After Taste: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I recently went to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I planned to watch it for the second time.

The movie itself is a highly anticipated franchise for both die-hard and casual Harry Potter fans.

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Meet the heroes & heroines: Tina, Newt, Queenie, and Jacob | Source: Booktopia

Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off of the Harry Potter canon. The story begins when a magizoologist named Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels to New York with a bottomless case full of magical creatures (imagine Doctor Who’s TARDIS).

Newt accidentally lets the creatures slip out from the case and he goes in search for them with his no-maj (non-magic) friend, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler).

Newt, for those who has no idea, wrote a textbook of the same title which Harry and his friends used at school.

Meanwhile, the city is also in terror after sudden deaths of its citizens, which includes the death of a well-known politician. Thus making the tension between wizard community and no-majs can’t be helped. In fact, it becomes worse.

Just as what I expected, Fantastic Beasts is an enjoyable movie. It’s adventurous, entertaining, and has an appeal of magic elements that you’ve never encountered in Harry Potter. However, there are a few points that, in my humble opinion, make this movie not a whole piece of production.

Awkward maturity

When Harry Potter was first introduced, he was a 11 year old orphan. He lived miserably with his aunt, uncle, and cousin before he found that he was a wizard. After that, the story follows Harry’s adventure as a child and eventually, a teenager.

Fantastic Beasts, on the other hand, have grown wizards and citizens as its main characters. However, the story lacks the maturity of the root of its own story.

The characters spend minutes of chasing magical creatures in PokemonGo-esque manner while there’s something bigger happening around them.

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Somebody’s been caught. | Source: Tumblr

Sure, it reinvents our inner child who just wants to go on adventures and have fun. But for me it feels like a common blockbuster movie which attempts to aim both children and adults, without a ripe growing story inside it. Even so, my opinion will probably change after watching its sequels, which will be at least four of them.

 

Black-and-white justice

I have never read Rowling’s other fictional works outside the Harry Potter franchise. This movie offers Rowling’s usual black-and-white, good versus evil theme, just like how The Order of The Phoenix fights The Death Eaters.

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MACUSA, Magical Congress of the United States of America | Source: Giphy

Some elements are dark enough, such as Credence Barebone’s (Ezra Miller) deal with abuse and betrayal. However, as a movie with adult characters, I expected more complicated conflicts and grey area, where the character even questions if they’re doing the right or the wrong thing.

Still, there are things to love!

After all, the things I mentioned above don’t stop me from being fond of Fantastic Beasts. The characters are adorable and so easy to love (especially Newt and Tina, my newfound OTP). Newt’s interactions with the magic creatures are adorable as well. Reminds you of Hagrid who always treats his creatures carefully.

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Caught the troublemaker. | Source: Digital Spy

Jacob Kowalski is a great addition as well. In Harry Potter, most muggles are portrayed as dumb and ignorant. The opposite happens in Fantastic Beasts. It’s the first time a non-magic citizen does a great contribution for the magical society, as a major character.

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The majestic Thunderbird (also known as Zapdos in the Pokemon universe) | Source: NY Daily News

On the other hand, the fantastic beasts themselves are indeed fantastic. It’s very exciting to find them come to live, after years only imagining them from Newt Scamander’s book (thanks to CGI). It would be nice if the book is re-printed with illustration of the magical creatures, just like a field guide.

I’m looking forward of how things going for Fantastic Beasts franchise and what Rowling & co have in mind for them.  A new era of magic has just begun.

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