‘Fantastic Beasts’ set to cast its spell this weekend


So today is the day that many Potter fans have been waiting for — the release of the newest movie in the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”


It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film was released and coupled with the fact that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 1” is not expected to be released until 2018, excitement over “Fantastic Beasts” has been building. For proof of that, we offer up this fact: you can’t even get a ticket to the Kent District Library’s upcoming “Harry Potter Party” set for next week at Celebration! Cinema North.


“I’m excited to see everything in it and if they’ll be any cameos from the original cast members,”  said Wyoming High School 10 grader Maria Martinez.


The story actually takes place about 70 years — 1926 to be exact — before Harry and crew were even born. Infact, the new movie does not feature a single character from the original Harry Potter movies, although there are a few name drops such as Albert Dumbledore and that other dark wizard and Dumbledore’s former friend Gellert Grindelwald, who at this point is terrorizing the wizarding world.


“I am so excited to see a new installation of the Harry Potter fandom come to life in an entirely new and magical way,” said Abby D’Addario, who is a youth paraprofessional at the KDL Wyoming branch and will be seeing the movie at the KDL Nov. 21 event. “I always imagined what witchcraft and wizardry looked like outside the walls of Hogwarts – we barely caught a glimpse of that in the ‘Goblet of Fire.’ In this film we get the privileged of seeing the magic underworld of America. It is hard to imagine a magical world without Harry and Voldemort, but I can forgive Ms. Rowling because Eddie Redmayne is magical enough for all of us.”


The film is directed by Potter alum David Yates who reportedly brought with him several former Potter crew members. Also J.K. Rowling did write the screenplay — her first — and adapted it from her 2001 book of the same title.


Of course, “Fantastic Beasts” is set to be a series of movies — recently announced to be five — so there are already predictions that Dumbledore will be making an appearance. Probably not too far off since Johnny Depp recently was tapped to play Grindelwald.


Eddie Redmaye as Newt Scamander.
Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander.

“I’m excited to just see Eddie Redmayne!” said Wyoming High School 10th grader Alondra Soto. Well who would not be excited to see Redmayne? He won an Oscar for Best Actor for the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything” and was nominated for the 2015 film “The Danish Girl.”


“I can’t wait to see the attitudes of the new characters and how Eddie Redmayne will be!” said Wyoming Middle School seventh grader Harlei Schovey.


Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, who has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. He intends to make a brief stopover in New York, but as we all know, nothing is ever brief when dealing with magical creatures.


As an aside, Scamander is a graduate of Hogwarts, from Hufflepuff House. Redmayne recently did a PSA about being a “proud Hufflepuff.”


Scamander meets up with No-Maj — American for Muggle — Jacob (Dan Fogler). There are lots of other new characters such as Tina Goldstein who is a former Auror and who works for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA); Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), an Auror with a mean streak; Queenie (Alison Sudol), Tina’s sister and a mindreader: and Credence (Ezra Miller), an introverted orphan whose adopted mother is leading a group of non-magical people in a witch hunt.


“The intense CGI and the new story line,” said Wyoming High School 12th grader Matt Bulthuis. “The old with the new really gets me excited!”


From early reviews its sounds like few will be disappointed with the new film. “The Chicago Tribune” said “Eddie Redmayne and company make magic in Potter  prequel” and from “The Guardian,” “The entertainment enchanter J.K. Rowling has come storming back to the world of magic in a shower of supernatural sparks — and created a glorious fantasy — romance adventure, all about the wizards of prohibition-era America and the diffident wizarding Brit who causes chaos in their midst with a bagful of exotic creatures.”


If you want to learn more about world of Harry Potter or “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” to prepare for your movie adventure, visit Rowling’s site Pottermore.com or the Harry Potter Lexicon at hp-lexicon.org.