Published: 18th November 2016
Started reading: April 28
Finished reading: May 2
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…
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.
I completely adore this film, so it is surprising that it took me this long to read the original screenplay. It is the first time I have ever read a screenplay of this type, and it made for a new and informative experience, enabling me to gain an insight into the thoughts and intentions behind many of the scenes.
For anyone who has seen the film, there are obviously no surprises with regards to the plot. But in no way does that stop it from being an interesting read. I enjoyed seeing every aspect of the film described in writing; in J.K. Rowling’s own words, and conversely how all of her ideas (in particular the magical creatures and the Obscurus) were realised on screen.
It was also useful to discover some of the contextual factors, such as the emotions that each character was meant to portray when reacting to an incident taking place, or when speaking a line of dialogue. I feel like having read the screenplay, I understand Newt’s personality more, and it has made me appreciate the acting performances to an even higher extent.
Of course, the screenplay is very well written and contains some memorable lines of dialogue, which always make me laugh when I watch the film. My top three would probably be:
1. NEWT: ‘Your skull is susceptible to breakage under immense force’.
2. JACOB: ‘My uncle’s a house-elf’.
3. QUEENIE: (when Newt argues to Queenie that the best wizarding school in the world is Hogwarts) ‘Hogwash’.
Overall, the screenplay was a very fun read. I feel like I learned more about the film, its characters, and its direction. The book itself is full of beautiful artwork, and comes complete with a glossary at the end of all the technical terms. It is the ideal compliment to a fabulous film. The second instalment may have been a letdown, but I shall always view this one with fondness.
Have you read the screenplay or seen the film? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!