Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Payton Reid, Editorial Board

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Children and adults alike thrived on a single series for years, which easily remains one of the most iconic franchises in pop culture history, and left millions of dedicated fans overjoyed to see it’s success continue for nearly 20 years and counting.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows grossed over $1,341,511,000 USD in the international box office after it’s release on July 5th, 2011. Fans were thrilled with the film, but the bittersweet undertone was undeniable as the iconic trio left the big screen for a final time.

This November the wizarding world returned with a series that acts almost as a prequel the Harry Potter, in the sense that Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them takes place in 1926 America as opposed to 1991 England. Fantastic Beasts is based on a book written by J.K Rowling intended to be a textbook used at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but the film follows the story of the fictional author.

While the textbook is not seen much in the Harry Potter series, seeing the magic world before Harry, Ron, and Hermione came to be adds an interesting aspect to the movies though Fantastic Beasts is its own franchise that may be co-dependant on the previous films, but deserves recognition on it’s own. After only a few weeks since its release, the film has already grossed $476.80 million USD.

After arriving on a boat from London, author Newt Scamander finds himself losing a suitcase filled with magical beasts he has been looking after while writing his book based on misconceptions wizards have about the creatures. On his search to reclaim the case, along with any beasts that managed to escape, he befriends a man with no magical ability (a “no-mag” or “muggle”) along with two witches that join him on their journey around the city.

While the trio of wizards and their non-magical friend search for the beasts, a sub-storyline is unfolding and is centered around an orphanage run by women that believe witches and wizards should be killed. These women are pushing for a second Salem witch trial to rid the world of what is commonly perceived as evil, while one of the children living with them struggles to accept himself and the lifestyle they live. There are elements of abuse in the orphanage that could potentially be upsetting to moviegoers, though nothing is blatantly graphic or even spoken about much.

The storyline of the entire film is dynamic and independent from the Harry Potter franchise, showing how powerful the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be as a stand alone series. The elements of magic are greatly enjoyable for younger children, and the developing friendships act as entertainment for older crowds as well. Not a second of the film feels dull or without the ever changing, enchanting aspect of magic that has captivated audiences and readers since the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the 90’s.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a beautiful continuation of a world created by J.K Rowling so many find comfort and familiarity in. With four more movies on the way, the younger generation growing up with it are in the faithful hands of Newt Scamander and the magical creatures of the wizarding world.

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