Good Movie Review and Where to Read It

Catherine Goodheart, Staff Writer

Newt Scamander was a magizoologist who was kicked out of Hogwarts in England and came to New York in 1926.  He is the main character in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling. This movie was made as a spin-off of the Harry Potter franchise. The book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was written by Rowling in 2001 under the pen name of the fictional author, Newt Scamander.

Newt, played by Eddie Redmayne, finds himself struggling with his suitcase full of these “fantastic beasts” as he is getting a security check when he comes off the boat from England.  He is able to pass through to New York City, but when he arrives, he faces more challenges than he could have ever expected.  In the wizarding world, the beasts Newt takes care of are considered illegal and he has to be very careful not to get caught with them in America, or else he could get in trouble with the Magical Congress of the United States of America.  Before Newt arrived, the MACUSA found a beast loose in New York City that is a dark, destructive force that manifests itself as young magical children forced to conceal their powers; the beast is able to kill many people and cause mass destruction all around the city.  Newt, with the help of his new wizard and no-maj (no-magic, a muggle, a person who isn’t a wizard) friends, Katherine Waterston as Porpentina Goldstein, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, and Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, saves NYC from its demise.

As a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, I was very excited to see this spin-off, but was sadly let down.  This movie was missing that loveable charm and element of surprise that came with the Harry Potter book series and later movies.  It was very predictable and followed through with the typical plot line of small problems all lying within a large one that somehow all “magically” gets solved in the end.  Also, with Harry Potter we watched him grow up in the movies and books, going from a muggle to a highly praised wizard. We learned about magic and how to use it with him.  With Newt Scamander, he does a quick flick of the wand and is able to make everything change, while Harry had to actually say a spell and move the wand in different directions in order to do different tasks.  It was almost as if J.K. Rowling knew that the majority of the people seeing this movie had already watched the Harry Potter movies and knew how magic worked.  It was disappointing that nothing was new and exciting besides the setting and characters.  

However, if you hadn’t seen Harry Potter or read the books, then this movie was probably very thrilling and unique, considering that some of the new characters are magical beasts that you grow attached to as the movie goes on.  Since it takes place before Harry Potter was born in the 1920’s, this movie could be a good introduction into the wizarding world for you.  Thankfully, this movie is not a stand-alone movie, and there are big plans for a trilogy!  This movie might have not stolen my heart just yet, but there are more movies soon to come that may change my mind on Newt Scamander and his crazy life traveling the world to help his Fantastic Beasts.