Six Musical Moments from “Fantastic Beasts” That Could Become as Iconic as “Hedwig’s Theme”
Say whatever else you want about the Harry Potter movies, there’s no denying the distinct and often beautiful musical identity that tied each film together through the score. At the heart of the Potters’ music lies John Williams’s iconic main motif, which stirs up emotion in the hearts of Potter fans like nothing else: “Hedwig’s Theme.”
Just recently, WaterTower Music, the label for the Fantastic Beasts soundtrack, posted a video showing an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the composition of the music for Fantastic Beasts:
Since the Fantastic Beasts soundtrack has now been released in full, and we’ve been given a glimpse into what went into it behind the scenes, it begins to beg the question: Can anything compare to the original films’ scores and the iconic first few notes of “Hedwig’s Theme”? Upon listening to the Roaring Twenties-infused Fantastic Beasts score, composed by James Newton Howard and now available for purchase and on iTunes and Spotify, we came up with a list of the closest contenders.
1. “Inside the Case”
It’s only fitting that one of the most iconic sequences in Fantastic Beasts is accompanied by one of the most beautiful musical moments of the film. When we see Newt enter his case for the first time, the score is absolutely bewitching. From the soaring to the emotional, the intimate but enjoyable “Inside the Case” recalls the wonder and pure enchantment of Potter and “Hedwig’s Theme” while bringing its very own musical magic to the cinematic wizarding world.
2. “End Titles”
Another of the best Fantastic Beasts musical moments comes over the first part of the end credits of the movie. While recalling some of Howard’s more epic and adventurous scores like Treasure Planet, the song still stays true to the magic, both heroic and whimsical, at the heart of the movie. This end theme is certain to have audiences leave the theater humming.
3. “A Man and His Beasts”
While not available to stream through WaterTower’s channel due to being a bonus track on the album, “A Man and His Beasts” is definitely a track that can go toe-to-toe with “Hedwig’s Theme”: With its stunning arrangements and haunting choral melodies, this eight-minute track, as spellbinding as it is beautiful, truly helps form the unique musical identity of Fantastic Beasts while still maintaining a connection to the wizarding world we know and love.
4. “Tina Takes Newt In/MACUSA Headquarters”
This short track demonstrates a number of the most masterful elements of the Fantastic Beasts score. Playing over our introduction to MACUSA, it is the perfect blend of the lively magical melodies from Harry Potter and the brand new, Jazz Age-inspired tunes of the new series. The Roaring Twenties are alive and well in this movie, and using upbeat choir harmonies in the background, this track proves it.
5. “Kowalski Rag”
This is another tune available on the deluxe soundtrack only, but you can hear a snippet of it in the behind-the-scenes clip from above. True to its name, this track demonstrates everything we love about Jacob Kowalski: it’s fun but not too whimsical, it’s upbeat and enjoyable with just a hint of magic, and it is truly a track straight from the twenties. If you’re looking for musical moments that differentiate Beasts from Potter in the best way possible, this is it.
6. “Main Titles”
While “Kowalski Rag” deviates from Potter in a big way, “Main Titles” uses “Hedwig’s Theme” as its jumping-off point before it gets into the original, soaring orchestrations that form the title theme of the Beasts score. Whether it was homage or simply cashing in on nostalgia is up for debate, but there’s no denying that directly incorporating Potter definitely made this musical moment one worth remembering.
What’s your pick for best musical moment in Fantastic Beasts? Do you think James Newton Howard’s score can compare to the original Potter soundtracks? Sound off in the comments below!