Sunday, November 27, 2016

Every Little Thing She Does

My wife and I recently were treated to a movie by my mother as an early Christmas gift, and we chose to see the new Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The story involves the fictional author of a the required magical textbook of the same name. Newt Scamander, the author in question, travels by ship from England to New York City in the years following The Great War to research his book and eventually publish it.

I was a fan of Harry Potter from the moment I first heard Hedwig's Theme in the movie theater the Christmas of the original film's release. Once I saw that movie and was introduced to the wizarding world, I made every effort I could to find and finish the other books in the series that were published at the time (which meant, of course, that the second and third novels were all I had to go on.) I read both of those in one night each. Never before or since has a novel series held such rapt attention for me, and the same has held true for the new spin off film, which reports say will spawn a bevy of its own sequels, and tell the story of how Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellart Grindlewald in a wand duel that shook the world.

It's very rare that a continuation of a series can evoke the same sense of wonder and excitement as its parent series, but Rowling succeeded here, offering up an entirely new perspective on a comfortably familiar universe, and showing us the American side of the same world inhabited by The Boy Who Lived.

The movie takes place shortly after the end of World War I, and as mentioned above details the adventure of Newt Scamander through New York City to retrieve his lost menageary of creatures that have escaped from his magical carrying case. Along the way he befriends a disgraced magical law enforcement officer, a would be entrepreneur and "No-Maj" (Muggle) named Kowalski, and a legilemense who happens to be the sister of the aforementioned law officer. Along the way they are pursued by an anti-magic group called the Second Salemers, as well as magical law enforcement when things go wrong for the group.

The film was a rollicking adventure of excitement and wonder, just like the previous films and gave an entirely new perspective on the wizarding world. So much story telling potential was revealed by not focusing on a boarding school and its students, and set my mind ablaze with possibilities regarding the rest of Rowling's creation. I am waiting with bated breath to see the sequel.