So I Watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I am not usually concerned with spoilers. I love the experience of things, so there are not many instances where I feel like a book or a movie is ruined for me because an event was accidentally divulged. There was one movie this year that this blase attitude did not apply to, and it just happened to be the one movie that was the hardest to avoid.
The thing is, I’m not even a hard-core fan of Harry Potter. I have gone back and forth between disliking it, to enjoying it, to being mostly ambivalent. I think I just didn’t read it during that perfect window that everyone else had. As a writer now I can’t help but be a bit in awe of Rowling and what she created and that awe only increased upon viewing Fantastic Beasts.
There was almost nothing I disliked about Fantastic Beasts. Knowing that Rowling herself was responsible for the script made it even better. From the acting to the historical setting and the adult feel, everything was brilliant. I think the best part of the story for me was the use of balance, a concept that I love playing with as both an artist and a writer.
Often when trying to bring across a tone or a mood, artists overload their medium. Grungy and black, tears and never a happy moment if you want to bring drama. Sparkly white and smiles with a yellow glow around everything if you want something ethereal. While that is not bad, artists who employ this method miss out on one beautiful truth: contrast creates impact.
Rowling and director David Yates employed this beautifully. The wonder that waited inside Newt’s case contrasted with the black and white horror that echoed in the New Salemer’s home. The brilliant gold hues of the thunderbird contrasted the roiling, rotten darkness of the Obscurus. Even the nervous, socially awkward character of Newt Scamander was contrasted with the ever-present smile and awe of the non-magical character of Jacob Kowalski.
What is the result of this masterful show of contrast and comparison? Rowling managed to grasp the most elusive of emotions for her audience: awe. Can you explain any other feeling more prevalent in your mind as you watched the screen?
Perhaps that is a good rule for life itself. We all like a bit of texture in our daily routine. If we work hard for a few months, a nice day at the beach is a great cure. If we we have a great night with friends, maybe we need a break with Netflix and ice-cream the next night. I think this is a good thing to keep in mind when we are going through a hard time too. How much more beautiful is sunrise after a dark night?
What was your favorite part of Fantastic Beasts? Did it live up to your hopes for it?