After the release of the final"Harry Potter" movie, many of us craved more of the series that quite possibly defined our childhoods. There was so much of the world to still be explored, so many characters that we wanted to get to know better...
J.K. Rowling is making those dreams come true by transporting us to uncharted territory in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." The movie, coming to theaters on November 18, takes place in 1926 and follows a Magizoologist named Newt Scamander on his journey to learn about magical beasts.
WATCH | You can check out the movie's trailer here.
Living up to the original "Harry Potter" series?
It seems like a tough act to follow -- "Harry Potter" is legendary. We grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione and followed them on their adventures. But on the other hand, J.K. Rowling might be a wizard herself, so it's reasonable that you can expect greatness from all she touches.
Ultimately, "Fantastic Beasts" totally lives up to "Harry Potter." Here's why. (Warning: mild spoilers ahead.)
It has a main character who we all can root for
Fans remember the name Newt Scamander as the author of the required Hogwarts textbook that shares the movie's title. In "Fantastic Beasts," Newt, played by Eddie Redmayne, arrives in New York with a suitcase of magical creatures, all of whom he cares about deeply.
Most wizards think that beasts are dangerous, but Newt is on a mission prove otherwise. Newt serves as the lone voice trying to protect and care for the beasts, making him an extremely likable character.
And a Muggle (or No-Maj, as they're called in America) who we can all relate to
While the "Harry Potter" series gave us a lovable trio, "Fantastic Beasts" provides us with a group of four unlikely friends.
Jacob Kowalski is a No-Maj who finds himself tangled up in Newt's adventures. Watching his initial exposure to the world of magic was reminiscent of the way I felt when I first discovered "Harry Potter." We would all have that same wide-eyed and childlike reaction if we discovered that magic was real.
There are some awesome and inspirational female characters
Hermione and Ginny were huge role models in the original series, and when it comes to female characters, "Fantastic Beasts" doesn't disappoint.
In a time when we can all use some girl power, the rest of the foursome is rounded out by Tina Goldstein and her sister, Queenie. Both Tina and Queenie, despite their contrasting personalities, are resilient, intelligent and forceful. It's uplifting to see such strong female characters written by the ultimate female role model.
We get to see a new world that only J.K. Rowling could have dreamed up
While the movie gives us the chance to see wizards living in New York, the real draw is the world hidden inside of Newt's magical suitcase.
Stepping inside the case opens up an entire new world where all of his beasts live in harmony. It's an immense space composed of several distinct ecosystems and climates to suit all of their unique needs. All of the scenery is beautiful, and I found myself totally enchanted by the interior of Newt's case.
And creatures that you'll wish were real
Just like the original series, the "fantastic beasts" are absolutely thrilling. There is such an impressive range of creatures represented in the movie, from the mischievous, platypus-like Niffler to the powerful, regal Thunderbird. Can the tiny Bowtruckle please be real? Sure, stick bugs look similar, but they're kind of lacking in any real personality.
And of course, it's a lot of fun to see what happens when these creatures get released onto the streets of New York City.
There's just the right amount of humor
"Harry Potter" could get dark, but J.K. Rowling always made sure to add some humor, often through the antics of Fred and George Weasley. And just like the original series, "Fantastic Beasts" had some great laugh-out-loud moments coming from the characters and the creatures.
The funniest creature might have been the Niffler, which had a habit of stealing anything shiny. And Redmayne's Erumpent mating dance was certainly something to be seen.
A notoriously dangerous villain mentioned in "Harry Potter" makes an appearance
We first heard of Grindelwald in passing in "Sorcerer's Stone" on the back of Dumbledore's wizard card: "Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945."
In the seventh book, we learned more about the wizard, including that he was close friends with Dumbledore prior to his descent into darkness. The two friends shared a fascination of the Deathly Hollows and wanted to begin a wizarding revolution.
The belief that wizards are a superior race
At the start of "Fantastic Beasts," we see a series of headlines about the unrest Grindelwald has caused in the wizarding world. However, he has since disappeared, and no one knows where he went.
The dark wizard holds the belief that wizards are a superior race, a sentiment that the audience is constantly reminded of as the movie deals with the topic of intolerance. His unknown whereabouts pose a threat, especially as a dark force terrorizes New York City.
And of course, the dark magic is terrifying
I remember when my dad read "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" to me as a kid. I had some serious nightmares about the basilisk for a while.
Over a decade later, I still found myself spooked by the dark magic in "Fantastic Beasts." As buildings in New York were violently demolished by something that no one can see, the element of the unknown kept me on the edge of my seat. And I'm not afraid to admit that a few intense moments almost had me covering my eyes.
It leaves unanswered questions for the sequels ahead
We rarely got full resolutions at the end of the "Harry Potter" movies, and nothing has changed with "Fantastic Beasts." With four movies left to go, there's still a threat of terror in the wizarding world. And on a lighter note, there are a lot more magical creatures that are likely to be introduced!
J.K. Rowling has also revealed that we'll eventually be seeing a younger Albus Dumbledore, which is extremely exciting for all who want to learn more about the wizard's background.
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