Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay.
Author: J.K. Rowling.
Genre: Literature, screenplay, fiction, adventure, fantasy.
Publication Date: November 18th, 2016.
Summary: Grindelwald's attacks in Europe are on the rise, and nobody knows where he will strike next. Meanwhile, when Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt's fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone, especially because there is a mysterious, sinister and unstoppable creature wreaking death and destruction in New York and threatening to expose the wizarding community. It is up to Newt, with his new friend Tina (former Auror) and a No-Maj Jacob Kowalski, to figure out what is wreaking havoc in New York, while dodging MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America).
My rating: 8.5/10
My review: This may just be the second movie script I have ever read, so it took a little while to get used to the format. I didn't think I would enjoy it, or get much out of it (I had seen the movie twice by this point), but I was mistaken. For one, I appreciated the writing in general - it's Rowling at her most typical. The plot is mostly light, but there are enough dark elements brewing about to give the script both substance and a certain sense of allure (Grindelwald is a beautifully complex villain, and the idea of the Obscurus was a really poignant one). In Newt, Rowling creates one of the most charming and genuine characters, and you cannot help but love him - the contrast of his absolute lack of social skills with people and his incredible capability to communicate and gain the trust of every type of creature is what will win your heart, along with his adorable awkwardness. Jacob and Queenie are some of the most fun and endearing supportive characters I have encountered in a while, although I was not in any way moved by Tina. I felt that her character was created to play off of Newt's, but her own essence kind of got mixed up and partially lost in that. So even though Newt and Tina make an enchanting combination, by herself she undoubtedly falls flat. And, of course, it's the creatures, and the idea that Newt presents that humans are the most vicious and dangerous creatures on the planet in the end of the day, that beautifully tie together the entire thing. I appreciated two things about reading the script: One was stage directions. It's fascinating to see the intention behind the physical action, how actors interpret those directions (or fail to, in rare cases), and how actors can lift seemingly simple, nothing lines off the page and make them into something wonderful and entirely their own. There are a few minutiae I missed, and a few I wanted to confirm, and the directions helped me do so (e.g. the possible sexual manipulation involved in Graves corrupting Credence that is, in fact, very subtly there, and the probable parallel of how Grindelwald may have convinced Dumbledore when they were both young). The second one was being able to enjoy the universe I have loved for years, and the world I have missed, without having any of the original material touched or ruined in any way. Setting the story in the 1920s America was a fun way to stay within the magical world, but fill in some of the backstory that sounded so compelling when briefly mentioned in the original series, plus it was super fun to see the subtle cultural commentary Rowling provides in the differences between American and British wizarding societies. A worthwhile read if you enjoyed the movie, or love the Harry Potter universe in general.
Whatever it is, one thing's clear—it must be stopped. It's terrorizing No-Majs and when No-Majs are afraid, they attack.
She doesn't want any money.
Then either her story is worthless, or she's lying about the cost. Nobody gives away anything for free.
You're a Legilimens?
Uh-huh, yeah. But I always have trouble with your kind. Brits. It's the accent.
(cottoning on, appalled)
You know how to read minds?
Aw, don't worry, honey. Most guys think what you was thinking, first time they see me.
Newt... I don't think I'm dreaming.
What gave it away?
I ain't got the brains to make this up.
What did you do today, Jacob? I was inside a suitcase.
I need to get going, find everyone who's escaped before they get hurt.
The pair enters another forest, Newt plowing ahead, on a mission.
Before they get hurt.
Yes, Mr. Kowalski. See, they're currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet.
I was watching you at dinner.
People like you, don't they, Mr. Kowalski.
Oh—well, I'm—I'm sure people like you too—huh?
(not very concerned)
No, not really. I annoy people.
(not sure how to answer)
♥ Perplexed, Newt looks too... A lion is stalking toward them.
You know, New York is considerably more interesting than I'd expected.
♥ Newt tugs protective headgear out of his pocket and hands it to Jacob.
Put this on.
Why—why would I have to wear something like this?
Because your skull is susceptible to breakage under immense force.
Now, there's absolutely nothing for you to worry about.
Tell me—has anyone ever believed you when you told them not to worry?
My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.
(sotto voce, to Tina)
Can someone please tell me what this Obscurial—Obscurius thing is? Please?
(also sotto voce)
There hasn't been one for centuries—
I met one in Sudan three months ago. There used to be more of them but they still exist. Before wizards went underground, when we were still being hunted by Muggles, young wizards and witches sometimes tried to suppress their magic to avoid persecution. Instead of learning to harness or to control their powers, they developed what was called an Obscurus.
(off Jacob's confusion)
It's an unstable, uncontrollable Dark force that busts out and—and attacks... and then vanishes...
There's only one still missing. Dougal, my Demiguise.
Slight problem is that... um, he's invisible.
(this is so ridiculous that she's can't help but smile)
Yes—most of the time... he does... um...
How do you catch something that—?
(beginning to smile)
With immense difficulty.
♥ The head of a house-elf peers up at him from behind the bar.
What? Ain't you ever seen a house-elf before?
Oh, no, yeah, no, yeah, of course I have... I love house-elves.
Jacob tries to act nonchalant—he removes the cork from the bottle.
My uncle's a house-elf.
(putting on his jacket)
Did you say school? Is there a school? A wizardry school here? In America?
Of course—Ilvermorny! It's only the best wizard school in the whole world!
I think you'll find the best wizarding school in the world is Hogwarts!
♥ Jacob fights back tears. Queenie gazes up at him, her beautiful face full of distress. Tina and Newt, too, look incredibly sad.
I was never supposed to know any of this. Everybody knows Newt only kept me around because—hey—Newt, why did you keep me around?
Newt has to be explicit. It doesn't come easy.
Because I like you. Because you're my friend and I'll never forget how you helped me, Jacob.
Listen, Newt, I wanted to thank you.
What on earth for?
Well, you know if you hadn't said all those nice things to Madam Picquery about me—I wouldn't be back on the investigative team now.
Well—I can't think of anyone that I'd rather have investigating me.
Not precisely what he was aiming for, but too late now...