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  • Fiona Prior

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Director: David Yates

Screenplay: J K Rowling

I am a fan of JK Rowling regarding her magic worlds. The film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is built on a library book found at the famous Hogwarts’ school for witches and wizards. Everyone and his/her dog of a certain generation (and their parents) knows that Hogwarts is where Harry Potter gained his education in wizardry and that his enrollment was the beginning of his/our most amazing adventures.

Fantastic Beasts is set in 1920's New York. Even in this period of history wizards, witches and muggles – ‘no mages’ in 1920’s New York vernacular ‒ share the planet in a not quite harmonious manner. We have a horrible ‘no mage’ woman who is lobbying to imprison witches and who abuses a group of orphans unfortunate to be in her care, particularly whenever they tip upon her paranoia concerning the paranormal. Likewise, we have a rogue wizard who resents the fact that the world’s magic community must temper their powers because of the muggles. You get it. The extremists, both magic and ordinary old human, are creating problems for the rest of the earth’s inhabitants.

Another familiar theme in 1920s New York is the casual way that the magic community treat their magical animals. This is how we meet Rowling’s newest hero, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who is trafficking endangered magical species through New York City is his Tardis-like hand luggage and contravening all regulations along the way.

In Fantastic Beasts magic creatures run amok, a witch and muggle fall in love (one of ‘those’ relationships), corruption collides in the muggle and magic worlds and our heroes face up to enormous evil; always being brave, funny and selfless in the face of danger.

Rowling’s creations ‒ animal, muggle and magic ‒ are as charming as ever in Fantastic Beasts. I left the cinema feeling that the world sparkled just a little bit more, knowing there definitely are more things in heaven and earth than our imaginations have yet conjured … and feeling very happy that life contains so much enchantment.

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