It’s always hard to go back to work or school after a long weekend or holiday break so here’s hoping today goes by smoothly and quickly!
Thanksgiving went by in a flash and as you all know the second Thanksgiving is over it is Christmas decorating and shopping at full steam ahead. I got my first dose of Christmas cheer this past weekend. Aside from decorating my house and Christmas tree, I met up with my friend to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and walked around the Christmas market in Bethlehem, PA. Some pictures and a short video on that in a few days! Today, however, I am going to talk about my thoughts on the movie!
I heard a lot of mixed reviews about the much anticipated movie written by beloved Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. I heard some people say they loved it and one of my students told me it was awesome. On social media, I heard some others say it was just okay. What did I think? I thought it was pretty good, but not amazing, which in itself is a tiny bit of a letdown seeing as how much I (and millions of others) love the world of Harry Potter. But I want to be very clear that I’m not saying it was a bad movie or that I didn’t like it – I did!
First, let me give some background of the story line. The movie takes place in 1920s, New York City and follows British wizard, Newt Scamander who studies and rescues magical creatures. Potter lovers will have heard of Newt because he is the famous (fictional) author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, hence the movie title. Newt arrives in New York City on a mission pertaining to one of his magical creatures and happens to arrive right in the middle of turmoil going on in America amongst the wizarding world. Something dark is wreaking havoc which threatens to expose the magic world to no-maj’s (this is the American word for “muggle”). He meets a witch, Tina, who works for the MACUSA (the American version of the Ministry of Magic) which stands for Magical Congress of the United States of America, and they work together to help his magical creatures whilst also figuring out what evil force is at work.
I thought the movie was pretty interesting and it was cool to get a glimpse of the wizarding world in America. It was also cool to see the magic world from an adult perspective as all the characters are adults as opposed to in Harry Potter where they were kids and teenagers. Newt, played by Eddie Redmayne, was very reserved, quiet, and shy and has this way about him that makes it seem like he has had a tough life or past because he often looks down or away from people when speaking. Eddie Redmayne is a terrific actor so I’m inclined to believe that this is the way the character is meant to be portrayed. Kind of unsure of himself, an outsider, different from others – and perhaps that is why he is so passionate about helping and educating his fellow wizards about magical creatures and how they are misunderstood.
Newt’s quiet demeanor and the seemingly lack of real answers or reasoning for things in the movie are criticisms I have heard from some. In regards to that, I can understand why some felt that it fell flat. I can also see why others loved it, because it was a visit back into that magical world and if you’re like me you like seeing things from different perspectives and getting to learn more about the history of things. Yes, I agree that it some regards the story and characters didn’t feel fully developed, BUT the reason why that doesn’t bother me is that it was previously announced that this would be the first in a 5-part movie series. Knowing this, I’m okay with this movie because I see it as more of a set-up movie. Now we know the background of what is going on, who these people are, etc. In subsequent movies we can get into more depth about the “big bad” and the character’s pasts especially Newt and find out why they are the way they are, as well as how this all leads up to Harry Potter’s world if at all. If this was a standalone movie with no more sequels (prequels) then that would be a different story and I would have been disappointed.
Overall, I liked the movie and although I’m not super excited about it it did pique my interest and has left me interested to see where the next one will go.
Have you seen the movie yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts!