No Potter? No problem!

“Fantastic Beasts” is a fantastic film

Fantastic+Beasts+gets+a+solid+4%2F5+stars.

Fantastic Beasts gets a solid 4/5 stars.

By Elinda Xiao

N

ov. 18. The prophesied day. The day that Potterheads had waited for anxiously, with baited breaths and clutched House scarves.

The day would bring forth a new movie from the Harry Potter universe, but with a twist. Because of its setting—1926 in New York—this is the first Harry Potter story without Harry Potter.

After the lukewarm reception of ¨Cursed Child,¨ Potterheads desperately needed the new film to reignite the magic that had been slowly petering out since the end of ¨Deathly Hallows II.” Hufflepuffs and Slytherins alike crowded into theatres to see ¨Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,¨ myself included.

And how did I find it?

Fantastic!

The new addition to the Harry Potter franchise is noticeably darker than the previous movies. While the series never shied away from topics such as child abuse or blood-status sectionalism (a Wizarding metaphor for racism), these issues are brought into a harsh reality in “Fantastic Beasts,” and the added seriousness works in the film’s favor.

The basic synopsis is this: Newt Scamander is a British magizoologist with a suitcase filled with magical creatures, and he accidentally swaps suitcases with a No-Maj (American Muggle).

But there is an added danger to his visit as an Anti-Wizard cult spews propaganda, and the infamous Dark Wizard Grindelwald is rumored to be in America.

The way that Scamander reacts to these hardships is where the line between “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” is clearly drawn: Scamander takes everything in with stubborn determination, wildly different from Potter’s famous teenaged angst.

With the distinction between an adult and a child protagonist, it is clear that “Fantastic Beasts” is not aimed at the same youth demographic as “Harry Potter,” but rather at the generation of adults who grew up with it.

This, along with the fact that the movie has no novel counterpart, gives the film the creative freedom that the “Harry Potter” series did not have. The setting of a new country leads to fantastic worldbuilding and lore development, and adds a sense of depth to the plot.

The characters are both old and new, but the spotlight really shines on the new. Tina Goldstein, played by Katherine Waterston, is a trouser-wearing auror who refuses to bow to society’s prejudices and divides. Her younger sister Queenie chooses to be more feminine, but is every bit as clever and brave. These sisters continue the legacy of J.K. Rowling’s inspirational female characters.

CGI is used for creatures, magic and the settings of the film, but all is done well.

“Fantastic Beasts” is a magical film for teens and adults alike. With its outstanding characters and strong plot, this movie definitely shouldn’t be missed this holiday season.