The end of the Harry Potter Franchise meant the entertainment industry would lack the magic of the wizarding world. So, when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a movie based on a textbook and mythos of the Harry Potter world, was announced – it was welcomed with open arms. Directed by David Yates, who also directed multiple Harry Potter movies, and written by J.K. Rowling, it seemed for the most part that this movie should be able recreate the same magic as its predecessors. For the most part, the movie does try to do so, even if it often does not succeed.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them makes for the most appropriate expansion of the Harry Potter universe than anything else in recent association to the franchise. Unlike Harry Potter which started as a textual story, Fantastic Beasts is created for visual story-telling, and it shows in various parts of the movie. It stays true to its roots as a part of the Harry Potter franchise, by addressing issues about discrimination and bigotry. The movie touches upon aspects of the world that the Harry Potter books couldn't.
Newt Scamander is a British magizoologist visiting New York at a time when magical creatures are feared. In the city, following certain hijinks, a few of his creatures escapes his magical suitcase. What that entails is the banding of the main quintet which includes Newt, sisters, Tina and Queen Goldstein and a no-maj, Jacob Kowlaski. The latter of the characters becomes a much needed addition to the world. Not only does he make for an entertaining character, but he also adds new dynamics as a non-magic individual in the world of magic.
There are other characters including the American aurors and people involved in an anti-magic group who play out important roles in the story. However that is more of a setback for the movie. By the second act, multiple elements and even new concepts are introduced in the movie that overshadows one another. There are too many stories playing out, and their connection to the main characters feels forced rather than organic. The movie makes it obvious that it would have done better being a full story on its own rather than an origin story.
Despite the various setbacks, it still makes for a good standalone movie outside the Harry Potter series. Although there remain enough easter eggs to enthrall any Harry Potter fan, it is still a good movie for anyone who hasn't watched any of the Harry Potter movies. (Although, why wouldn't you have watched them?) All in all, Fantastic Beasts is a fun and exciting film that is held back by being an origin.
Fatimah Akhtar is a food and fiction enthusiast with a soft spot for bulldogs. Redirect all your complaints, queries, and feedbacks to her at firstname.lastname@example.org