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My Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! (FILM + SCRIPT BOOK)

Oh. Em. Gee. You know how we thought the wizarding world of Harry Potter was over after the last movie's release back in 2011? Well, JK Rowling has given us a renaissance of wizardy goodness this year and I could not be more excited. First, we had the release of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play and script book (which I was pretty lukewarm about: read my thoughts on the Cursed Child here).

And now, we have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a movie written by JK Rowling all about our favorite magizoologist (and Hufflepuff) Newt Scamander, author of the famed (in the wizarding world) book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Set in the 1920's it follow Newt's first journey to New York City, his encounter with American wizards (good and bad) and all of the magical beasts he carries with him in his enchanted suitcase. Obviously a prequel, it's the first movie in a series of FIVE movies, starting in 1926 and ending in the 40's. So this isn't just a one shot thing. We're going to have another wizarding series on our hands! And we all thought the magic was over!

So like most die hard Potter fans, I saw Fantastic Beasts last week when it was released. I went in purposely not trying to know anything about the movie- and staying clear of spoilers is hard to do in this day and age! It was a bit of a weird experience to be going to a JK Rowling based story and not having had read the book it was based on first. Because there wasn't a book. JK Rowling wrote the script herself from that brilliant, imaginative mind of hers and I'm so glad she decided to share Newt's story with us instead of keeping it to herself!

Without giving too much away (and I promise, no spoilers! I'm leaving a LOT about the movie out of this blog post!) the movie starts as Newt and his magical suitcase filled with beasts arrive in NYC and after a series of mishaps (including his escaped Niffler, a ridiculously cute platypus-like magical creature that loves anything shiny like jewelry and coins and keeps it in a pouch on it's belly), he meets no-maj (aka Muggle aka non-wizarding folk) Jacob, an aspiring baker, and witches (and sisters!) Porpetina (aka Tina) and Queenie Goldstein. A misplaced and then accidentally opened magical suitcase full of magical beasts later, Newt, Jacob, Tina, and Queenie are thrown together and must recapture the escaped creatures and prove to the NYC wizarding community and the US wizarding government MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) that the dark events happening are not caused by the contents of Newt's suitcase. Hint: it's something (or someone), much more evil and power hungry.

It would be an incredibly vast understatement to say that I liked Fantastic Beasts. I LOVED it! It had a darker, more serious tone to it than even the last few Harry Potter movies, which I think will become even more ominous in the next movies, as dark happenings are starting in the wizarding world. But despite this threatening tone, there were some definite funny parts and one liners- Jacob added a much need sense of levity and earnestness- which seems like something only JK Rowling can add into such a serious and magical world. Seeing New York City in the 1920's was so much fun, especially as an avid lover of history and also with the added magical touches to it. But the characters to me were one of the biggest highlights of the movies: Jacob was the no-maj breath of fresh air in the group, seeing the wizarding world for the first time with new eyes and his relationship with Queenie, the carefree and beautiful flapper, may have been the sweetest thing I've ever seen in my life. Tina, the earnest rule follower, was tough, but kind, and I automatically identified with her serious nature (and her gorgeous powder blue coat. Seriously, I NEED that coat!). And Newt himself was adorably awkward, more relaxed around magical beasts than his fellow witch or wizard. And the beasts! Oh, the beasts!

The beasts were all inventive creatures, only mildly resembled normal, recognizable non-magical creatures, like eagles, rhinos, and the aforementioned platypus. We were introduced (well, if you hadn't actually read the text book version of Fantastic Beasts that JK Rowling released a number of years ago where it compiles a vast and descriptive list of magical creatures- with the added bonus of Harry's, Ron's, and Hermione's handwriting scribbled throughout it) to billywigs, a demiguise, a thunder bird, occamies, and so many more! (Most of which Newt had actually given names to, like Pickett the bowtruckle, who lives in his coat pocket and is more adorable than Groot, in my honest opinion) I think one of my favorite parts of the movie is when we actually go into Newt's enchanted suitcase, which is giant inside, and is just an enormous, multi-landscaped room, where all the magical creatures can live in their own, magically made natural habitat. The creatures were fantastical and wondrous, and I honestly could have been just as happy for the movie just to have been a tour of Newt's suitcase and a showcase of all of the beasts!

After watching Fantastic Beasts and just being in awe, I was so happy that the same Friday the movie was released, the script book for the film was also released! I'm reading it now, and while it is the actual movie script, it's the script for the movie as we see it, without any parts of the script that may have been cut or deleted from the actual film version. While I'm really enjoying reading the script, it would have been nice to see the complete version, as I know that movies always leave things out, either for time or continuity reasons. Despite it being a script and pretty bare boned (bare boned? Bare bone? Barebone? If you've seen the movie you get it) but even the descriptions are so classic JK, with her little subtle quips of humor thrown in every which way, dialogue included. And don't get me started on the book jacket design and the designs inside the book! So gorgeous and art deco-esqe, but with a touch of curlieques and whimsy thrown in. The perfect mixture for the story!

It's fair to say that Fantastic Beasts exceeded my expectations and I can't tell you how excited I am for the next four movies. Fantastic Beasts was just a terrific start to a whole new series about the wizarding world that we knew nothing about and didn't even know was relevant to the fate of the wizarding world during Harry's timeline; we had just heard faint whispers and tales of certain figures referenced in the Harry Potter books. Thanks to JK, the magic is still alive and though we may not be seeing all of the characters we've come to know and love, we're still in this magical world, meeting new characters that have already worked their way into our hearts, and learning more and more about the wizarding community- in different places, like the USA (go Ilvermorny!), throughout different time periods, and all of the events that have gone on to shape Harry and co's lives. And for that, I am so grateful to JK Rowlingfor not only being a big part of my childhood, but now being a huge part of my adulthood.

Now on to more important things: buying every single item of Fantastic Beasts merchandise, including an exact replica of Newt's suitcase (I don't even need the magical creatures in there, that's not a deal breaker for me), and finding a no-maj version of a Niffler. Seriously, weren't Nifflers the cutest creatures ever to exist in the world, magical or not??? Are platypuses legal? How about echidna puggles? These are important things to know!!

What did you think of Fantastic Beasts? Did you love it as much as me? How many times have you seen it? (I've only seen it once but want to see it again to relive the magic!) Let me know!

Stay Weird,
4 comments on "My Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! (FILM + SCRIPT BOOK)"
  1. I'm seeing it next week because I wanted to rewatch all of the Harry Potter films (for the millionth time) before I saw it to get in the mood. So excited though!

    1. Oooh, that's a good idea! I'd love to rewatch all the HP movies again! But I hope you like Fantastic Beasts when you see it! :) Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. I like both the book and the movie. I've seen the movie only once but I think it's fantastic! :)

    1. I've only seen it once too, but I'd be up for seeing it again, I liked it so much! :)

      Thanks for commenting! Love your blog btw!


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