how old Dumbledore is at this point (though he is mentioned by Graves *I.E. Grindelwald*). We don’t know if he is Dumbledore’s rival yet, has been for years (probably the case), or was ever his lover (as has been hinted by HP geeks for ages). If so, his comments about Dumbledore seem a little stilted.
The Obscurus (obscurial). *SPOILERS ABOUND* I (and my mate) was a little annoyed by this addition to the story. Mostly because in the HP books we never hear a think about this parasite. You think you would, if it existed. You think other young kids dying and killing others in their wake due to non-magical training or suppression would be a thing that’s mentioned more widely.
Some speculate that Dumbledore’s sister who was presumably a squib actually had one of these obscurials living inside her, that she became one, was misdiagnosed as a squib, and killed their mother. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s where they are going with this, but I still stand by the fact that I think it would have been mentioned before.
We don’t hear much about the American school for witchcraft and wizarding. That’s a bummer and it best be rectified. It’s weird (in HP) that this school is never mentioned, too. Are you just trying to pacify us Yanks, J.K.? Is it because we spend millions on your franchise? Do not tease us! Okay, it’s fine if you do.
Altogether, Moody and her kin enjoyed this movie very much. There are some things I, as an older geek, wanted, but I was moved by story of Newt and I loved his friends and fantastical beasts. I also appreciate the fact that Hagrid is, many years later, still having to fight to make sure people appreciate fantastical beasts. It seems that, in the HP universe, like our own, we are slow to learn.
4.5 of 5
Madame Anxiety Addresses the Masses
-Jayme Beddingfield (Madame Anxiety)-
J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world of Harry Potter has been cherished by many for years. Both her and the characters in her stories are loved household names. Rowling’s immersive and magical world doesn’t only bestow many layers of whimsy and wonder, it also delves deep into issues we deal with every day: tolerance, bigotry, and the need to follow dreams.
One thing Rowling’s always leaves us with, is wanting of more. Finally, that day has come. ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' gives us more of the world we crave so much, but instead of behind the magic-protected walls of Hogwarts, we are transported into New York, 1926 alongside Rowling’s newest unforgettable protagonist, Newt Scamander. The brilliant team of J.K Rowling and David Yates that brought us the final four Harry Potter movies doesn’t disappoint with their newest venture.
We join Newt Scamander on his globe-trotting journey while he researches and writes the book ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.’ Long-time fans were first introduced to this book while attending Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Newt is undoubtedly a classic. His smile and cleverly honest one-liners are only some of the qualities that make Newt Rowling’s new darling.
Within the first few scenes, we are hit with immersive excitement, and adorably furry thief. The pace is a graceful balance of intrigue, action, and story setting. Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling announced that there would be four ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequels shortly before the first was released in theaters, allowing fans to settle in their seats a little bit more comfortably. Rowling’s typical carefully placed characters and details demonstrated that this would, in fact, be another deep and complex story. Each character weaved their own sense of heart and direction as the plot unfolded. The first of five movies simultaneously gave us plenty to expect in future films and was a gorgeous stand alone.
Even though Fantastic Beasts will, of course, be compared to Harry Potter, it is definitely its own story with a feel though reminiscent of Harry’s, it is painted a few shades darker. From magical mayhem to budding friendships, adorable creatures and terrifying villains, this is sure to be cherished franchise in the making.