by Vincenza Belletti

Managing editor

On Nov 18, the magic of Harry Potter returned to theaters for the spin off film series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It has been five and a half years since the final installment of the Harry Potter films premiered and fans were more than ready for another taste of the magic. Beware, minor spoilers ahead.

The first installment of this five part film series is based off the adventures of Newt Scamander, the author of Harry’s school book in Sorcerer’s Stone, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. The movie is set in New York in 1926, 70 years before the Harry Potter series. The new film tells us that Newt had been traveling the world in research of magical creates and arrives in New York in hopes procuring a new fantastic beast. This plan goes horribly wrong when a no-maj (the American word for muggles) accidentally takes Newt’s case and releases magic animals loose in New York City.

After the opening weekend, Fantastic Beasts had completely surpassed expectations both in the box office and in the minds of viewers. In just two days, the film internationally grossed $143.3 million, beating the $125 million projection. The film also beat the expectations of the common viewer. Fantastic Beasts was warm yet creepy, funny yet serious, but never boring and always, should I say, spellbinding. Senior Menal Raju, who attended the premiere of the film, said “Harry Potter has always been such an important part of my life and being able to experience new content that was executed so well is really amazing.”

It is also due to the lack of a previously written book to base the film off that it was received as it was. In the past Harry Potter films, audiences would complain about aspects excluded from the films that they saw as important in the books. Since this was a brand new story though, there was nothing to compare the film too. In addition, the new technology that was developed since Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiered in 2011 gives the magic of the movie a more realistic look. The duels are more dramatic, the teleportation is more smooth, and the creatures are extensively more realistic looking.

Audience’s are not sure what the next four installments will hold, but it has been confirmed through the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindlewald, the evil wizard that rose to power prior to Voldemort during the 1920s, will make an appearance, leading fans to believe that we will see the legendary battle between Dumbledore and Grindlewald in 1945, which is the year Rowling has confirmed the final film will be set in. She has also confirmed that the second film will take place in both the United Kingdom and Paris, France. Despite this distance from America, the main characters we met in the first film will take a trip across the pond and will be in at least the second film.

When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them started, I saw the Warner Brothers logo and heard Hedwig’s theme and I realized that I hadn’t properly breathed since 2011. The Harry Potter series defined an entire generation of kids, and while we’re off graduating high school, going to college, and having families of our own, we will never forget our love for this magical universe. After all, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.