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29 November 2016 @ 07:19 pm
More FBAWTFT thoughts.  
Because it has been on my mind lately, here are some more random Fantastic Beasts thoughts and observations (spoilers obvs):

** One of the things that fascinated me about this film was the concept of hiding in plain sight, as that is precisely what the American wizarding community does to keep up with the Stature of Secrecy, going so far as to blend in with their No-Maj counterparts. They wear modern 1920s clothing instead of traditional wizarding robes, when we first meet Tina she is eating a standard New York hot dog among the No-Maj crowd, the Goldstein sisters appear to be living in a No-Maj rented apartment building, MACUSA itself is hidden within the Woolsworth Building, most wizards tend to be unperturbed by modern technology, and hell, a goblin knew what a Macy's store was. It's such an interesting contrast to what we've known from the Harry Potter series.

** The amount of wandless magic and nonverbal spells used, which coincides with the "hiding in plain sight" concept. On one hand this story is about adults who are already trained and highly skilled rather than students learning to use such magic for the first time, even though we do hear the occasional recognizable spell a few times throughout. At the same time, however, when you take into account the Stature of Secrecy especially in America, it makes sense that they would want to use their magic as silent as possible as so not draw any unwanted attention from No-Majes who may threaten to expose them, such as the Second Salemers.

** I was absolutely tickled during the part when Queenie was trying to get passed the highly magically secured lock of Graves' office, and all it took was for Jacob to just kick the door open. Like, hasn't that been an inside joke among fandom for years? That wizards tend to rely heavily on magic that they cannot see the simplest of non-magic related solutions to do something?

** A spell of using a wand to create a magical forcefield umbrella. I mean, that's kinda brilliant.

** In the beginning of the film with the wizarding newspapers, one of them says that wizards are baffled and curious about No-Maj sports, either one reporting about baseball or soccer, which I think is adorable. I can imagine them enjoying their Quidditch while paying somewhat attention to the No-Maj sports, wondering about how they play, etc.

** MACUSA has a black woman as their President. Just hearing the phrase "Madame President" not only made me flashback to Battlestar Galactica, but also it makes me hopeful for hearing that in our own reality in the very near future.

** However, MACUSA isn't without their faults, and goodness there are plenty. One of the biggest ones is the fact that Newt and Tina didn't even get a fair trial for the things they were falsely accused of which seemed absolutely unfair and unjust, since they were just sentenced to death rather immediately, not to mention that the method of an "honorable death" is basically an acidic Pensieve? Jesus fucking Christ. Granted it was Grindelwald pulling the strings and he obviously wanted to control the situation and get those two out of his way; although considering the incredibly strict laws that MACUSA operates on regarding the Stature of Secrecy, what had happened earlier with the Obscurus was something considered very dangerous and uncontrollable, this was a demonstration of how seriously they take things that threaten such exposure. Unfortunately, due to the very intentional and blatant method of the "shoot first, ask questions later" tactic of controlling the situation when confronting Credence/Obscurus, it shows that MACUSA, like all governments, is incredibly flawed and needs better procedures during such urgent matters. Also, as awesome as President Seraphina Picquery was, the fact that she didn't really listen to Tina the first time she tried to bring Newt in and then later accused her of not telling her about him was rather unfair. Tina may have made a mistake while out in the field which caused her demotion, but she isn't someone who would ever waste someone's time. Part of me is kind of disappointed we didn't really get to see what kind of professional relationship Tina had with Picquery before her demotion, considering she was the boss of her boss and was probably someone she looked up to and highly respected.

** No but seriously, I want to know and see more of MACUSA. We only got like a glimpse inside the place, and it is reportedly huge. I mentioned this in my review, but I would love to see everything that MACUSA has to offer, from the different departments to the offices. I want to see the other Aurors, I want to know their stories. Since Tina was/is an Auror, she must've been friends or known some of them through the investigative team.

** I may have issues with the way JKR handles American history and Native American culture, but just hearing how Ilvermorny is supposed to be pronounced and the whole "our magical school is better than yours" brief banter was interesting. Apparently there was a scene cut from the film where Queenie sings a bit from the Ilvermorny school song, which references the American witches and wizards uniting and standing strong against the Puritans.

** I'm going to continue to gush because he deserves it, but honestly Colin Farrell does such a spectacular job at balancing out the duality of his performance of portraying a character who is impersonating another character, so much that when you watch the film again you notice the little mannerisms and ticks that clue you into that. It's subtle, but powerful. While his scenes with Credence are the most obvious same with the end of the film where everything is spiraling out of control, it's the moments within MACUSA where you see a little Grindelwald coming through. In the beginning with the investigative team talking about the attacks around New York City, he has a small eye twitch when President Picquery is talking about No-Majes. During the massive emergency meeting midway through the film, when Picquery is addressing someone about allowing Grindelwald escape, we see him give a quick, small smirk in reaction. When interrogating Newt, aside from his comment about Dumbledore along with seeing the Deathly Hallows pendant in his pocket, he responded to the explanation of the Obscurus being in a dormant state without a host as "useless" rather of "harmless", even Tina gave him a strange look at such a word choice. Just, everything Colin did with his performance, the acting choices, was so utterly brilliant. He deserves all the praise and needs to return to this franchise. ♥ ♥ ♥


As a sidenote, I'm incredibly disappointed that there isn't enough Percival Graves merchandise available. While there is a Pop Figure, his wand, and his tie that you can buy (all which I have), that's pretty much it. There isn't even anything among the amazing Hot Topic exclusives of costume-inspired clothing. Basically, I just really want his fabulous jacket/overcoat, that's all.
 
 
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Kiki May: I hope you picture me in your dreamskikimay on November 30th, 2016 10:14 am (UTC)
I think that the acidic Pensieve thing was something to let us not forget that in US there's death penalty. So, there's the parallel with the Wizards adopting that system. And yes, very flawed and cruel.

I like the idea of Wizards blending so much and wearing modern clothes and everything (Did you see the wands? They have a FANTASTIC roaring twenties design! Sooo cool!) But I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that in the whole USA there is ONLY ONE school of Magic. C'mon, really?

US are huuuuge and very diverse and I imagine lots of different communities with immigrants and you tell me that all these people go to just one school? I don't know. That's makes me think that there are few widards in proportion and that would explain why they blend (Being few is easier)

I LOVED THE "KICK THE DOOR OPEN" scene! Yes, I guess it was a joke about how much wizards rely on magics. I mean, there are guns and stuff, and Voldie still angsts on how to kill Harry with a wand XDDD I love it.
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 1st, 2016 03:03 am (UTC)
It was most definitely an obvious parallel to our death penalty system, which itself is horrific because innocent people do get sentence to death in this country. The Wizarding World is no different, considering their methods for suspects or the wrongfully accused.

But I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that in the whole USA there is ONLY ONE school of Magic. C'mon, really?

Yeah, I call bullshit on that as well. It makes no sense considering how incredibly massive the United States actually is, and as you said how utterly diverse it is with difference of cultures and backgrounds, kind of proving that JKR didn't do her research as thoroughly as she could have when expanding this universe. Apparently in her mind Europe can have multiple wizarding schools but America can only have one? What sense does that make? People in the fandom have already called her out on this, and even attempting to fix this by adding more wizarding schools with the proper criteria.
icecream_junkieicecream_junkie on November 30th, 2016 11:41 am (UTC)
I have to admit, as much as I love the wizarding world shown in the Harry Potter books, I find the concept of hiding in plain sight much more believable. It also makes sense if you consider that the population in America is composed of immigrants from all over the world and will only contain a certain percentage of witches and wizards who didn’t all arrive in America at the same time. So while it might be easy enough to avoid muggles in the UK where wizards have been living for thousands of years, it will be a lot harder to build a second, secret society from scratch for wizards arriving in America. Hiding amongst the Native American wizards wasn’t really an option either so hiding amongst the muggle settlers seems only natural.

I absolutely love all the wandless magic and nonverbal spells, especially when it comes to defending oneself or attacking with magic. I think it makes sense that Aurors would learn this kind of magic, because their life could depend on it. You wouldn’t necessarily use it to cook dinner at home, because (according to JKR) wandless magic is harder to do than using a wand, but in a fight you wouldn’t want to rely on a piece of wood (even a special piece of wood) alone for your survival and as you point out, it’s a good contrast to young witches and wizards learning to use magic in general. It’s a special skill that needs time and practice to acquire and people probably don’t bother with it unless they have to. Though I have to say, I’m a bit worried that it will end up being overused in fanfics now that it was used so often in the movie. I see a lot of wizarding Mary Sues who do not need to use a wand and/or say a single spell out loud in the future of fanfic. *lol*

The fact that MACUSA has a black woman as President makes me wonder how much more accepting (for lack of a better word) the wizarding society is. I’m also wondering whether this means that wizards have less conservative views on other aspects of life as well. Considering that “Fantastic Beasts” is set in the 1920ies where muggle women all over the world were still fighting to be allowed to even vote in elections this seems likely. I’m just wondering how far this more open view on gender equality etc. goes and whether it’s applied to everyone or just very powerful witches (who could kick the ass of every wizard who is trying to tell them where their “proper” place is).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t read a lot of what was written in the wizarding newspapers at the beginning of the movie, because the people in the row in front of us showed up after the movie had already started and blocked my view. However, I’ll see the movie again tomorrow. That will hopefully give me the chance to pick up on all the details I missed the first time around.

Just, everything Colin did with his performance, the acting choices, was so utterly brilliant. He deserves all the praise and needs to return to this franchise.
THIS! I usually never talk fandom with my mum, because she always gives me this look like I’m crazy whenever I do (unless I’m fangirling about Star Wars, which is perfectly understandable in her opinion *lol*), but I just couldn’t resist when she asked me how the movie was. I went on and on about how I’m in love with Graves and therefore didn’t like the end of the movie and so on. I just need more of the utter perfection that is Percival Graves (and Colin Farrell ;) ) on the big screen. I mean, who cares about Grindelwald trying to take over the world? Give me the story of Percival Graves and how he tries to pick up the pieces of his life after Grindelwald is exposed!
Anyway, I’m sooooo looking forward to seeing the movie again.
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 1st, 2016 09:36 am (UTC)
So while it might be easy enough to avoid muggles in the UK where wizards have been living for thousands of years, it will be a lot harder to build a second, secret society from scratch for wizards arriving in America.

Exactly! It makes so much sense.

And I'm right there with you about finding that more fascinating, because while I have loved immersing myself in that universe since the HP series, there is something more intriguing about the wizarding community having to blend in with their non-magical counterparts. I really wished we could have seen more of that, like just as part of their daily lives.

I’m just wondering how far this more open view on gender equality etc. goes and whether it’s applied to everyone or just very powerful witches

It's certainly something worth exploring more of. We know that in certain parts of the Wizarding World they have their own prejudices and intolerances (purebloods versus muggleborns and half-bloods, fantastic racism against other magical creatures, etc.) but I don't ever recall there being anything about gender inequality. While I'm sure it exists to a certain extent, it seems that they value competency and skill above all else regardless of gender. For example, Tina was demoted from her position as an Auror not because she was a woman, but because she made a grave mistake while out in the field that theatened exposure to their community, which MACUSA takes very seriously. The film makes it clear she wants her old job back and tries desperately to do so, but of course shenanigans get in the way, but by the end after everything that happened she does regain her old position back.

but I just couldn’t resist when she asked me how the movie was. I went on and on about how I’m in love with Graves

lol, that is basically me all the time about anything. My family (at least on my mother's side) is quite fannish themselves and a lot of the time they actually enable my obsessions. So it came to no surprise when the sudden abrupt interest with Colin Farrell/Percival Graves happened, and how attached I got to him, especially emotionally to the character. ;p
icecream_junkieicecream_junkie on December 1st, 2016 03:39 pm (UTC)
certain parts of the Wizarding World they have their own prejudices and intolerances

It does indeed seem like they simply have different prejudices (at least some wizards and witches) than muggles, but those typical among muggles (racism among wizards, sexism) do not necessarily seem to be an issue in the wizarding world.


My family (at least on my mother's side) is quite fannish themselves

I envy you. :D I constantly get told that I should stop behaving like a child. Nobody even understands why I buy DVDs, because “why would you see a movie more than once and besides, the popular ones are constantly on TV anyway”. The only time I have ever seen my mum act slightly fannish was last year when Star Wars TFA was in cinemas.
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 2nd, 2016 08:56 pm (UTC)
Nobody even understands why I buy DVDs, because “why would you see a movie more than once and besides, the popular ones are constantly on TV anyway”.

See, that's a mentality that I just don't understand. It's like asking someone why they buy books if they've already read them. I like revisiting fictional worlds, I like rewatching something I've already seen because it makes me happy. Plus, a lot of times you revisit something that changes your perspective from the first time you've seen/read it, and you catch things that you didn't before.

(I'm also that nerd that loves buying DVDs for the extra content, like commentaries and behind-the-scenes stuff, because all of that interests me.)
icecream_junkieicecream_junkie on December 2nd, 2016 11:49 pm (UTC)
I like rewatching something I've already seen because it makes me happy.

Exactly! Also, I would rather rewatch something that I know I enjoy then watch something on TV that I don’t enjoy as much and that I’m just watching because nothing else is on.


I'm also that nerd that loves buying DVDs for the extra content

That’s also one of my main reasons for buying DVDs. If I really enjoy a show/movie I want to be able to get as much information as possible (and every deleted scene there is). That’s why I mostly buy the 2-disc special editions of movies. Another reason for buying DVDs is that it gives me the choice between watching the English original or the German dubbed version. Now that I live in the UK this isn’t as relevant anymore (here it’s mostly an issue of whether stuff is available on free TV or not), but while I still lived in Germany I had to buy DVDs to be able to watch the English original.
author_by_night: cool_largeauthor_by_night on November 30th, 2016 02:00 pm (UTC)
I want more MACUSA too. Fanfic, maybe?

I feel like the acidic pensieve thing was probably more Gellert's doing than actual procedure, although OTOH you'd think that Tina would realize from that that something was off. So either Graves wasn't so great either (sorry!), they were in a situation where they didn't have much time for clear, reflective thought, or MACUSA really is that strict. I'm leaning closer towards a combination of Tina figuring he'd lost his mind (or that Seraphina had lost hers) and being too panicked/rushed to really think about what had just happened. But even if that wasn't supposed to be their punishment, it's still pretty damn harsh. Then again, wizarding Britain has Dementors, apparently even just for suspects like Hagrid in CoS.

Good point about the costumes! Something else that struck me was that while they had problems with No-Majes, it didn't seem to be based on blood purity. So for all the DE comparisons, the fact that a No-Maj politician was killed was taken as a very serious thing (although possibly in part because of the danger it posed to them), and I didn't get any sense of superiority. There is obviously still a prejudice (are Muggleborns even allowed to go to Ilvermony? I doubt it), but it's a different kind, whereas the wizarding UK has its problems but in a more passive aggressive way that arguably leads to the war. There's no Death Penalty, you're just tortured until you die of madness or a Dementor sucks your soul. Muggleborns are fine, except really, they aren't, and far too many people decide to become Death Eaters. I'm not arguing that one is worse than the other - rather, they're opposite sides of the same f'd up coin.



I did want more on Seraphina, though. I actually can see her having, well, personal reasons for being wary of No-Majes, given that she is black and according to the HP Wiki, was born in Georgia.



Edited at 2016-11-30 02:01 pm (UTC)
Renéerogueslayer452 on November 30th, 2016 10:05 pm (UTC)
I want more MACUSA too. Fanfic, maybe?

Fanfic is always the solution to these things, isn't it?

Then again, wizarding Britain has Dementors, apparently even just for suspects like Hagrid in CoS.

Yeah, that's something to consider regarding the Wizarding World as a whole and their way of punishments, which overall seem very cruel and unfair. With MACUSA, the acidic Pensieve seems to just basically be the equivalent of the death penalty here in the U.S. Maybe there would've been a trial of sorts had it been any other day, but then again we don't know their process. Which is why I need more information when it comes to how they handle things, particularly the difference between regular days versus severe threats such as the one they were dealing with. As it stands, it definitely feels like a combination of how incredibly strict MACUSA is along with Grindelwald attempting to control the situation to cover his own tracks with his interest with the Obscurus, and him sentencing them both to death was a desperate call to make. It might not have been what the real Graves would've done, but since it wasn't questioned it seemed like it's something MACUSA would have done because of the severity of what they were dealing with, regardless of who was being sentenced to death.

I just have so many questions and curiosities about this, honestly.

are Muggleborns even allowed to go to Ilvermony? I doubt it

That is what I'm wondering, was well. What is their equivalent of Muggleborns (No-Maj-born?) in American wizarding society? When you take into account the Stature of Secrecy, is there a department which detects if a magical child is born into a No-Maj family, and if so how do they handle that? Do they Obliviate that family and take the child somewhere else, like being adopted into a magical family? And what about half-bloods?

These are the kinds of questions that we need answers to, to get a better understanding of whether the Wizarding World is the same everywhere across the global or if it differs depending on the culture and society they are in.

I did want more on Seraphina, though. I actually can see her having, well, personal reasons for being wary of No-Majes, given that she is black and according to the HP Wiki, was born in Georgia.

It's disappointing she only had, like three scenes in the movie. While important scenes, I really wanted to know about her story, her relationships with other characters and what she has dealt with when becoming the President of MACUSA. I feel there is so much more to tell and the film was just crammed with too much to even allow proper character introduction and development, especially for someone as important as Seraphina.
Profiterole_profiterole_ on November 30th, 2016 02:01 pm (UTC)
** A spell of using a wand to create a magical forcefield umbrella. I mean, that's kinda brilliant.

I loved that, both the concept and the lovely visuals it created.
Renéerogueslayer452 on November 30th, 2016 09:07 pm (UTC)
It was such a clever and cool visual, it's a small thing but quite practical.
noybusiness: never seen an elephant flynoybusiness on November 30th, 2016 02:51 pm (UTC)
The most popular wizarding sport in America is Quodpot: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Quodpot

** A spell of using a wand to create a magical forcefield umbrella. I mean, that's kinda brilliant.

Yes.


** MACUSA has a black woman as their President. Just hearing the phrase "Madame President" not only made me flashback to Battlestar Galactica, but also it makes me hopeful for hearing that in our own reality in the very near future.


We can live in hope.

but just hearing how Ilvermorny is supposed to be pronounced

They pronounced it the way I had been. I don't really know how else it could be?

e responded to the explanation of the Obscurus being in a dormant state without a host as "useless" rather of "harmless"

That contributed to my impression he was one of Grindelwald's followers, which honestly I would have found more compelling.

Edited at 2016-11-30 02:51 pm (UTC)
Renée: Hermione. Fight & Defend.rogueslayer452 on November 30th, 2016 06:23 pm (UTC)
They pronounced it the way I had been. I don't really know how else it could be?

It's also the same of how I've kinda been pronouncing it in my head, but sometimes what you think sounds right isn't always the case.

That contributed to my impression he was one of Grindelwald's followers, which honestly I would have found more compelling.

It makes me wonder what tipped Newt off that he was actually Grindelwald in disguise? I mean, his passionate speech to MACUSA at the end could've been it, but it could have also just been another person who sympathized with the cause. I haven't read the screenplay so I don't know if there was anything else to hint at it, but it just seems rather random that suddenly Newt would figure Grindelwald out.
noybusiness: samdeehighschoolnoybusiness on November 30th, 2016 06:24 pm (UTC)
Indeed. I'd like to see the script, too.
dhampyresadhampyresa on November 30th, 2016 10:25 pm (UTC)
when Picquery is addressing someone about allowing Grindelwald escape, we see him give a quick, small smirk in reaction

OMG THAT'S BRILLIANT
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 1st, 2016 01:36 am (UTC)
You wouldn't think about it the first time watching it, but after the reveal, looking back at his performance and acting choices makes it even more amazing with how good he is.
Driver Picks the Musicbatmarg on December 5th, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC)
The hiding in plain sight concept is so brilliant too. The USA wizards actually can understand the muggle world too, since they live in both, which makes them actually better able to blend in. As the books showed, the British wizards really stand out in muggle society. The US wizards didn't.

Jacob kicking the door open was fantastic. I think JK & others may have been reading what gets passed around the internet.

Amen on Graves' jacket/overcoat.
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 6th, 2016 07:35 pm (UTC)
Exactly. It just makes sense because America is a younger country in comparison to Europe, with immigrants from all over, and therefore they probably didn't have time to develop their own society separate from No-Majes so they would had to have integrated and blended in while structuring their own, especially considering the threat of Puritans and anyone else wanting to expose them, they needed to hide in plain sight. While I love disappearing into another magical world like in the Harry Potter series, I actually prefer this concept more because it's so utterly fascinating.

It's also interesting because the introduction to the American wizarding community is kind of a culture shock, to both Newt and the audience, since we only know what we learned from the HP series. Here, the rules are different, stricter, showcasing that the wizarding world isn't the same globally. I'm intrigued by that, even if I side-eye the way JKR handles not just American history but other cultures.