I Finally Watched 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!': Some Thoughts
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I Finally Watched 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!': Some Thoughts

I Finally Watched 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!': Some Thoughts

I must admit, to my everlasting shame, that I wasn't all that excited about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when it first premiered back in November . I was when the project was first announced in 2013, but by the time November 2016 came around, Harry Potter had been finished for over five years. I was certain that nothing would measure up, and Cursed Child only proved me right. I also couldn't imagine how anyone could make one movie out of a fictional textbook, let alone three or five as I'd been hearing, and I couldn't imagine a HARRY POTTER film without our beloved main characters.

With all that in mind, I made the decision to skip the debut of Fantastic Beasts in theaters. I didn't regret the decision, but I did start to become curious once spoilers for the film began showing up online with increasing regularity. By the time the film came out on DVD a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it a shot. I am SO GLAD I did, because Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was an absolute delight. I feel the need to publicly apologize to J.K. Rowling for underestimating her. I'm also going to gush about this movie for the rest of the article. Here are some of my thoughts about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Obviously, spoilers abound.

  1. Newton Artemis Fido "Newt" Scamander is a cutie, and I love him already.


  3. Am I still asexual if I would let Percival Graves [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [ REALLY CENSORED]?

    Of course the answer is yes, because an attraction to Percival Graves transcends mere sexual orientation.
  4. Some of the spoilers (and fanfiction) I saw about this movie made me expect that Mary Lou Barebone was a shrieking harpy of a woman, but she's...actually not? Throughout the movie, she's soft-spoken, articulate and earnest. Even when she's clearly about to beat Credence, she's never a furious, spitting caricature of an abuser.
    (Excuse me while I go cry in a corner for a few minutes)

    Instead, Mary Lou appears to genuinely believe that Credence not only deserves but needs to be punished, and she doesn't take pleasure in it. I still despised her and realized she was a bad person, but one of the things I found interesting about her is the potential for others to see her as not a bad person. It's insidious; it's terrifying; and it's also the reality for many abuse victims. Their abusers don't look frightening, so it's hard to ask for help.
    Props to JK Rowling for the realistic and sensitive portrayal of abuse.

    1. The subject of abuse brings me to other examples of more mature elements to this film. It's not a Darker™, Grittier™ reimagining of the Harry Potter world (Thank Christ), but the film does acknowledge that the majority of its audience is people who grew up with Harry and are now adults. Therefore, the protagonists are adults. The film uses a more subdued color palette than the early Harry Potter films. There's a little more adult language (I think it was just the word “hell” once or twice, but still). There are also more overt examples of violence, abuse and sexuality than in the first Harry Potter film.However, none of that ever crosses the line and becomes gratuitous and uncomfortably voyeuristic. The film conducts itself more maturely than most. Now, back to to your regularly scheduled, vaguely chronological stream of consciousness!

    2. The niffler in the bank is hilarious.

      1. Jacob Kowalski is a delight, and he makes a damn fine audience proxy.

      2. I relate to Tina, because I, too, am perpetually Stressed Out

      3. I don't know if it was intentional, but I got the vibe that Newt is autistic, and I thought that was pretty cool.

      4. One thing that bothered me is that Tina got mustard on her lip at the beginning of the movie, and I'm pretty sure it stays there for the next half hour. Then, it just disappeared. I wondered, “Why bother to have it happen if it's never pointed out and fixed?” We got the first, but not the second.
      5. After the movie, when I actively sought out more stuff about it, I learned there was a deleted scene that addressed the mustard. Percival Graves beckons Tina to him and uses his own handkerchief to wipe her lip. Tina is wide-eyed and clearly not breathing the entire time.

        I'm going to guess this scene was deleted, because there's trying to be a more mature film...and then there's Graves making every pair of panties in the audience shoot off like fireworks. It was too much.
      6. Seraphina Picquery was kind of disappointing. Sure, she had Iconic™ looks and presence for days...

        ... but she was still an ineffective leader and a pretty boring character. She dismisses Tina when she first brings Newt in and then tries to blame Tina for that mistake.

        “You've known for twenty-fours that an unregistered wizard set magical beasts loose in New York, and you see fit to tell us only when a man has been killed?”

        Well, she tried to come forward immediately, but you decided she wasn't worth your time, Madam President.

        When she wasn't being a lackluster leader, she was being a lackluster character. The majority of her lines were some variation of “We can't be exposed. It'll mean war.” It was exciting to see a black woman in a position of power, but her potential was unfortunately wasted.

      7. Back to regular film time, I would like to say that a Murtlap looks like a demonic combination of a pig, a porcupine, and a puffed up naked mole rat.

        1. I'm really amazed Jacob Kowalski's been as nice as he has so far, because it really hasn't been his day. By this point in the movie, he has:
          1) been denied a loan for his bakery,
          2) seen stuff that would make anyone question their sanity,
          3) almost been arrested and/or shot for robbing a bank,
          4) been bitten by a monster whose bite can make flames shoot out of his anus, and
          5) been deemed unworthy for marriage.

          Rude, Tina. Very rude.

          Don't worry, Jacob. I'd marry you. We'd live in chubby harmony with blissful baked goods.

          1. Henry Shaw Jr. is a massive jerkface, so when it comes to what happened to him...

          2. Queenie is the most adorable character ever, and I would die for her. I will also ship her and Jacob in hell.

            1. Queenie brings up some interesting questions about Legilimency though. The books and previous films led me to believe that it was a very deliberate branch of magic. However, Queenie seems to do it involuntarily, like how Sybill Trelawney occasionally makes involuntary prophecies. Are there more like Queenie? Can Divination actually be precise and accurate? Maybe we'll see in subsequent material.

              1. Every time Credence appears onscreen, I'm like “this poor, touch-starved Gay™.”
                Fun Fact/Headcanon
                : This makes the second time Grindelwald has charmed a repressed, overpowered gay boy with an unfortunate home life into helping him with his world domination plot.

                1. The case is really cool A+ creativity for magical beasts and fake habitats.

                2. “They went that way, Officer” is the funniest line in the entire movie.

                  1. Do not underestimate Newt and his mating dance.

                  2. Poor Jacob, honestly. Not only did he get chased by an Erumpent (which is basically a giant, rhino thing), he's being chased by a giant rhino thing who wants to mate with him. Again, this is not his day.

                    At least he got to meet Queenie.

                  3. Here's Madam President being Iconic™ again.

                    1. “Impound that case, Graves.” Here's the sultry Mr. Graves using wandless and nonverbal magic. No big deal.

                      1. “Don't hurt my creatures. They're not dangerous! They're not dangerous!”

                        1. The above gif also applies to the explanation about the obscurus/obscurial.

                        2. The interrogation scene single-handedly gives away the fact that Graves is secretly a sociopath. Forget coldly saying that a child killed by an obscurus is a “host.” Forget sentencing our protagonists to death. This right here...

                          ...is all the proof we need that Graves ain't right. He looks Extra AF, holding his hand to his head like that. 10 bucks his thought process was as follows:
                          “This is how to look distressed about sending someone to die, right? Should I swoon? No, that's too much.”

                          1. I would like to state for the record that Bernadette the Executioner is the most terrifying character in this whole movie.
                            “Don't that look good? You wanna get in? Huh?”

                            No. No, I do not want to get in a death potion. Thank you, lady who enjoys her job way too much.

                            1. Both executioners are terrifying, to be honest. Bernadette probably creeps in hospitals and mercy kills people who have minor injuries. The other executioner, who I have named Helga, probably microwaves hamsters on days she doesn't have an execution scheduled.

                            2. Jokes aside, I felt so bad for Queenie during this part. Can you imagine just going about your day at work, and then suddenly you can hear your sister about to die? This is made even more tragic, since we know Tina and Queenie are each other's only family in the world.

                            3. All four protagonists get an A+ on escape artistry.

                            4. Is Leta Lestrange crazy like Bellatrix, I wonder? Even if she's not, she doesn't sound like a very good person...At least according to Queenie, and I would trust Queenie with my life.

                            5. I still can't decide if the singer in the Blind Pig is a house elf or a goblin.

                              1. “I love house elves. My uncle's a house elf.” Jacob gets all the best lines.

                              2. Dougal the Demiguise is adorable, and the Occamy is cool-looking. That is all.
                              3. Graves done messed up.
                              4. If someone asked me to summarize this movie in two words, I would say, “Poor Credence.”

                              5. Grindelgraves continues to be Extra AF. No slashing hexes or Cruciatus Curses for him. WE USE ACTUAL LIGHTNING BOLTS TO TORTURE OUR ENEMIES.

                              6. I refuse to believe that Credence is dead. That tiny piece of Obscurus at the end was him.

                              7. Graves turns from sexy cop to cock-eyed Johnny Depp, and the world weeps.

                              8. On that note, I also refuse to believe that Percival Graves is dead. Moody needed to be alive for Polyjuice potion. Why not Percival?

                              9. As majestic and helpful as Frank the Thunderbird is, the Swooping Evil has the honor of being the most useful animal in this movie. It helps break Newt and Tina out of MACUSA, it restrains Grindelwald, and its venom works like a mass Memory Charm. Good job, Swooping Evil.

                              10. Last week, some of you might have heard a high-pitched noise with no discernible source. That was actually me wailing in despair as Jacob's memory was erased.

                              11. It turned into a happy wail though when he finally gets his bakery, and Queenie pays him a visit. (JACOB X QUEENIE LIVES, BITCHES!!)

                                I've heard Fantastic Beasts is going to be a trilogy, and I've hear
                                d it's going to be five films. Either way, this film was great, and I'll be waiting eagerly for the sequels.

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