Film / Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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"Youíre an interesting man, Mr. Scamander Ė just like your suitcase, I think thereís much more to you than meets the eye."
Newt Scamander: I'm writing a book about magical creatures.
Tina Goldstein: Like an extermination guide?
Newt Scamander: No. A guide to help people understand why we should be protecting these creatures instead of killing them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a film released on November 17, 2016, the first Spin-Off and ninth canonical installment in the Harry Potter franchise. Written by J. K. Rowling and directed by David Yates, the director of the last four Harry Potter movies, it stars Eddie Redmayne, as well as Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, Samantha Morton, Carmen Ejogo, Gemma Chan, Jenn Murray, Jon Voight, ZoŽ Kravitz and Johnny Depp.

The film follows Newt Scamander, a British wizard with a penchant for magical creatures that he keeps in his spacious briefcase, who arrives in the United States to do a favor for a friend. Unfortunately, a chance encounter with a No-Maj leads to the two accidentally switching each other's briefcases, leading to a few of Newt's creatures wreaking havoc on Manhattan when the suitcase is opened. When Newt learns of this, he also discovers that magic-related violence has struck the city, with his creatures being seen as a scapegoat for it. With the assistance of an ex-Auror, her sister, and the No-Maj, it's up to Newt to rescue his creatures, clear his name, and uncover the source of the magical violence occurring in New York City.

A sequel is due to release in 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The series this film kicks off has its own character sheet.

Previews: Announcement Trailer, Behind The Scenes Featurette, Teaser Trailer 1, A New Hero Featurette, San Diego Comic-Con Trailer, Japanese International Trailer, Final Trailer.

This film provides examples of:

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    A-F 
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original book was a defictionalized textbook from the Potterverse, and Newt Scamander was simply the author. Now it's the start of a major film franchise with Newt as the main character and an exploration of the rise of Gellert Grindelwald. And even if one considers only the "guide to monsters" nature of the original book, the movie includes new beasts such as the Thunderbird, and the beasts we already know about are given more detail in the physical sense, since the descriptions in the book were minimal.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The film introduces some new beasts, which makes sense...but what doesn't is that they're now missing from a comprehensive book of magical creatures that's gone through more than fifty editions.
  • Adorkable: The final scene that Newt and Tina have together involves both of them awkwardly trying to express their attraction to each other.
  • All Take and No Give: How the friendship between Leta and Newt worked according to Queenie.
    Queenie: She was a taker — you need a giver.
  • All There in the Manual: History of Magic in North America, a series of four short writings by Rowling herself that brief the reader on the backstory. Major details include:
    • Many Anti-Wizard No-Majs are the descendants of rogue wizards known as Scourers who blended into No-Maj society and taught their No-Maj children the existence of wizards and witches and to hate and persecute them as revenge for being hunted after the American wizards established their current government (the Magical Congress of the United States of America, MACUSA for short) after the Witch Trials (which at least two Scourers helped instigate); as a result, the Masquerade is thinner in North America than it is in other parts of the wizarding world.
    • MACUSA outlaws relations between wizards and No-Majs after an incident where a dim-witted witch spilled the secrets of the North American wizarding world to a Scourer-descended No-Maj who shot and nearly killed several innocent No-Majs he suspected of being wizards. In addition, he had shown the witch's wand to several reporters who believed him and printed articles about it, nearly resulting in a huge break in the Masquerade.
    • The published screenplay also reveals details that didn't make into the final cut like Leta Lestrange was really the one who was responsible for "endangering human life" with a beast. Newt simply took the blame in a gesture of misguided loyalty that got him expelled from Hogwarts and estranged things between the two.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Newt rarely looks people in the eye, is far more comfortable with animals than people, and is a Bad Liar. A lot of his mannerisms could probably qualify him as somewhere on the autistic spectrum, actually, but since the wizard community doesn't have Muggle-standards of psychiatry (and it's the 1920s, besides), he's just seen as 'annoying'.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The very last shot, where Jacob, who had his memories of the film's events wiped from his mind, shows a glimmer of recognition upon seeing Queenie in his bakery. It's unclear whether it's simply a case of Wistful Amnesia or if his memories of her have actually returned.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Goldstein sisters, whose last name is common among Ashkenazim and live in New York City, with a large Ashkenazi population.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: Memory spells used to keep non-wizards from exposing the magical world are not completely fool-proof, as a No-Maj seems to remember the events of the film in the last scene before the credits. Jacob Kowalski is shown having made replicas of the magical beasts out of pastry. He also seems to recognize Queenie when he sees her and reaches for an injury he got during the adventure. When Newt described the Swooping Evil venom, he specifically said it removes bad memories, while Kowalski's experience was generally positive.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The New Salem Preservation Society, a group of No-Majs looking to expose and hunt down witches and wizards, are a cross between this trope and The Witch Hunter, though given that The Masquerade is still being upheld, it's a more downplayed example of this trope.
  • Apologetic Attacker: A somewhat drink-mellowed Jacob apologizes to Gnarlack in the speakeasy during the MACUSA raid, right before jacking the cackling goblin right in the face.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The interior of Newt's case contains several partitions enchanted to resemble the natural habitats of various creatures in his keeping, including the desert of Arizona, a grassy field, a deep forest and a clearing in the dead of winter.
  • As You Know: Newt tells Tina (and the audience) about the restrictive MACUSA laws regarding No-Maj/wizard interaction, with the justification that Tina is asking Newt what he knows.
  • Badass Boast: An unusual one in that it's spoken softly, phrased as a question, and uttered at a moment most others would have a major Oh, Crap! reaction instead (he's just been unmasked and captured by MACUSA). But his tone of voice, facial expression, body language and the snarky little smirk he gives beforehand chillingly show how extremely confident of himself he is. Also can count as Foreshadowing / Call-Forward as note  he later does escape.
    Grindelwald: [To the president of MACUSA, softly] Do you think you can hold me?
  • Bag of Holding:
    • Scamander owns a magical suitcase bewitched with an extension charm in which he transports his luggage and a number of beasts while he travels. He can hide the magical contents from Muggles by flipping a switch on the case. Tina even stuffs him in there at one point to make sure he can't back out of his MACUSA summons.
    • The Niffler's pouch can hold an immense amount of the riches it picks up, despite the creature being smaller than a puppy.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A rather clever example: Graves is telling Credence that there is a child in his house that he wants. Clearly, the audience (and the characters) deduce this character to be the source of the Obscurus—and that this source is the little girl who has been giving sinister glances the ''entire'' film, even has a toy wand under her bed. Or not. It's Credence. And the 'dreams' that Graves claims he is having about the child are just him making stuff up based on what he knows about Obscurials.
  • Ballroom Blitz: The re-election rally for Henry Shaw Jr. is a formal dinner that is interrupted by an invisible and magical menace that kills Henry Shaw jr.
  • Beam-O-War: Tina Goldstein and Percival Graves end up in one with their wands.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Newt says that Obscurial never live past the age of ten because of the wild magic within them. The one he met, for instance, died at age 8. Credence is an Obscurus who has survived long enough to be a teenager. Graves says that is a "miracle".
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • Newt's suitcase contains an office for him to work in and a replication of the habitats of the many magical creatures he contains in the case, with special mention to the open fields the Thunderbird has to roam in.
    • MACUSA's headquarters are far more massive on the inside than the Woolworth Building's exterior dimensions would allow.
  • Big Rotten Apple: The film takes place in New York City, and makes full use of its location to show off everything good and bad about the city that never sleeps during The Roaring '20s. Confirmed Real Life locationsnote  so far include Central Park (and the Zoo), the City Hall Subway Station, the Diamond District and the Woolworth Building. American characters also have accurate addresses—the Goldstein sisters live on West 24th Street in Chelsea, while Jacob Kowalski is a native Brooklynite living in Manhattan's Lower East Side, which at that time was a notoriously poor area for immigrant families.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Graves/Grindelwald's plan to break the masquerade and start a wizard-muggle war is foiled, but Jacob has to be mind wiped, forgetting everything about his adventures with Newt, Tina, and Queenie—although, thanks to Newt gifting him with some Occamy eggs, he's able to set up the bakery he always wanted—and Credence is either killed or reduced to little more than a wisp.
  • Blatant Lies: After the police arrive to find Newt and Jacob covered in jewelry outside two smashed in stores, Jacob half-heartedly tries to cover for the two of them.
    Jacob (pointing up the block) "They went that way, officers."
  • Book Ends:
    • A Satchel Switcheroo between Newt and Jacob is seen at the start and ending. The first was an accident, but the second was on purpose so Newt can give Jacob the "collateral" he needed to open up his bakery.
    • The movie begins with Newt arriving at New York and ends with him leaving the city.
  • Brainless Beauty: All There in the Manual:
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A magical beast gets loose and bites a non-magical citizen, leaving a former wizard cop to furiously question Newt Scamander, the owner of the beast. Newt tries to reassure her that the bite is mostly harmless and lists off a series of minor symptoms of the bite, until he stutters and tries to avoid the subject before having to list the last symptom: shooting fire from the anus.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the 3D version at least, magical creatures and effects will regularly jump outside of the letterbox (the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen), creating a rather, well, magical effect.
  • Broken Masquerade: Well, cracked. Thanks to the Scourers and one particularly dim witch, there are Muggles in America who know wizards and witches exist and want them exposed. They only make up a small portion of America's non-magical population but are a big enough threat that MACUSA forbids relationships with Muggles.
  • Call-Back: This isn't the first time in the Wizarding World that a lollipop has been a target of the invisible.
  • Canon Welding: To an extent. The film combines the canon of the original books with the visual aesthetic (and the odd Mythology Gag) from the movies—probably because the Potter films and Fantastic Beasts share a production designer, and the lead graphic designer of Beasts has been with the franchise since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Car Fu: In order to get out of a duel in stalemate, Percival Graves waves his hand at his opponent, which sends a car flying straight at them.
  • Category Traitor: The Scourer, wizard mercenaries who filled the gap of a wizarding government in the early years of America's magical community. Eventually they became corrupt and began turning fellow witches and wizards over to Puritans for rewards; they even helped instigate the Salem Witch Trials. Many of them managed to evade justice by marrying No-Majs, renounced magic and taught their children to hate magic as revenge for being driven into self-imposed exile.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Newt takes time out of his busy day to explain what Swooping Evil's venom is to Jacob Kowalski, a friendly No-Maj. The venom proves essential to wiping the memories of those who saw magic exposed in the finale.
  • Cleanup Crew: A group of MACUSA wizards come together and use a mending charm in unison to repair all the damage that had done to New York during the film's climax.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Once Graves realizes he can't beat Tina wand-to-wand, he throws a car at her.
  • Cone of Shame: A deleted scene shows one of the heads of a runespoor, a three-headed snake, wearing one of these.
    Newt: You know exactly why you're wearing it. You stop biting the others and it'll come off.
  • Continuity Nod: One of Newt's animals is a Niffler, which made an appearance in the book version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where they were used as a game to hunt for leprechaun gold.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Harry Potter is unacademic, gregarious, and completely new to magic, and struggles with the pressure of The Chosen One, serving as an access character and a classic hero. Newt Scamander is an adult skilled in magic and focuses on magical studies, using them to solve problems, has No Social Skills, and is just an ordinary guy at the time dragged into a magical conspiracy that has nothing to do with him, because the audience already knows about the wizarding world and Newt genuinely doesn't have a huge role in magical history.
  • Crapsack World: The American Wizarding community is even more close-minded than its British counterpart, if you can believe it. (Though the extent of which this is due to social norms being vastly different 70 years before the main series isn't completely clear.) On a larger scale, Newt reveals that a number of the creatures he holds in his suitcase are on the verge of extinction from being hunted by his fellow sorcerers out of fear and greed. And this is not even getting into the ceaseless string of terrorist attacks against both the magical and non-magical communities instigated by Grindelwald and his followers.
  • Culture Clash: Newt's love and fascination of magical creatures and his European upbringing put him at odds with MACUSA and American Wizarding Culture in general.
    Tina: Mr. Scamander, do you know anything about the Wizarding Community in America?
    Newt: I know you have rather backwards laws about relations with non-magic people. [Tina gives him a look] You aren't allowed to befriend them. You can't marry them, which seems wildly absurd to me.
  • Cultural Posturing: Queenie and Newt get into a brief argument over whether Ilvermorny or Hogwarts is the superior wizard school.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Percival Graves against anyone else in the movie. It's pretty clear that he far outclasses everyone, even an entire squad of aurors, who were quickly dropping like flies despite being all of them against him alone. He's only defeated once and only because he didn't know about the Swooping Evil Newt was carrying. Even then, it's implied that he'll recover from that defeat very quickly.
  • Darker and Edgier: In contrast to the Harry Potter books, which were a Coming-of-Age Story that quickly became darker, David Yates claims this story feels less young adult and more "grown-up" because the story follows adults rather than teens or young adults. According to David Heyman, the producer, "[the film] is very funny, with a lot of heart, but a lot of darkness," later going on to compare it to the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And with the inclusion of bloodthirsty witch hunters, political turmoil, speakeasies and flappers, and gangsters and dangerous creatures roaming the streets, it's no wonder that the tone of the franchise remains dark. It's also darker compared to the book, which was clearly comedic in nature with Caption Humor and such.
  • Desperate Object Catch: To bring the escaped occamy under control, Tina has to catch a live cockroach thrown across the room by Jacob in a teapot. Unbelieveably, It Makes Sense in Context.Which is... 
  • Dissonant Serenity: The MACUSA executioners, to say nothing of the victims they prepare by painting smilies on their souls. Subtext with hindsight of the knowledge of Graves' true identity, suggests the executioners were under the Imperius curse.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • MACUSA has a barometer-like device it uses to monitor the Magical Exposure Threat Level, colour-coded green, blue, yellow, orange and red. Word of God confirms this was completely intentional.
    • Further establishing the connection between Gellert Grindelwald and Adolf Hitler, Grindelwald begins a series of small-scale attacks in the 1920s, much like the Nazis' aggressive militant assaults such as the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.
    • The MACUSA dole out capital punishment (in a particularly horrifying way) and their aurors have a shoot-first-ask-questions-later policy resulting in Credence being killed just as he's starting to come down from his rampage.
    • On the topic of capital punishment, the scene where Tina is being taken to be executed, begging for her life can bring to mind The Holocaust, given her Jewish surname and Grindelwald's parallels with Adolf Hitler.
      • Even ignoring that, the actual method of execution is also reminiscent of the electric chair, the capital punishment of choice in the United States until lethal injections became the standard or like the practice of dunking in the 17th and 18th century.
    • The Magical Congress's laws banning Wizards and Witches from forming relationships with No-Majs bears a strong resemblance to laws banning marriages between people of different races, which were common in the United States until the mid-20th century (although such laws were never in place in the state of New York.)
    • The way American Aurors use their wands, pointing without moving them and firing spell after spell rather than waving them around like European wizardkind, is extremely similar to handguns, especially noticeable in Credence's execution.
    • The source of Obscurus—magical children suppressing their powers until they burst out destructively—sounds a lot like some types of poltergeists like this one or even the infamous Bell Witch haunting, which according to one theory is caused if young peoples' latent/unconscious/suppressed psychic energy bursts out and destroys things. This could be a Darker and Edgier reference to Peeves the Hogwarts poltergeist, who doesn't exist in the Harry Potter film universe.
    • A repressed boy with a religious upbringing goes to dark, secluded alleyways to meet with a handsome man who gently caresses him while they whisper inches away from each other.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Played with. Every time Mary Lou gets mad at Credence she makes him take his belt off so she can beat him with it.
  • Drugs Are Bad: In-Universe. Very little is heard about Senator Shaw's political views, but he makes it very clear that he avidly supports Prohibition and thinks alcohol should be even more restricted than it already was in the twenties (among other things, such as pool halls).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Newt has a finished manuscript and accolades as the man who bagged the wanted fugitive Gellert Grindelwald, Tina has her respect and position restored at MACUSA, the two (awkwardly) start to hit it off, Jacob finally has his bakery business and it is flourishing, and Queenie is elated to find out Jacob's fond memory of her isn't completely obliviated.
  • The Empath: Queenie Goldstein is an in-the-blood Legilimens, which means she can read people's thoughts, pasts and goals without even needing to use a wand.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage:
    • Newt Scamander spends a great deal of time trying to prevent this due to some of his suitcase's magical beasts having escaped confinement.
    • The Erumpent that breaks into Central Park Zoo looking for a mate makes several non-magical animals escape, such as a lion, an ostrich, a hippo, a seal and a baboon.
  • Expy: Queenie and Tina Goldstein seem to be based on Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger, respectively. One is a blonde with mild Cloudcuckoolander tendencies who is actually quite capable and aware, while the other is a more grounded and super-serious brunette who is far more dangerous than she appears.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Although the end of the film jumps ahead one week, the rest of it takes place over two days.
  • Fake Period Excuse: Queenie smuggles Newt, Tina, and Jacob out of the MACUSA headquarters by claiming she's feeling unwell and taking the rest of the day off. When her supervisor asks what she's carrying in Newt's suitcase, her response is "lady things." She even invites him to take a closer look, but he declines and sends her on her way.
  • False Reassurance: "There's absolutely nothing to worry about," says Newt, as he sticks Jacob in a helmet and body armor. Jacob lampshades this, asking if anyone ever believes that.
    Newt: Well, my philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: Newt's suitcase, Bigger on the Inside, has several compartments that resemble the native habitats of all the fantastic beasts he keeps in it.
  • Fantastic Noir: The interactions between MACUSA and heroes play off very much like a noir movie, down to the heroes temporarily seeking refuge in a goblin-owned speakeasy. For added points, the collection of Aurors who execute Credence and try to do the same to Graves/Grindelwald point and fire their wands as if they were handguns, rather than waving them around like the British wand usage.
  • Fantastic Racism: Because of the Anti-Magical Faction advocating for their destruction, American wizards are very suspicious of normal non-magic folk to the point you can't even befriend a muggle, let alone marry one.
  • Fantasy Americana: Wizards and magical beasts mucking it up in Roaring Twenties New York. Not to mention that magic in the United States has its roots in Native American culture.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two male leads of the movie, the slender Newt and the chubby Jacob, form a duo like this.
  • Fictional Currency: The dragot, America's wizarding currency, makes its Potterverse debut (not counting a few brief mentions in Pottermore).
  • Fictional United Nations: In response to the murder of a No-Maj/Muggle, a collection of magical world leaders, including the British Minister of Magic, convene at the Magical Congress of the United States to discuss the matter and how to preserve The Masquerade.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Demiguises rely on probability for sight and can see the future. The Demiguise that Newt tries to recapture as well as an Occamy realises that a Christmas ornament will startle it and potentially strangle and likely kill Jacob. The starting event happens, but it saves Jacob after the Occamy gets startled.
  • Foil:
    • American wizarding culture is very different from the UK and others. For starters, while relationships between muggles and witches and wizards are allowed in Europe, they are strictly forbidden in America for security reasons (see All There in the Manual above). In fact they don't even have a liaison with the American Muggle government, that's how serious they are about upholding the Masquerade. Additionally, the British wizarding population views Muggles as amusing curiosities and inferior to the the wizards' power while the Americans do not underestimate their abilities without magic and see them as legitimate threats to their way of life. Interestingly, though, a house-elf seems to be shown using wands in the MACUSA, something that is outright outlawed in the UK.
    • The Founding Fathers deliberately rejected concepts like Athenian democracy and a British-style Parliamentary system in order to create something entirely new. By contrast, MACUSA intentionally modeled its governmental body on the Wizards' Council of Great Britain, the predecessor to the British Ministry of Magic.
  • Food Porn: The meal prepared, or rather conjured by Queenie looked very decadent and appetizing. Especially with the strudel for dessert, which is probably why Jacob became enamored with her.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • We know from the introduction of the book that Tina will become Newt's wife.
    • Grindelwald will inevitably escape from custody and continue his reign of terror in Europe before he is finally defeated by Albus Dumbledore.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A lot on Graves, who the movie alternatively sets up as either a Red Herring or merely a follower of Grindelwald but is still shown to be a formidably skilled wizard, even capable of doing strong wandless magic. Turns out he is Grindelwald himself. Note the pendant that he gives Credence. It bears the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, which was Grindelwald's sigil during the height of his power. Also, the first shot of Grindelwald in the prologue and the first shot of Graves in the movie proper, back of the head with the head slightly turned, are nearly identical. Even their hairstyles are similar.
    • The fact that Credence was really the Obscurial was foreshadowed pretty early. Note that the first victim was the senator and presidential hopeful Henry Shaw—who brushed the family off and insulted Credence early on.
    • Tina notes that while Mary Lou beats all her adopted children, she seems to hate Credence the most (in fact, the reason Tina was demoted from being an Auror is because she defended Credence from Mary Lou's abuse with magic). Hmm, wonder why that could be? Could it be that it's because he's the only one of her kids she knows is of magical descent?
    • Early on, Newt tells Jacob how eggshells of a creature called an Occamy are made of silver. At the very end of the movie, Newt gives Jacob some to use as a deposit for his bakery.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Newt and Tina are the introverts, and Jacob and Queenie the extroverts. Relatively to each other, Tina is more of a thinker and for justice Melanchonic, and Newt is more of a feeler and for mercy Phlegmatic, and he fits the "humble, thoughtful, compassionate" character. Queenie is a charming and quirky Sanguine, Jacob is a hard working and goal oriented Choleric.
  • Freaky Is Cool: How Jacob reacts to Queenie after getting over his initial embarrassment that her ability read minds meant she knew that he was thinking when he first saw her. It's because of this that they quickly bond.
  • Funny Background Event: Inside Newt's suitcase, giant beetle-like creatures are seen making sculptures out of their dung while Newt gives Jacob Kowalski a tour.

    G-L 
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: Double Subversion. A cop tries to claim the destruction at Kowalski's apartment is the result of a gas leak, only for all the witnesses to berate him and point out the lack of gas's scent. One man steps up to say that they all saw a magical beast cause the destruction, but before he can, Newt casts a spell over all of the witnesses and they frantically claim in agreement that it was a gas leak that caused everything.
  • Gentle Giant: Most of Newt's large creatures are quite benign and non-malicious even though they cause destruction due to their animalistic behaviour and instincts such as the female Erumpent, Frank the Thunderbird who can detect danger though it's a bit reserved with strangers or the escaped Occamy who can change its size depending on the place it establishes.
  • Glamour Failure: Tina and Newt are led off to be executed while in MACUSA, which involves stepping into a pool that hypnotizes people by acting similar to a Pensieve and showing them warm memories before disintegrating them. Tina, who goes first, is shaken out of hers by her memories of seeing Credence being beaten and abused by Mary Lou, which shocks her enough to free her.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Subverted with the Goldstein sisters — Queenie's femininity and (seeming) flightiness might lead one to peg her as the beautiful sister, while her more practical, serious, career-oriented Tina can seem like the smart one. However, the sisters are very close, and both are intelligent witches.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Many MACUSA Aurors wear brown leather Badass Longcoats.
  • Hilarity in Zoos: A female Erumpent that escaped Newt's case enters the Central Park Zoo looking for a mate, breaking the cages and releasing a number of animals until Newt and Jacob manage to capture her.
  • Historical Fantasy: This movie lovingly showcases JK Rowling's magical community in 1920s New York, putting the movie squarely between this and Urban Fantasy.
  • Historical In-Joke:
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • A sentiment expressed by Newt. He's not worried about his creatures hurting people. He's worried about people hurting his creatures.
      Newt: We're going to recapture my creatures before they get hurt. They are currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet — humans.
    • The two worst threats in the film are not the creatures, but an abusive woman who beats her adopted son, and a dark wizard who manipulates said son whose repressed magic creates an extremely destructive being.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: The original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a handbook centered around all kinds of magical creature, while this film centers around the author of said book.
  • Implausible Deniability: Newt manages to catch the Niffler, but in the process he and Kowalski get surrounded by police while covered in the jewelry the Niffler stole from a store right next to them. Kowalski half-heartedly points down the street and says "They went that way," as one of the windows of the jewelry store shatters behind him.
  • In-Name-Only: The film is this relative to the book that it's inspired by. While the book is reference material about the titular fantastic beasts, the movie is a narrative of that reference book's author and an adventure he had before completing his book. However, it's justified in that if the film were a direct adaptation of the source material, then the film would just be a fictitious documentary about magical animals in the Harry Potter universe.
  • Irony:
    • Despite being in a country famous for its democracy, MACUSA are even more draconian than their European counterparts, to the point of punishing their highest crimes with execution rather than imprisonment.note  Political commentary about how people view the states aside.
    • As this movie is meant to be Newt's story before writing "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" not only are most creatures in the book not present (which will hopefully be further addressed in the sequels) but this film also contains animals that aren't in that book at all for reasons unknown in-universe as Newt already showed plenty of knowledge about them, like the Thunderbird's natural habitat where you could find it. Then again, the original book never states it's the complete guide (it was even missing animals mentioned in the main series by that point, such as Boggarts), and Dumbledore's foreword indicates it could simply be abridged despite containing Harry and Ron's doodles. Backing this up is how short nearly every entry is apart from the entries for dragon, quintaped, and lethifold. The true irony might just be the fact that, after seeing Newt's personality, that he never contested the MoM rating tier, since the harmless ones (such as the Horklump) are rated as "Boring".
    • Graves accuses Newt of conspiring to break the masquerade and instigate a war between the wizards and the No-mag, which is exactly what Grindlewald (as Graves) is trying to do.
  • It Was with You All Along: A possible case with Jacob. He needs money to open a bakery, but has neither the money nor valuables to secure a loan. Then we see there seems to have been a hidden space behind his grandmother's portrait, and the Niffler seems to have found something there.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: MACUSA's headquarters are hidden in the Woolworth Building in Manhattan.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: While the Obliviate Charm is an old mainstay of the franchise, the movie's climax takes memory erasure to a new level. Newt has his Swooping Evil's venom blown into a storm by Frank the Thunderbird and so it can rain on the city and erase the memory of magic from every No-Maj witness in the city.
  • Laugh of Love:
    • Queenie tends to laugh when she's with Jacob, which he tends to reciprocate. A particularly​ touching one occurs at the end of the film, when she giggles softly upon seeing Jacob at his bakery after he's had his mind wiped, and he grins in response, indicating that he remembers her in some capacity.
    • Tina also tends to laugh when she's with Newt after she eventually warms up to him, particularly when he offers to give her a copy of his novel in person at the end of the film. The book's introduction reveals that she's his future wife.

    M-R 
  • Magic Map: As the Obscurus is on a rampage, the MACUSA are watching a map of Manhattan which shows its progress as a white light.
  • Magic Missile Storm: A group of twenty or so Aurors end up simultaneously blasting offensive spells at a single target in the climax. The combined force of the spells is enough to obliterate a sentient storm of dark magic; however, trying the same thing on the magical terrorist Grindelwald fails because he's skilled enough to block each of their spells with individual Shield Charms.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Gnarlack persistently mispronounces Scamander's name — he puts the accent on the first syllable instead of the second, as if to rhyme with "scavenger".
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: In the US, wizards are forbidden to marry or even befriend No-Majs. It's already been established in previous installations of the franchise that the UK does not have similar restrictions; it's not as common, and often viewed as odd by the wizarding community, but it's at least legal.
  • Morphic Resonance: One clue pointing to Graves being Grindelwald in disguise is that they have similar "short back and sides" haircuts.
  • Muggles: Featured prominently, this being a film set in the Potterverse. However, in North America, they're actually called "No-Majs", because they have no magic.
  • Muggles Do It Better: When Queenie is having trouble opening a locked door with a variety of spells due to comprehensive counter-enchantments on the lock, Jacob simply kicks it open.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: There is a slow motion scene of someone diving to catch a cockroach with a teapot.
  • Mundane Solution:
    • After two standard opening spells fail to unlock Graves's spell-protected office Queenie sarcastically asks Jacob if he knows a spell that can work in this situation. He responds by kicking in the door.
    • For the bigger creatures he has to capture, Newt forgoes using magic directly, preferring to use their natural traits and weaknesses.
    • When it comes to stopping Credence's Obscurus rampage, no amount of magic seems able to work for long. What finally gets through is Tina talking him down from the edge... which is then tragically negated when The Cavalry arrives and kills him with a barrage of lethal spells.
    • After an entire film of creatures escaping out of Newt's case by various means, the final scene shows him having tied it up with string.
    • In general, the wizarding world is shown to focus on magical solutions to the point of neglecting physical defenses.
  • Mundanger: An ordinary, abusive mother is the cause of much darkness here.
  • Myopic Architecture: Good idea: enchanting your lock to be immune to all magical forms of unlocking. Bad idea: leaving the frame weak enough to simply kick it open (although the door at least had an alarm on it).
  • Mythology Gag: This film is chock full of references to both the main canon and the film adaptations, to the point where it has its own page.
  • Never My Fault:
    • The Scourers, who started the Salem Witch Trials, train their children to hate and fear wizards and witches because they were driven into exile after the Trials ended. They don't seem to believe they had any part of it, even though they were the ones that started the trials in order to settle personal vendettas and were the ones that allowed it to grow into hysteria.
    • This also applies to the MACUSA, who have Tina and Newt arrested for supposedly not immediately coming forward that there were magical creatures loose in New York, when Tina had attempted to do that in the beginning of the movie, only to be brushed off because there were other problems.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer seemed to imply that Shaw's election campaign would play a much larger part in the movie than it does.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Newt's lax security with his suitcase and a poorly-timed Satchel Switcheroo means a bunch of magical creatures escape, which has major repercussions.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Credence devastates a wide swath of New York City in his final rampage, but MACUSA only holds him responsible for killing Shaw, and everything gets put back to normal after a mass memory charm and some repair work. Evidently his gigantic building-shredding cloud of death only damages property.
  • No Ontological Inertia: People inside their homes are shown to be affected by Frank's amnesia-inducing rain as well as the people outside. The film attempts to handwave this by showing them drinking glasses of water or taking a shower, but this implies that the Swooping Evil's toxin has not only instantaneously traveled from rainwater into the city's water main, but also into glasses of water that were already poured before the rain started.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: When Newt finds the niffler at a jewelry store, it tries to pose as a display dummy. Newt isn't fooled.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever got Newt kicked out of Hogwarts involved an accident with a dangerous beast.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Tina gets brushed off by the Aurors and President when she tries to turn in Newt for releasing magical creatures in New York. No one ever tries to follow up with her about this man who she brought in either. She also gets admonished for not reporting it sooner when she finally is able to report the problem. Graves does visit her later in her office and opts to have a look inside Newt's suitcase to see the evidence - problem is, thanks to the Satchel Switcheroo that took place earlier, all they find is a bunch of Kowalski's pastries, and he dismisses the case.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • The first No-Maj building Scamander enters in New York City is a bank, and the Niffler is quite happy about it as it escapes. So happy that Scamander has to chase it with Jacob all the way down to the bank's vault, which Scamander opens. Then the alarm rings and the bank's director catches them "in the act". Scamander then has no choice but to Full-Body-Bind Curse the director and flee with Jacob using the Apparition spell.
    • The police arrive to find Newt and Jacob thoroughly draped in jewelry after Newt's madcap chase to recapture the niffler trashes two jewelry stores.
  • Open and Shut: The door-opening Alohomora spell gets an interesting twist here: it can even open a locked No-Maj bank vault, but the process is complicated enough that it takes a while. This is consistent with how Alohomora is rendered in the movies, as Hermione's use of it in Philosopher's Stone physically moved the bolt on the door. A bank vault simply has more mechanisms to affect.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The re-election rally for Henry Shaw Jr. starts to go wrong when spooky sounds begin to emerge from the pipe organ in the balcony of the event space... it goes downhill from there.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Everybody recognizes the name Newt Scamander. Not many seem to know him as Newton Artemis Fido Scamander.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Seraphina Picquery, president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America during The Roaring '20s, is a Twofer Token Minority, being both African-American (a good 88 years before there was a black No-Maj president) and female. However, her status as a President Minority in the magical community only applies to her skin color, as there have been female MACUSA presidents since the 18th century. She also overturned the laws regarding Prohibition within the magical community because being a witch or wizard was tough enough as it is. Overall, she was certainly quite a different character from her No-Maj contemporary.
  • Pensieve Flashback: The Magical Congress of the United States uses magic that resembles the Pensieve from Harry Potter (they are in the same universe, after all) as part of their execution process. The person to be executed has their memories extracted from their brains and put into a pool, which displays their fondest memories in order to keep them calm enough to allow the execution to go off without a hitch.
  • Person of Mass Construction:
    • Newt uses Reparo to reconstruct an entire demolished apartment in the time it takes someone to walk up three flights of stairs.
    • At the end of the movie, wizards are shown repairing entire chunks of New York that were ripped apart during the chaotic finale.
  • Pet the Dog: Graves (Grindelwald) has several moments in which he is kind to Credence, particularly healing wounds caused by his abusive guardian and sharing a Headbutt of Love. He's clearly using Credence to his own ends, but it's possible that there is some genuine affection behind his actions.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Relative to the time frame and their UK counterpart, MACUSA is not shy from adopting mundane techs for their own use. Compare for instance the Ministry of Magic's traditionalist style of using feather pens and scrolls to MACUSA's use of animated mechanical typewriters for writing things.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: That's what an Obscurus is. It's what happens when a magical child actively suppresses their magic because of fear or abuse. It's not actively evil, it's just scared and hurt after a lifetime of pain.
  • Prequel: The movie is set roughly seventy years before Harry set foot in Hogwarts.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Tina Goldstein was demoted from Auror to the Wand Registration desk apparently for incompetence, but actually for embarrassing the government by magically assaulting a child abuser in front of a large crowd of muggle witnesses.
  • Red Herring: Newt's Obscurus was taken from a 8-year-old girl who was suppressing her magic and there is no known case of an Obscurial living past the age of 10, so clearly 10-year-old Modesty, who recites Mary Lou's creepy witch-burning rhymes, witnessed Sen. Shaw bully her brother, hid a wand, had no contact with wizards, and was told to her face that her birth mother was "unnatural" should be the one, right? It's actually Credence, who's older, male, and had been Graves' contact for a while.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Here we have two sisters, Vivacious and bubbly Queenie and the stoic, reserved Tina. Goes along with their fashion choices, Queenie predominantly in pink and her sister in blues and grays.
  • Relationship Reset Button: Jacob and Queenie spend most of the movie flirting, but magical law requires that he have his memory erased at the end. She visits him in his new bakery at the very end, suggesting that their relationship might continue in some form.
  • Retcon: In the book's foreword, Newt is stated to be a graduate of Hogwarts. Here, he was expelled.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • During the emergency meeting at the MACUSA headquarters, the otherwise-composed Graves is shown briefly fidgeting out of concern when Grindelwald's acts of violence are mentioned. Knowing the ending puts this scene in a completely different light.
    • The face of a wanted poster in Gnarlack's speakeasy is torn off. It's Grindelwald's, revealing he's the blond wizard at the beginning of the film and hiding that he's played by Johnny Depp.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Several of the magical creatures, especially the Niffler, a platypus-like creature with the tunneling propensity of a mole and an attraction to shiny things; and the bowtruckle, a sociable stick insect not unlike a tiny Groot.
  • The Roaring '20s: The film's time period, seventy years before the start of the main series. For context, Harry's adventures happened during the 1990s. Details on what characters will be seen are up in the air, but this places it within the lifetime of Dumbledore, Grindelwald, Nicholas Flamel and other long-lived characters who were present in Harry's time. It also takes place the very year Tom Marvolo Riddle, a.k.a. Voldemort, was born (1926). Dumbledore is mentioned as part of Newt's backstory, while Grindelwald's campaign in Europe is mentioned as occurring simultaneously with the events of the film.
  • Running Gag: The latches on Newt's case keep opening of their own accord, sometimes with disastrous consequences. By the end of the movie he's tied it shut with rope as an added precaution.

    S-W 
  • Salem Is Witch Country: There were at least two Scourers among the judges that instigated the Salem trials to settle their personal feuds. This led to several real witches being killed alongside innocent No-Majs that were caught up in the hysteria.
  • Satchel Switcheroo:
    • Newt's suitcase full of magical creatures is accidentally swapped with Jacob Kowalski's pastry suitcase, leading to some the magical beasts being released into the open after Kowalski opens it.
    • Done again deliberately at the end—Newt gives an oblivated Jacob a suitcase full of occamy eggshells that are made of silver, providing him with the collateral needed for the bank loan for his baking shop.
  • Saved by Canon: Porpentina Goldstein and Newt Scamander, given that they go on to get married, have a baby - and a grandson, Rolf, who will go on to marry none other than Luna Lovegood - and retire in 1979 with three Kneazels (not to mention that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book's canonical publication date is one year after the film takes place).
  • Saying Too Much: When interrogating Newt, Graves brings out the Sudanese Obscurus from Newt's case as "Evidence" of his plotting to bring down The Masquerade. Newt is adamant that he keeps it for study, and that without a host, it can't hurt anyone. What Graves says next tips Newt off that there's something not quite right about the Auror...
    Graves: So it's useless without the host.
    Newt: "Useless"? "Useless"? That is a destructive magical parasite that killed a child. What on earth would you use it for?
  • Separated by a Common Language: There's even different lingo for American wizards, who call Muggles "No-Majs".
  • Sequel Hook: Plenty:
    • The film takes place in the Roaring Twenties. Gellert Grindelwald, the Greater-Scope Villain, was not defeated until the forties... and the film saga is slated to end in 1945, the year of his defeat.
    • Obviously, Porpentina and Newt will get together at some point.
    • The plot hook of Newt knowing Leta Lestrange is not filled, implying that it may be a plot hook later on.
    • Modesty has a wand, was possibly descended from wizards or witches, and her fate was not shown.
    • invokedA small orange wisp of Credence's Obscurus floats away after Grindelwald is escorted out of the subway. A Deleted Scene shows Credence on the same boat as Newt leaving America, but it was cut because Word of God said it felt too much like a cheap Cliffhanger, though Credence being alive and well is still canon.
    • This movie takes place only one or two months before the birth of the wizard who will become Voldemort. This may be a coincidence — but, given that this is a J. K. Rowling work, is it likely to be coincidental?
  • Shake Someone, Objects Fall: Newt does this with the Niffler in a bank vault, causing several hundreds of pounds of gold and jewelry to fall out of its pouch.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: As Director Graves investigates a collapsed building, an invisible creature tears throw the streets and the camera cuts to its perspective as it flies up into a building before flying away.
  • Sharp Dressed Man: It's the Roaring Twenties! Natty suits, badass longcoats, and fedoras abound. This also emphasizes an important difference between American and British wizards — American wizards try to blend in with No-Majs and wear contemporary fashion, unlike British wizards who presumably all wear robes (in the books) or dress like Charles Dickens characters (in the movies).
  • Sibling Team: Two of the heroes, Queenie and Porpentina Goldstein, are sisters.
  • Teleport Spam: Like most of the David Yates Harry Potter films, wizards use rapid Apparition to catch their opponents off-guard and avoid powerful attacks. This is especially true for Newt in the climax, who has to Apparate across rooftops to keep up with the action and then across a subway to avoid massive spells thrown his way.
  • That Came Out Wrong: This exchange as Newt and Tina are saying goodbye:
    Tina: Listen, Newt, I wanted to thank you.
    Newt: What on earth for?
    Tina: Well, if you hadn't said all those nice things to Madam Picquery about me, I wouldn't be back on the investigative team now.
    Newt: Well — I can't think of anyone I'd rather have investigating me. [wince]
  • Through His Stomach: Jacob is already enamored of Queenie when they meet, but then she makes him dinner and that's it for that.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After all what Jacob been through with Newt and the calamities that followed, the amnesia he ultimately accepted doesn't go unrewarded; the Satchel Switcheroo with him on the end turns out to be the investment he needed to start his own bakery business. Possible that he has legitimately Earned His Happy Ending when Queenie visits him one more time.
  • Title Drop: Tina does this when she tells Newt she'll be on the look out for his new book.
  • Trilogy Creep: Fantastic Beasts was originally envisioned as the opening of a trilogy of films. Then, just before the release of the movie, it was announced that the film would be the start of a pentalogy instead—a decision which proved to be prudent when the movie opened well and had good legs at the box office.
  • Urban Fantasy: Magical community in New York City? Check! (See also: Historical Fantasy.)
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Modesty's fate, and that of her unnamed older sister (called "Chasity" in the script), is left ambiguous. Possible Sequel Hook, especially since it was implied that the former had some interest in magic. The script book however says Chasity was also killed during Credence's attack on their mother, albeit seemingly unintentionally given her lack of involvement, so only Modesty's remains unclear.
    • The fate of the real Percival Graves is never revealed. Supplemental materials stated that Grindlewald used Polyjuice Potion to impersonate him, however, J.K. Rowling later statednote  that Grindlewald accomplished it entirely via Human Transfiguration. Therefore, Grindelwald may not have had any reason to keep Graves around, unless he needed to interrogate him, but this has yet to be confirmed.
    • By the end of the film, the Billywig (a blue flying insect-like creature) is the only creature that is unaccounted for. In fact, it completely disappeared after the first half of the film, and Newt doesn't seem to realize that it is missing. Then again, Billywigs are not dangerous (their sting causes giddiness and levitation as the only effects), and there's only one of it loose, so Newt might simply be unconcerned given it can't breed (Billywigs being native to Australia) and won't harm people.
    • At one point, Newt and Jacob apparate away as a lion (released from the Central Park Zoo) approaches a group of police officers. The outcome of this situation is never revealed or even brought up.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem