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Wizarding World loses some magic

Since 2011, fans of the “Harry Potter” series have been waiting for another film extension of the wizarding world created by author J.K. Rowling. This weekend, their wish finally came true with the release “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, the first of a five-part spinoff series written by Rowling. Despite being set in the same world filled with witches, wizards and magical creatures, the film lacks the magic that the original series conjured. The film takes place in 1926 and follows Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), a collector and caretaker of magical creatures and author of the textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. While visiting New York, Scamander is introduced to the wizarding world of North America and naturally gets himself into trouble when some of his magical creatures are set loose in the city. [caption id="attachment_28705" align="alignleft" width="300"]Scamander tracks down one of his missing creatures in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Entertainment Weekly[/caption] We start off with a somewhat interesting look into the system of the American wizarding community. It was amusing to compare this to the community based in England from the original series, but it was also frustrating as many of the established rules of the wizarding world were disregarded, namely the exposure of magic to non-magical people. This maybe would not have been such a big deal if it hadn’t been a prominent sublot of the film. The exposure of the magical world was one of many, many, many subplots of this movie. We’re talking like five or six subplots here people. Part of the appeal of the original series was how easy it was to follow. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was able to introduce us to the entire world of Harry Potter without losing its audience in a plethora of plots and vague character backstories. Fantastic Beasts had the advantage of appealing to a fanbase well acquainted with the world it takes place in, but still clouded the lore of the series by trying to cram five different stories into one film. To guide the audience through the overwhelming number of stories, there was a number of underwhelming characters. Our protagonist Scamander seems very awkward and introverted, often avoiding eye contact with whomever he is speaking and stumbling over his words. His female counterpart, Tina Goldstein (played by Katherine Waterston), works for the Magical Congress of the United States of America and manages to be even less appealing by showing little to no emotion throughout the majority of the film. Whether this is the fault of the actors portraying these characters, director David Yates or Rowling as the screenwriter, I cannot say. There were a few characters that were appealing in this film, namely the no-mag Jacob Kawalski (played by Dan Folger). He added some comic relief and gave an interesting view of what a friendship between a non-magical person and wizard could be. There were parts of this film that were sincerely enjoyable, like being introduced to the magical creatures Scamander has collected. It wasn’t a bad film, but it certainly wasn’t a great one either. Unfortunately, the mediocre outweighs the truly magical when it comes to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” As the next installments of this new series are released, I hope J.K. Rowling can bring the same enchantment that her fans deserve.

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