I took a few days off last week to enjoy the final stretch of Alycia’s Christmas break. I played some Destiny and slept in, but the best part was spending time with Alycia and Clara. We ditched Clara with my sister, though, and went and saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Alycia and I both wanted to see the movie, but our schedule didn’t permit making it to the theater until it had been out for almost two months. We both enjoyed the movie; Alycia is a much bigger Harry Potter nerd than I am and she was on board with it. Fantastic Beasts was a great introduction into a different part of the wizarding world, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
Here are some other belated thoughts about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
I really enjoyed Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of the movie’s protagonist Newt Scamander. I found Scamander to be a fascinating character unlike anyone else from the wizarding world. Harry, Ron and Hermione were all such confident characters, even when they doubted themselves they still looked others in the eye. Newt on the other hand only seemed confident when spending time with his creatures. He was an introvert who never looked people in the eye and had a difficult time expressing himself to others. It’s not that Newt didn’t appreciate those in his life; he just wasn’t as effusive with his feelings. I liked Newt because I understand Newt.
The wizarding world in America was weird. I suppose it was weird because we hadn’t really experienced anything outside of the United Kingdom. The wizarding world in Britain clearly had its issues, what with discrimination against Muggle-borns. America wasn’t without fault, though most of its discrimination was against No-Majes. Not every wizard and witch in America was opposed to No-Majes. Queenie shared Arthur Weasley’s fascination with No-Majes, which was refreshing considering the general attitude towards non-magical folk like us.
Another very American part of Fantastic Beasts was the New Salem Philanthropic Society. I don’t know if there were ever witch hunts in the United Kingdom, but they are unfortunately a true part of America’s history. I had never even thought about Salem or the witch trials while watching or reading Harry Potter. For wizards and witches in America, though, the Salem witch trials would have been a defining moment. If No-Majes were trying to hunt me down, then I might be wary of spending time with them as well. The extremism of the New Salem Philanthropic Society needs to be avoided at all costs, especially when applied to groups that actually exist. Any ideology that seeks to discriminate, demean or diminish any group should be exposed, denounced and avoided.
I am very grateful that we eventually got to see Fantastic Beasts and that my sister was willing to watch Clara for us. It felt enough like Harry Potter to be comfortable, but different enough to be fresh and exciting. I read that Universal is planning on four more movies, which I don’t mind at all; I can’t wait to see what happens with Newt Scamander and his fantastic beasts.
What did you think of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?