It was inevitable that Warner Brothers would find a way to extend the “Harry Potter” universe into a new film series. And based on the concept of adapting “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for film, we may be in for a far more interesting look at J.K. Rowling’s universe than all the prior films were. This time, we may have something from that world intended strictly for adults that would put a refreshing spin on a book/movie series intended primarily for those coming of age. It doesn’t mean at least half of all the multi-million sales with the original books didn’t initially happen with adults.
So far, we haven’t seen a movie done about a sideline piece of media seen in a movie or TV show. The concept of showing a small piece of media within other media has been a gimmick done numerous times and always creates intrigue on what the background is. While we’ve seen a little of that through tangible “Harry Potter” products sold on the market (one of the most famous being Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans), “Fantastic Beasts” still has a lot of mystery we’ll finally see come to life. Through the author Newt Scamander, the movie has a chance to give a new spin on the biopic by showcasing a fictional character traveling the world to chronicle magizoology.
From the abstract, it sounds like a brilliant idea that can broach a lot of innovation, especially in its first setting. While Scamander is said to have traveled the entire world chronicling magical creatures, J.K. Rowling has revealed the first movie will take place in New York City many decades before Harry Potter was even born. With that in mind, you have to picture New York City during one of its most exciting times: The 1920s.
Having that setting gives another interesting chance at innovation: Bringing magic realism back to the city years after Woody Allen tried it there first.
How Will Magical Creatures Fit in with the Golden Era of New York City?
If you know any of the details about the Newt Scamander book, you know that said author travels to nearly every continent to document the creatures in his book. New York City of the 1920s couldn’t be a more American setting to give a polar opposite universe from the previous “Harry Potter” movies. It’s also an interesting place because of the Great Depression just beginning to unfold alongside the flourishing arts scene and Broadway. The idea of magical creatures inhabiting a place like this gives a little bit of a nod to “Roger Rabbit”, except on the east coast.
This time, though, it won’t be animation and instead CGI integrating mythical creatures into an environment that couldn’t be further removed from it all. But it’s also an exciting prospect for those looking for something different while also providing a field day for special effects supervisors.
For those looking for something even more fulfilling, it also gives the promise of bringing some magic realism back to film after having been missing for a while. The only most recent film to use the technique was “Beasts of the Southern Wild” that brought mythical creatures and situations to the Southern Delta. Before “Beasts”, you didn’t see it much at all in U.S. cinema, other than in some Woody Allen movies. In fact, he’s one of the first to bring a sense of magic realism to New York City.
Just look at Allen’s near mystical view of the city and some of the fantasy elements he brought to films such as “Alice” with Mia Farrow. No matter what you think of his personal life, he’s one of the few who successfully dared bring magic realism to a setting that seemingly shouldn’t fit.
“Fantastic Beasts” now gives a new prospect of this for the literate adults out there who love such things. If you can’t picture such mythical creatures as a Glumbumble hiding out in the bowels of an old Broadway theater of the day, then you probably have no care for anything J.K. Rowling writes.
What makes “Fantastic Beasts” even more interesting is that it seems likely more than one film is going to be made. Considering Newt Scamander traveled the world for years, even up to when Harry Potter and company were alive, it’s projected we’ll be seeing at least three movies in this series happening over a number of years and places. Also consider that the original “Fantastic Beasts” book published in the real world had page markings by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. With their study of the book, it doesn’t seem out of the question a flash-forward cameo by any of the original cast in one of the “Fantastic Beasts” movies wouldn’t happen.
Alas, because Scamander is likely passed away (he’d be 117 now), there won’t be any current narration. That is, unless he also lives in the world of magic realism where aging has no real meaning.