Five Expectations That “Fantastic Beasts” Met
Today marks the one-year anniversary of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them! We’re a year away from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and my excitement is mounting. To show our appreciation for the rejuvenation of the wizarding world, here are five of my expectations that Fantastic Beasts met!
Newt Scamander is the quirky Hufflepuff the wizarding world deserves! Eddie Redmayne is a perfect casting choice for the socially awkward, intelligent Magizoologist who will lead the franchise. His character expands from an introvert who clearly feels more comfortable with beast friendships to a person who has human friends as well. His mission in the magical community is endearing: to write a book that allows wizards to understand magical creatures. His deep understanding of what the magical community is missing in regard to interspecies relationships is intriguing. Wizards often place themselves above goblins, house-elves, and other magical beings. Newt’s open mind gives him a much more accepting perspective that most wizards won’t be receptive to for at least a century. Newt’s unique personality, crooked grin, and ginger hair make for a charming protagonist.
Fantastic Beasts wouldn’t be the same without the friendships forged between Jacob Kowalski, Tina Goldstein, Queenie Goldstein, and Newt Scamander. Newt grows as a character by finding people who accept his way of life and try to see magical creatures through his eyes. Queenie and Jacob’s romance is loaded with satisfying chemistry. Their interactions enliven the film and make an important commentary on Muggle–wizard relationships that we can apply to our own reality. Tina and Newt’s romance is understated; they both seem to struggle with showing their vulnerability to others. Jacob’s warm nature helps coax Newt out of his shell throughout the film, but Tina doesn’t let others into her hardened exterior until the last act. The final scene between Tina and Newt is sweet and gives me hope that Tina will reveal her personality more freely in the second film.
The Film Score
John Williams is, of course, the master of film scores. His music for Harry Potter is iconic. The composer for Fantastic Beasts had a lot to live up to. I think James Newton Howard was the best choice, considering Williams wasn’t an option. He did a fantastic job composing a score that embodies the spirit of the 1920s while evoking the wizarding world. Personally, I’ve been a fan of his since his work on the 2003 Peter Pan movie. The instrumentals during the execution scene in Fantastic Beasts give me a deep, meaningful sense of angst and whimsy. I admit I cry almost every time. Great music paired with compelling storytelling creates powerful art.
The appearance of the fantastic beasts themselves created a lot of hype before the film was released. Perhaps they could have mixed practical effects and CGI a little more, but I was happy with the interpretation of the creatures. The Niffler stole the scene every time he was on screen. He was both cute and hilarious in his mischievous adventures. The Erumpent was dauntingly winning as he chased Jacob, and the Occamy was beautifully interpreted. Dougal the Demiguise was an unexpected creature who seemed full of wisdom. I also loved the appearance of the Fwooper, which was a replica of J.K. Rowling’s drawing. What about Pickett and the other Bowtruckles? Their cuteness would win over any Potter fan.
The Harry Potter series had so many cool magical objects, including the Pensieve, Remembralls, and Sneakoscopes. Fantastic Beasts continued the tradition of original wizard gizmos. Newt’s suitcase has become a staple of Fantastic Beasts. The giant Pensieve where Tina was meant to be executed is a terrifying yet interesting concept. Rowling’s imagination never fails to impress.
What expectations did Fantastic Beasts meet for you? What disappointed you? Let us know in the comments!