“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the new film from J.K. Rowling, brings to the screen the wizarding world she first introduced in 1997 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published.
The worldwide phenomenon that is Harry Potter is truly unique in its sensationalism. From the original books, to the multi-billion dollar film franchise and multiple theme parks based off the series, it’s easy to be taken in by the magical world.
University of Mississippi student, Anneke Bakker, 19 is the exception. Bakker, who grew up in Modesto, California before moving to South Carolina, “never grew up with the Harry Potter experience due to a strict religious upbringing.”
As a part of a generation that has embraced the wizarding world, Bakker is one of a few who missed out on the adventure, but she is determined to become a part of it.
“I feel like I’ve missed out on an integral part of growing up as a part of my generation, and I don’t want to feel that anymore,” she said. “I know that a lot of people love the Harry Potter books, and I want to know what all the hype is about.”
Bakker plans to read all of the books and binge watch all eight films, including “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” follows Newt Scamander, played by actor Eddie Redmayne, as he travels to New York with a suitcase full of magical creatures.
The return of J.K. Rowling’s world to the big screen has left many people reminiscent of the many hours spent watching the original “Harry Potter” films, such as integrated marketing communications major Camryn Cabral, 18, who moved from Brandon, Mississippi, to Ole Miss this fall.
Cabral, who saw “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” when it first premiered in theaters in 2001, is a lifelong Harry Potter fan. She has spent countless hours reading the books and rewatching the films, and she is a self-proclaimed Slytherin. She helps introduce others to what she says is “one of the most creative worlds ever invented by an author.”
“I would call myself an expert,” Cabral says. “I’ve read all seven books multiple times, and I even own a box set of the films. Every time Freeform does a “Harry Potter” weekend, I make a homemade butter beer and hum “Hedwig’s Theme” in time with the film.”
Morgan Mundy, 20, is a psychology and English major at Ole Miss. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was fantastically (excuse the pun) done,” she said. “I think part of the reason that it was so good was the fact that J.K. Rowling didn’t ever write an actual book for it, and she wrote the entire screenplay herself, so not only was the plot amazing, but it felt genuine to the Harry Potter universe.”
Mundy, another lifelong Harry Potter fan, had only good reviews of the new J.K. Rowling installation.
“As someone who grew up reading the Harry Potter books, including the textbook that Rowling wrote called ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ I really love how she’s [Rowling] continuing the story into our adult lives. I like that she hasn’t left it up to us to reminisce.”
Mundy also said that, in her opinion, “Everyone should watch ‘Harry Potter’ at least once. It’s a truly magical experience. The CGI (computer generated imagery) was incredibly ahead of its time, and the acting is absolutely incredible. Not to mention, they cast actual children and teenagers to play characters that were children and teenagers. They’re just wonderful films, and fortunately, ‘Fantastic Beasts‘ follows in the footsteps of the original films perfectly.”
Twenty years ago, J.K. Rowling was writing, and attempting to publish, the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Today, there are nine books, nine major motion pictures (and four more that have just been announced), two theme parks, and millions of fans all over the world.