Fantastic Beasts and wait what?! We're in Paris?
I wouldn’t say that I hated the first Fantastic Beasts movie... but I didn’t like it.
I felt it was an Americanized bastardized version of a story I loved. There something popular and America was jealous... they wanted a piece of the pie, how typical.
But I was having a bad day, a bad month really,
and I wanted to go to the movies. Robin Hood wasn’t out yet and I’d already seen Bohemian Rhapsody (loved it!), so Fantastic Beasts was my only option.
10 minutes into the movie, the screen went black and the lights came on for no reason. Some 5 minutes later, just the sound came back. No picture. Thinking I wanted to actually see this movie, I left the theatre to ask someone what was going on. Turns out, every screen had gone blank.
By the time I got back into the theatre, the movie had jumped ahead 10 minutes. I had no idea what was going on. Then it jumped back but not far enough. Then a little further... then way too far and played normally.
This was not improving my mood.
This happened twice more. Some people left. I stayed. Why? Because despite the issues with the first film, the problems with playing this one, and my assertions that this franchise was just a license to print money... IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD!!!!
Oh my Grindelwald! I want to see it again. I need to re-watch the first one! (Which I will do begrudgingly.)
And to add to all this, IT’S. SET. IN. PARIS. I live in Paris!!
I want to find the entry to the French Ministry of Magic. It looked familiar. I think I saw it on the Feminist Street Art Tour I took when I first got here.
Now to the actual movie. If you are looking for a real summary or review, please, go elsewhere. I’m just going to geek out a bit here.
Beware, mild spoilers ahead. (very mild…)
PROBLEMS: (Fellow HP nerds, feel free to correct me.)
At the start of the film when Grindelwald is being transported from the US to Europe…. WHY CAN I SEE THE THESTRALS!! I haven’t seen anyone bite it! Has everyone in this movie seen death? Can everyone see them?
JK Rowling’s creative and very convenient appearance of the thestrals happens in the fifth book. Previous to this, the carriages that brought students, of second year and up, from the train to the castle on the first day of school, were horseless, seemingly moving of their own accord.
In the Order of the Phoenix, we learn that the carriages are not horseless at all. They are pulled by skeletal winged beasts, thestrals, that no one can see but Harry and Loony Luna Lovegood. Harry thinks he’s going nuts. Later in HP5, Hagrid informs us that you can only see a thestral if you’ve seen death.
Neville can see them... not sure why he’s never mention it, but okay. And after Cedric Diggory being murdered in front of him, Harry can see them too.
But wait a second. Hold the goddamn Dumbledore! Harry’s parents were killed right in front of him! He should have been able to see them the whole time.
AND THEY SHOULD BE INVISIBLE TO THE AUDIENCE NOOOOW! Eff.
You can’t apparate onto school grounds. Am I the only one who has read Hogwarts: A History?? Come on guys. You apparate into Hogsmeade and walk just like everyone else.
In the classroom flashbacks... small thing here but still... I don’t think we’ve ever seen three houses in the same class before. Not sure why the two mean Gryffindors are in Defense Against the Dark Arts with a Hufflepuff and a Slytherin.
I’m pretty sure the mirror of Erised is a deepest desire mirror, not a memory machine but... okay.
Lastly...was the swapped kid also a wizard??? That wizard!! That kid?! That’s who happened to be across the hall.... was it a wizard ship?! Come on!
I’ll give them time to explain that in the next movie but I’m skeptical.
THINGS I LOVED!
When I first read the books, I thought I was a Gryffindor. Didn’t we all... I got sorted into Hufflepuff and I was not happy. Then, I read a bit about the witches and wizards Hufflepuff produced and yea... yea I am a fuckin’ Hufflepuff. I’m a Hufflepuff and you’re gonna goddamn Dumbledore deal with it!
I know that James was a dick when he was a kid, but we are so meant to idolize him and hate Snape, that His jerkness was basically negated. I LOOOVE that we see asshole Gryffindors in this movie. AND that they are bullying a character we are meant to like.
Get off your high hippogriffs Gryffindors! You don’t protect everyone and you can be just as horrible as the rest of us.
Slytherin and Hufflepuff are so underrated. Smdh.
Why am I getting nostalgic when Leta walks in the great hall? I’m not crying, you’re crying! Shut up!
Lastly, this movie is not for kids. I love that. The first one was a mess. Who was it for? Weird kid jokes mixed with death scenes… I didn’t get it.
But this one, this one had me from the word go. It was creepy and scary. It was engaging and exciting and dark. I gasped out loud when Grindlewald showed the crowd what would happen if their movement failed and I actually yelled “fuck off” at the screen when the big reveal came.
I loved it. I love that Newt Scamander is such a different and amazing version of masculinity. I love that he is a Hufflepuff.
It has been a long time since I’ve been so invested in a film. A long time since I have felt that pull, that magic of the books, of the world.
It’s been a long time since I really felt that it’s real to us.