Having been a massive Harry Potter geek since I was in second grade, I remember the day I scored my copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I say scored because I happen to stumble upon a secondhand copy in Filbar’s for 70 pesos and I knew, again being the ultimate geek, that it wasn’t distributed in the Philippines at that time. Now I didn’t know then that it would be made into a film nor would it be made into anything, really, but I believe, until today, that it was magic that brought me to it.
Witnessing the growth of the Harry Potter franchise, seven books, eight movies and 542 Funko Pops later, fans would of course wonder whether this creative direction is just to milk the franchise. The release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a movie that is based on a bestiary which isn’t even what the movie is entirely all about, can make one ask: When is enough, enough? Is J.K. Rowling’s team trying too hard? More importantly, is there still magic in the Harry Potter universe left to cast?
After watching the film thanks to a block screening hosted by Kangaroo Nuts, I can say, as a Potterhead , that yes, there is still magic left. Directed by David Yates and produced by J.K. Rowling, the movie takes the audience to 1920s New York where we follow Newt Scamander’s adventures, an eccentric British magizoologist with a suitcase full of magical creatures most of which we haven’t encountered in either the previous Harry Potter books or movies. The movie introduces a new wizarding culture and community where there is a president as opposed to the British Minister of Magic. There is now a speakeasy versus our very own Hog’s Head and of course, no-majs which is basically the American version of a muggle. All these exotic elements put together new creatures in the Potterverse, along with Eddie Redmayne’s uncanny and so on-point portrayal of Scamander, and a high security level threat to magic and non-magic threat before You-Know-Who’s era—make up a movie that pretty much makes Potterheads scream for Accio more. The magic of the movie is that it entices us that there is a whole magical world out there that is yet to be discovered and piques our curiosity of the possibilities of other wizarding communities that are closer to home.
To say that this movie is just another money-making venture is an understatement. But as a Potterhead through and through, I say to you my Muggle and No-magic friends, we go where the magic takes us. Always.