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Fantastic Beasts Begins New Era Of Magic

POTTER’S ENDURING INFLUENCE

It’s been a great year for Harry Potter fans, aka Potterheads. The last Potter film was released in 2012, but the boy who lived made a comeback in so many ways. With a new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, playing in London to the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, the magic came back to life at a very appropriate time, in a year filled with  much turmoil and pain.

Many fans have spent years anxiously waiting for this newest film, released on Nov. 18. Unlike the actual Potter series, many Potterheads have probably read the small Fantastic Beasts book only once. Because of how heavily adapted it was, no one knew exactly what to expect,  but being a Potter-verse movie, expectations were extremely high. After mixed reviews on the Cursed Child screenplay, there was a lot at stake for author J.K. Rowling, who also wrote Fantastic Beasts’ screenplay, to defend the magical world she’s dedicated her career to creating .

Based in 1926, the same year Voldemort was born, the film revolves around Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne),  a wizard who comes from Hogwarts to New York City armed with a briefcase, reminiscent of Mary Poppins’ infamous bag, but much cooler. Some of the creatures in Newt’s bag escape, sending him and others on a wild chase around New York. All the while, the future of the wizarding world is rocky, with several incidents occurring around the city that put the wizards in danger.

Like all the Harry Potter movies have before, Fantastic Beasts begins with the memorable Warner Brothers logo surrounded by dark, luminous clouds alongside John Williams’ iconic music. Spells, phrases like “Merlin’s Beard,” and the mere mention of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s name brought back many memories and inspired delighted gasps from audience members. From the start, viewers know it’s going to be good.

Redmayne does an incredible job of bringing his character to life. With quirky mannerisms and the signature moppy haircut, Redmayne brings Newt to the forefront of the magical universe, really giving it a 110 percent.

The surprising underdog of the film was Dan Fogler’s character, Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (the American term for Muggle) who finds himself somehow entangled in Newt’s search for magical creatures, exposing himself to the wizarding world.  His curiosity, feelings, and expressions are nostalgic for all who have watched the Potter films.

The film was fantastic. The complexity of the first Potter series transcends into Fantastic Beasts . The spells, characters, and all around magical world might overwhelm for someone unfamiliar with the series. Gellert Grindelwald, a famous dark wizard, made an important appearance in the film and not knowing his history and the significance of the Elder Wand would leave a viewer with many questions.

However, several themes of the film relate to things prevalent in today’s society: bigotry, ignorance, and fear. Since the Potter series often tackled the ramifications of Nazsm and Fascism, and J.K. Rowling herself is an outspoken political activist, Fantastic Beasts couldn’t come at a more perfect time.

With four more films to release, there is much more for fans to look forward to in the next couple years including some past favorite characters like Dumbledore. J.K. Rowling remains a genius and continues to let us believe that magic is real.

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