Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Did you know that they are still making Harry Potter movies? It’s true! But I got distracted and never actually saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them until now. (Not Black Panther like you’d think. I tried, but all the theaters with assigned seating were sold out down to the front rows today, so I still don’t get to go until Monday. That’s like five days of avoiding spoilers, you guys. Then again, I managed to go more than a year with functionally no spoilers on this Harry Potter thing I’m nominally reviewing, and that includes steadfastly ignoring the newest third of the Harry Potter exhibit on the Warner Bros. studio tour.)

So, a thing worth mentioning is that this technically was not a Harry Potter movie, seeing as how it was set in 1927, some 50 odd years before the boy who lived was even born. There’s this guy Newt Scamander, who wrote a book called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and this is a story of him hanging out in America with a suitcase full of fantastic beasts, back when nobody really liked them (the beasts, not suitcases) and they were illegal to have instead of worthy of being studied and written about, and also there was a pre-Voldemort wizard bad guy that everyone is nervous about.

So if you care about cool magical creatures (you should) or how American wizardry differs from British wizardry in time as well as space (maybe you should?) or about characters who all share a sense of wonder about this whole magic thing even though they were born to it instead of being thrust into it as a cipher stand-in for the reader, and also they all care about each other and have genuine undeniable chemistry, both as actors and as characters (you definitely should, as this kind of thing honestly doesn’t happen that often), this is the movie for you. In a way, it’s better than its source material.

Not that I don’t like Harry Potter, but chosen ones who learn about the universe as the reader or watcher does with constantly ratcheting stakes are kind of a dime a dozen these days, whereas successful post facto world-building is a rare gem indeed.

2 thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

  1. Ryan

    Also, Newt is an amazing example of a kind of positive, non-violent masculinity not typically depicted in mainstream film. I will always kind of love this movie (and presumably it’s sequels) for that.

  2. Chris Post author

    A thing I thought but did not mention in my review is that Newt had a way of looking away while speaking, not making eye contact or else doing it out of the side of his face, minimal eye contact when it was absolutely necessary, which made me wonder if possibly the character was meant to be or the actor actually is autistic / on the spectrum.

    After your clearly true comment, I wonder if instead I was just reading in from his lack of direct plowing through everything instead, and am rather more toxicked up than I would want to be. I hope that these two takes can be true instead of in conflict, instead!


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