CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!!! (I’m sorry but some things just must be discussed)
David Yates’ treatment of yet another insight into Jk Rowling’s brilliant mind was, for lack of a more worthy term, magical. Harry Potter fans and anyone alike are encouraged to delve into the magical world full-force as Jk Rowling transports her audience into a world that is just as reflective of our own and as the world we came to know and love in the Harry Potter franchise. The themes are so encompassing and relevant to the issues of our physical world and when placed alongside numerous multi-dimensional characters that anyone could fall in love with, the magic is established. Not to mention the masterful work of the filmmakers which gives the story life in an equally important way.
Each character is portrayed with their own charming quirks, tragic circumstance, and undeniable greatness in all their glory as the story unfolds. Again, Jk Rowling presents us with characters who are misunderstood and mistreated which can only create two opposing ripple effects on who these characters are destined to become. Some have overcome their struggles, keeping their composure and dignity in tact while others have been pushed passed the point of salvation, completely robbed of their innocence from the cruel environment forced upon them.
Newt is quiet and awkward and has always struggled to find a place in society. His view of humanity is a negative one, but valid. He takes care of these creatures who have also been misjudged and neglected by the world they live in, and in return, they give him the comfort and belonging that he is so deserving of. Newt possesses the true heart of a Hufflepuff which is bigger than humanity can take. Perhaps this is why so many people view Hufflepuff as the weak and unfortunate house. Their unwavering loyalty and immense compassion is taken for granted and taken as weakness when in reality, this quality is what makes them so strong. Not until these qualities allow him to save New York from peril is he finally beginning to be accepted by his community. Newt’s personal experiences and genuine interest in magical creatures have allowed him to blossom into a hero. A man who constantly seeks that which makes one special when no one else can see it or will even give the time of day to try. Newt is, of course, reminiscent of Hagrid and so much more.
Queenie is a very intriguing character. She is very beautiful and one who at first glance, some may assume has a very easy life. Not much further into the plot, there seems to be something sad about her character. She was born a legilimens and unequipped with the tools to control it. The unyielding thoughts of those around Queenie will always be forced upon her which makes her susceptible to feel empathy for each soul to cross her path yet her feelings are more often than not, unreciprocated and disregarded. Her ability proves to be both a curse and a gift as her connection to these strangers’ lives will most likely not be mutual. Fortunately, an unlikely being steps into her life, a “nomaj” who is as captivated and mesmerized by her, as she is with him.
Dan Fogler as Kowalski portrays the perfect nomaj character whom all of us nomaj/muggles from the real world can relate to. His role provides the perfect amount of comedic relief as his reactions to this new world encompass how the audience is also thinking. Kowalski is a simple man with humble dreams of opening a pastry shop which makes him highly likeable. His innocence and playfulness in world full of darkness is exactly what the story needs to help keep hope and happiness alive.
The magical creatures that Newt introduces are incredibly fascinating and imaginative. The way Newt introduces them in such a positive light allows the audience to understand just how unfairly and ignorantly the mainstream wizarding community has judged them. These fantastic beasts are a constant reinforcement of the idea that everyone is special in their own way and that we must not judge one another based on a small fraction of what makes us who we are. Each and every life is a valuable one. Newt teaches us that these ‘beasts’ will only seem dangerous if they are treated as a threat rather than being understood for the nature of who they are and how their minds operate.
Jk Rowling has a special place in her heart for children’s issues and what better way to express these anxieties than in fantastic beasts. Once again, her story explores the tragedy that occurs when a child has been robbed of their innocence and this time there is no sugar-coating or censorship going on. She chooses to dive right into the utterly dark and depressing truths of child abuse and neglect through the metaphorical dark magic that is an Obscurus. These children who are completely vulnerable and helpless to their situation are forced to withhold their emotions and keep their feelings contained in order to protect themselves. All of these built up feelings become an inevitable darkness from within that eventually consumes them. The film also explains that an Obscurus does not typically survive past the age of 10 which suggests that the darkness within these children, caused by abuse and neglect, functions to remove all hope of life from its wake. Put simply, if children are not shown love and light, they will not be able to find it in themselves and therefore, never know what it means to truly live. m Further, perhaps the narrative is saying that monsters are born when a child’s innocence is stolen from them.
David Yates seems to effortlessly combine the light and the dark in such a narrative which is overflowing with both positive and negative content. Once again, the themes which Jk Rowling explores are so serious and tragic, yet the context of these issues provide an unbelievable sense of allure, charm, and alleviation. Not only do the fantastic characters light up the narrative, but each time we are introduced to another one of Newt’s creatures, we are invited even further to be amused and inspired by the unique characteristics each creature has to offer. Each creature possesses a personality of its own which establishes a never ending journey of discovery and intrigue. The CGI may not be the best, but the incredibly great lengths of the imagination behind them provide the audience with more than enough wonder to be simply amazed. In addition to the creatures, David Yates also depicts Jk Rowling’s vision of the American magical community in the 1920s in such a way that brings the story a whole new sense of awe. The visual effects are stunning and whimsical and at times when it is necessary, dark and unnerving. With his past experience with the Harry Potter series, David Yates seems to have officially mastered the task of bringing this enchanting world to screen. Despite being a spin-off of such an immensely popular franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has managed to stand alone. There may be a fair share of references to the familiar world of Harry Potter, but this is only a mere undertone to what this story in particular is about. It is a fresh narrative made up of entirely new concepts, themes, and characters in a completely different setting and for that alone, Jk Rowling and David Yates, along with each and every individual who was a part of the making of this film, shall be commended. I cannot wait to see what the next film in this fantastic new franchise will have to offer.