Book Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay

Fantastic Beasts:  The Crimes Of Grindelwald:  The Original Screenplay, by J.K. Rowling

It is worthwhile to ask why it is that I would be interested in reading the screenplay to a movie I have already seen and generally like [1].  There will be some people who are opposed to the series on principle, and that is certainly an easy enough view to understand.  As someone who has read every book in the series that I have been aware of, this is not precisely my own view, but it is a view I can understand.  I find it intriguing that these screenplays have proliferated since the Fantastic Beasts series started.  Of course, a large part of the reason for that is probably that the source material for the Harry Potter series was the seven novels of J.K. Rowling, while the source material of this particular series of likely five films is her imagination, fleshed out in the screenplays that she herself writes.  And so if you want to get a sense of what she is trying to accomplish, even after seeing the films, the books are pretty useful in that regard.  It is worth reading a screenplay of a film that one has seen if plays are your thing.

Reviewing the material of this screenplay is likely to be either mostly redundant (if one has watched the movie) or full of spoilers, if one has not.  Suffice it to say that the screenplay identifies what is going on in the play but does not provide any discussion of scenes that hit the cutting room floor nor any additional context outside of the film.  Nevertheless, there are at least two aspects of the screenplay I found interesting.  For one, the screenplay makes explicit some of what the movie itself only leaves implicitly.  For example, reading the screenplay it is very obvious that Newt is oblivious to the attraction of his assistant towards her, which sort of makes sense given that many intelligent people are oblivious about such matters.  Likewise, the screenplay makes it very obvious that Creedence’s girlfriend is Nagini, something that many people likely already figured out beforehand, and that the little beasts that were a part of Grindelwald’s breakout were chupacabras, something that some people may have recognized.  I also liked seeing what many of the types of shots in the film were, as that is something that is of interest to me as a writer and reader of plays.

At any rate, this is the ideal sort of book to read from a library, which makes sense given that there were more than 20 people ahead of me and at least 20 people after me who currently want to read the book at present.  I do not feel that this sort of book would be useful to have at home, since it would take up space that could be better served by other books, but if you have a taste for screenplays and like to know some of the language of filmmaking, at least as done by J.K. Rowling, there is a lot to appreciate here.  Likewise, the end of the play (and film) provide plenty of drama, with a stunning and surprising identity, a question of how this fits in with the canon of the series as a whole, and the clear question of when the conflict between Credence and Dumbledore will be involved.  We already see from this early effort that Dumbledore has always had an interest in manipulating people and working outside of the Ministry of Magic, something that he was an old hat at by the time of the main series as a whole.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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