‘Fantastic Beasts’ not so fantastic at storytelling

By Jade Ruggieri, Round Table feature editor

Fans of the renowned “Harry Potter” series went crazy when J.K. Rowling announced in early 2014 that “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” would be adapted into a movie. The movie had high expectations to live up to since Rowling already has such a large fan base.

“Fantastic Beasts” is a prequel to the “Harry Potter” series taking place in 1926. British wizard, Newt Scamander, arrives in New York City with his final destination being Arizona. While he is there, one of his magical creatures escapes and, while trying to recapture it, he accidentally swaps suitcases with a Muggle (wizard terminology for a normal person), Jacob Kowalski, who is an aspring baker.

Newt is arrested by Tina Goldstein, who thinks that he is an unregistered wizard. He is then brought to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). Meanwhile, several creatures escape Jacob’s case since he is unaware that his suitcase is someone else’s.

Newt shows Jacob what is in his magical case, which includes a highly dangerous Obscurus – a parasital magical force that develops when a magical child has to surpress their talent through physical or psychological abuse. Often, they do not have a long life expectancy due to their uncontrollable actions and, since they are such a threat, they are hunted down.

The Obscurus almost reveals to the Muggle world that magic does exist, but through the help of Jacob, Tina and the MACUSA Newt destroys the Obscurus and restores order back to the Muggle world.

Eddie Redmayne, the actor who portrayed Newt, executed his role very well by appearing genuine, a little antsy and the perfect amount of awkward. He constantly kept my attention when I was watching the movie and it did not seem like he overexaggerated his role.

He was relatable enough to make me think, “I would do that, too,” minus the part of being a wizard. I am still waiting for my letter to Hogwarts or Ilvermorny, although traveling abroad sounds much cooler.

The graphics and animation were executed perfectly. All of the creatures showed the roots of a real animal with a twist. For example, a Nundo looks like a lion in physique, but has an expanding throat that reminded me of a pufferfish.

Personally, my favorite creature that was introduced in the movie was the Niffler, the little animal that has a raven black coat of fur, the head of a bird, the mouth of a platypus and the body of a rat. It was introduced as the first animal out of the suitcase and is infatuated with anything shiny or of value.

The movie itself was a fun movie to see. However, as a “Harry Potter” fan, I would say it is a bit of a stretch to call this a prequel to the celebrated series. I feel as though a prequel should have a more significant tie to the series than it did.

I even had to search up how this movie is related to the series besides the fact that it takes place in the wizarding world that we all know and love.

It turns out that Newt was the one to write the book about the beasts that is used in Hogwarts. I would not believe most would know that the whole movie is based off a textbook used in Hogwarts that I did not even know existed.

I am a hardcore Potterhead, so I came into watching the movie with high expectations. I wish I could have seen more character influence to the characters we know in the actual series.

The movie could have possibly included Harry Potter’s grandparents or Dumbledore’s younger years (since he appeared to never age). The ties and references that were made to the series were hardly noticeable at all, and one would have to know their “Harry Potter” facts like the back of their hand to understand them.

Yes, I do think that there could have been a stronger tie in relation to the “Harry Potter” series since it is considered a prequel to the movie. However, it was a movie worth watching if you missed the wizarding world.