I first picked up a Harry Potter book when I was a married woman and already had my first kid. I didn't grow up with these books like many others have, and I am kinda sad for that. Either way, I learned of Harry Potter when The Goblet of Fire was playing on a friend's TV while we chatted. The kids had finished watching the movie and the DVD was on the menu screen and the little shrunken human heads hanging from the bus driver's window kept warning the watcher to "mind ya head" in his little Caribbean accent.
Once I began reading Harry Potter, I read all the books one right after the other and watched and anxiously waited for the movies to come out. My family loves Harry Potter!
This year I also read the screen play "The Cursed Child", a sequel to the Harry Potter anthology. It was a great book and now as I write, I am wondering why I didn't write a review on it. Hmm, that's odd. But I totally recommend it to the Harry Potter fan.
Anyway . . .
I say all this because I watched the Harry Potter movies with a lot of knowledge of the characters, their magical world, and the jargon used that I got from the books. Harry, Ron and Harmoine were already known to me because I had spent long moments getting to know them in the book series, so when the movie came along, it was "nice to meet you again". And of course! the books were far better than the movies, but the movies were also fun to watch, and frankly still are for me.
With "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", I didn't know the characters before hand so I felt a little lost during some of the movie, and I don't believe the director did a good job in developing the characters as we journeyed throughout the escapade of finding the "little" beasts that escaped from Mr. Scamander's well-traveled luggage/portal. I really like Eddie Redmayne (Newt) as an actor, but I had trouble understanding him in some instances. I am guessing his character is to be shy, but I had trouble hearing him (maybe it was the movie theater). I also felt that a lot of the movie was not in the magical world, so the magic that was done, felt awkward and so did the underground gangster goblins . We learned about the magic world with Harry, and I wanted to learn along with Newt Scamander and get to know him. I wanted to know more of the history of the beasts, but I was left wanting. I wanted to know more. More!
And there does seem to be more that is coming. Besides checking out IMDb - which does provide information of a second Fantastic Beasts coming in 2018. The movie did hint at a continuation of the series by showing us a bit of a relationship-gone-wrong between Newt and a "Leta Lestrange". According to IMDb, Leta is played by Zoe Kravitz, and I doubt they're going to cast someone like her, just to then not use her in the second movie. And I know it is not the end of Grindelwald, why use Johnny Depp for 15 seconds and not use him some more in the second movie. So, I am hoping that the second Fantastic Beasts will tell us more about all these characters and give us some more background and depth to them.
The beasts where great. I really loved the little shiny-loving platypus (I forget what they are called). He was so funny and cute. And the blue, feathered snakes that filled in the spaces and the four winged griffin were beautiful.
The evil manifested and known as an Obscurial was also a very interesting take on the wicked characters Ms. Rowling is so good at conjuring. It is also a sad character due to the self-hatred one must endure in order to even produce an obscurial. An Obscurial is a dark phenomenon created by an abuse on one's magical ability. The witch/wizard suppresses their unwanted magic so much that the obscurial they create can actually kill him/her. I will not say more on this as to not spoil the movie.
I recently found a Harry Potter wiki page that helped a lot in regards to knowing the characters better.
I recommend this movie to the Harry Potter fan and to those who like magic and fantasy movies.
To the Christian: I was afraid when I saw "The New Salem Philanthropic Society" that they were going to really lay it on thick on Christians, but thankfully they didn't. Although, maybe the name is enough to oust us as jerks. There was also a subtle tinge of maybe the obscurial could be someone suppressing"who they are" (i.e. their gender) and that having an adverse affect by producing an obscurial. All of this plus the abuse given by the head mistress of the New Salem Philanthropic Society created the darkest obscurial ever known. So tying these things together, one could draw a conclusion to the church's abuse on those "different" from them. But, I really didn't take too much out of it. Maybe later we will know more from J.K. Rowling what exactly she was trying to express - like finding out way later on that Dumbledore was gay. Other than that, there are no bad words or anything too frightening.