Fantastic Beasts and a Renewed Love of Magic


In the past few years I have come to realize several things:

  1. I have had to grow up and actually handle being an adult
  2. I cannot force something that’s not going to work
  3. The things I once found so much love and comfort in no longer had that effect

Now that last one probably sounds a little ridiculous, but I was realizing more and more as I was finishing my last semesters in college and in the few years that I have been removed from school (I graduated about 2 years ago) that a lot of the things I used to love no longer interested me. I used to be a huge Doctor Who fan, as well as a huge Harry Potter fan as most people were growing up. The more I found myself trying to keep my life together and in a place where I would be well off on my own, I fell out of these things as a whole. It was like this strange correlation of being busy and losing interesting in things.

I couldn’t say what exactly it was that made me feel this way. It became something that was normal to me it made me feel almost a bit bitter toward the people that still found so much joy in these things, particularly my friends who still were all for Harry Potter. If any of you are reading this I’m sorry. It was nothing against you it was more of a jealousy toward your ability to still love something that I no longer was able to connect with.

Now I focused on Harry Potter specifically because when Fantastic Beasts was announced I found myself watching the previews and thinking “Hmm well that looks okay, but I don’t know. I probably won’t see it.” and that is exactly how I felt the entire time my friends were consistently telling me that I needed to go see it because I would love it, or because I loved Harry Potter and magical things. I was still very much in the mindset of not wanting to see it, so when my roommates decided they were going to go see it this week, they kept asking me to go and saying the exact same thing everyone else did; “No seriously, you will love it.”

So I very reluctantly got in the car, paid for my ticket and sat in the theater watching this movie with them. This is where things got interesting. Initially when they introduced Newt on screen I sat there thinking “I don’t like him” snap judgement of course, but there was something about his mannerisms that seemed really odd and forced to me, but the longer I sat there watching him interact with his surroundings, the more I found myself relating to him and his social awkwardness. He is such a precious character, I just…I don’t even know how to describe it. You see this person who openly tells Jacob that people don’t like him and that they find him to be annoying, yet beneath his awkwardness you find a person that is so caring and so in love with the creatures that he studies and helps that you can’t quite understand how anyone could not like him.

I was interested.

Every single character that we deal with throughout the movie, with the exception of the mother and Graves, were all so incredibly lovable and so relatable. That last bit I cannot stress enough. There has been a lack, I think, of personally relatable characters in movies recently it’s so hard to really sympathize with what is happening in their stories. Then out of nowhere you have Newt who, as I mentioned before, seems to be a bit socially awkward, you have Queenie who is just such a preciously little peach who is just so empathetic to what other people are feeling due to her gift but yet at the same time maintains this total unabashed curiosity toward the “no-mag” world that she is just this wonerfully well rounded character even though they make sure to state that she just works as essentially a coffee girl and wasn’t as driven as her sister. You have Tina, who is this strong career driven woman who has such compassion for what she does and the people that she encounters while she is working that, even though she comes across a bit brash at moments, she is hard to hate. She has some qualities that I would like to sit there like “Really, Tina, really?” but at the same time I see those qualities in myself too so I just see her as a reflection of myself and I can’t exactly get mad. You have Creedance who is this scared, lost boy who practically embodies everyone at somepoint in their lives so much so that you feel his pain and worry for him throughout the movie. On top of all of these already wonderful characters, we are also handed the character that everyone wants to be, Jacob. Now I say everyone wants to be him because he just stumbles into this amazing magical world that he didn’t know really existed and found these friends that he becomes so attached to throughout his adventures with them that his departure from their group is so incredibly heartbreaking. Jacob is like every one of us that has ever gotten attached to a character in a book, or experienced the dreaded book hangover after finishing something that had us so completely enthralled we are not sure what to do with ourselves following.

The characters are just wonderful in this sense of connecting with the audience in anyway they can, but that is not the only thing I found myself noticing while sitting in the theater. The main thing I noticed was how incredibly dark this movie was in comparison to the original Harry Potter series. While, yes, the Harry Potter series was in fact rather dark for children, it doesn’t seem to be quite as dark now as an adult. It could just be me, but I feel like this was part of the reasons I lost my love toward it in the first place. It felt almost childish to me for the longest time. Don’t take that the wrong way. What I mean is that I feel like it was childish for me to still like it into my adult life, which now saying this makes it sound so completely and utterly stange, but still I think this is why I connected with Fantastic Beasts so well. It felt like it had been created entirely with the now aging magic loving audience in mind. The whole premise of the movie seemed to be created around the fact that many of us that grew up alongside Harry, were now young adults and adults ourselves and so our new cast were created with us in mind by giving us people who seem to be roughly around our own age group. The story of struggling to find our way in life where we seem to have no real grip on who we want to be, what we want to be, or feeling like we have to prove ourselves to the world can be seen so often throughout the plot. You also have this theme of terror threaded throughout the plot as well with the beast terrorizing the city and causing mass fear and distruction as well as threatening the safety of the magical and no-mag communities. Doe this sound familiar to anyone else?

All in all this movie took on this aire of adultness and relatability so much so that I found myself loving every single bit of it regardless of my reluctance and ability to predict the biggest reveals in the film (thanks a lot for that gift Mom). On top of having an amazing soundtrack that I need desperately in my life, Fantastic Beasts has complete renewed my love for the wizarding world as well as all things magical and I would not hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone else who may have been feeling just like me.


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