Pulling One Out of the Bag

18

DECEMBER, 2016

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How does one live up to the magic and cult status that the Harry Potter franchise brought with it? Well, one can’t, but attempting to do so by creating ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is certainly a step in the right direction (or shall I say in the right suitcase?).

While the theme of New York City and its gritty inhabitants being under relentless persecution from supernatural creatures, fanatics and the like has been tethered to the bone, this film is certainly one of the less cliched ones to use the same template.

Made by Harshi Lal

The plot itself was intricate without being needlessly complicated. Humor was infused into the plot in such a way that it was universally appealing and did not take away from the story itself. Furthermore, the special effects incorporated into the film were truly spectacular. In addition, the casting was sophisticated, with each actor holding his or her own and doing the plot justice.

 

Where Newt is a far cry from the shadowy norms of the magic world ,Porpentina Goldstein is a stickler for rules. The two make a delightful pair as they try to catch Newt’s escaped beasts and determine the causes behind a series of mysterious attacks that have plagued New York City. The supporting actors imparted light humor into the script, thereby diffusing some of the tension – “I don’t think I’m dreaming…I ain’t got the brains to make this up!”

 

It is commendable how Rowling succeeds in highlighting themes like child abuse and marriage equality through the interaction of wizards and nomajs (muggles). Rowling has dealt with similar themes before and like always, she has infused them into the plot with subtlety. As a vocal advocate against orphanages, she has portrayed the abuse of children by care-takers and its harmful consequences on them through the relationship between Credence and Mary Lou. She has campaigned against animal cruelty under the garb of mystical creatures, who find a Messiah in Newt, who as a magizoologist tries to convince everyone that all a beast needs is care and affection.

 

Rowling’s sterling creativity and keen wit shine through the plot, but the unfamiliar American setting seems incongruous after the somewhat medieval Hogwarts setting that hard-core Potter fans are so used to.  The attempt to create a parallel wizarding world in America, falls a little flat and the connection with Hogwarts by way of passing comments is rather inadequate.

 

I found the end of the film to be somewhat predictable, stretched and a little ambiguous. Overall, the film was enjoyable despite the fact that it cannot be placed in the same league as the Harry Potter films. But Newt does make a fair point- “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice”

Rhea Tewary

Rhea Tewary

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Book lover, feminist, and a deceptively quiet demeanour characterises Rhea best. She has volatile political opinions, but would just as easily melt if someone showed her a furry animal. Rhea enjoys reading historical fiction, political thrillers and murder mysteries. Additionally, she subjects anyone who seems remotely friendly to her pathetic sense of humour.

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