'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them': Why the movie's tone could be a change of pace

More information was recently revealed about the upcoming 'Fantastic' movie, which will be released in November 2016, as well as news about a possible new project from author J.K. Rowling.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' stars Eddie Redmayne.

Fans of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe recently got more information about the upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” as well as news about Rowling’s upcoming projects.

Rowling recently said in an interview that she is penning another work that will be aimed at young readers.

“I have written part of a children's book that I really love, so I'm definitely going to finish that,” the author said. Most recently, the “Potter” writer has been releasing mysteries for adult readers, with the most recent installment in this series, “Career of Evil,” having hit shelves last month.

As for “Fantastic,” fans know some plot details already. The upcoming movie is based on Rowling’s book of the same name. In her “Potter” world, Harry and his friends use a textbook titled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” to learn about magical creatures. This new movie centers on the textbook’s author, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), and his adventures in 1920s New York. The film also stars Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, and Katherine Waterston. 

Now we know a bit more about the world in which Newt finds himself. “Potter” fans previously knew little about wizards and witches in America, since the “Potter” books took place in Britain. But apparently in "Fantastic," it's revealed that in the US, the governing body for magical beings is the Magical Congress of the United States of America, the equivalent of Britain’s Ministry of Magic in the “Potter” series. As for Newt himself, he apparently carries a briefcase that is key to his adventures. Perhaps it contains information about a new magical creature? 

While the “Potter” book series had dark themes, including a physically abusive teacher and allegories for Nazi Germany in later books, themes like love and friendship and how they can triumph over evil were always at the center of the stories about Harry. Good people won and villains were cast down. If these themes continue in the “Fantastic” story, the “Fantastic” movie may be more cheerful than recent popular stories in the young adult-genre. 

One of the biggest recent young-adult hits has been the “Hunger Games” book series, which was written by Suzanne Collins and was adapted as a series of four films, the last of which will be released later this month. While the final “Potter” book ends with villain Voldemort being defeated and peace descending on the land (as far as we know), the “Games” books have a much more mixed ending. During the story, protagonist Katniss joins with a rebel force fighting against her country’s evil leader, but she soon finds out that the rebel leadership has committed deeds just as terrible as those done by the totalitarian government.

(Variety critic Peter Debruge called the final movie "grim" in his review and noted, "From the very outset of the series, Katniss has been faced with difficult moral questions. Nearly always, she acted out of a naive sense of what was right.... in the intervening time, she has gained an audience with Panem’s top power mongers, her cynicism steadily growing as she comes to recognize how such individuals operate. By this point, [rebel leader Alma] Coin is as much a figure of suspicion as Snow.") Katniss kills the rebel leader and Katniss herself is haunted by the memory of what happened during the conflict, though she now hopes that her children will be living in a better world. 

As for another fantasy series, “Game of Thrones," which are adapted for the HBO TV series, take place in an infamously dark fantasy world. Characters who attempt to do the right thing, such as the character of Ned Stark (Sean Bean), are almost always punished for it and those who put down others for their own gain prosper.

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