You may be aware that I love Harry Potter, I’ve loved the books for years and so when I saw these gorgeous hardback versions of the original scripts for the Fantastic Beasts movies I had to get them. I should probably say now that I haven’t actually seen the second one yet so reading the script book was basically a whole book of spoilers for the movie for me. I’m going on a plane soon so hoping they have the second one on there, it’ll make the four hours go a bit quicker.
These two books are the original screen play scripts for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald. If you don’t know, these are the two movies based in the Harry Potter universe about Newt Scamander and set about fifty years before the Harry Potter series starts. He wrote the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is one of the books in the Hogwarts reading list. The original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book was released for charity in the UK and there have been a few variations since, all of them including this written by JK Rowling.
I have a feeling that most people who buy these will probably be doing it to be part of a collection, like me, but I am going to include a bit of a review of them anyway. Don’t worry, no spoilers for the storyline at all and I’ve made sure that photos of any pages are early enough that they won’t give any storyline away or just don’t have any text on them.
I feel like the first thing I have to write about is the covers, they are so pretty and I think probably some of the best looking books I own. I love how they’re both done with different colours but you can tell they have the same look. They remind me of old classic book collections with their dust covers. The spines inside are exactly the same as the spines of the covers but the books are both navy rather than having the different colours, so they could look more uniform on a book shelf and fit in with a lot of classics with the navy cover and silver or gold detailing.
I think my favourite thing about the covers is the fact that they have the foil detailing as well as the matte ink print. For me the first book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, looks even better as the matte detailing in the gold colour has the lighter shading on it that gives it the appearance of a bit of shine to it.
These two books are written as scripts, as the name suggests, and so they can get a bit of getting used to. I know some people find it hard to read script style books like this where there’s just the stage directions, the description of the scene and then the speech without any extra bits in between. I did find it a bit harder to read at first but I got used to it pretty quickly. They are written in pretty much a script format but I do love the extra detailing around each page, there’s a border in each of the books and some pages have additional illustrations.
As far as the stories go, they’re both fast paced and get into the action pretty much from the start. There are a few parts where it feels slower, but then you need them to stop the story from being non stop and would give a break in the movie. As these are the scripts for the movies they should be word for word the same, I haven’t compared them yet but I am tempted to sit down and watch the first with the book now and see if they are identical or not.
There are a few extras in these books that I like, they remind me of those extra features you get on a DVD, things like the addition of the information on the movie like the actors for each role and who directed or produced it. There’s also information on the artist and the making of the book and the author herself. They do include a glossary of movie terms which can be helpful to refer to if you need it and there’s a bit of a foreword are the beginning as a kind of introduction.
As these are set in the Harry Potter universe you can expect spells that you recognise from the other movies and books, I think it’s almost expected that you’ll know what they do, there’s less of an explanation in here than say in the first Harry Potter where any new spell came with an explanation on what it did. There are also known creatures as well as new ones and it’s hard to read the script without imagining the little animated creatures as you see them on the screen.
Normally if there’s a book that’s made into a movie I’d recommend reading the book first, though you do risk imagining things a lot different to the movie and they can be a let down I’d rather do it that way than see the characters I know from the screen when I read, if that makes sense. In the case of these books, however, I’d recommend watching the movie first. It may just be me but I found it easier to follow in the first one when I knew what people and things looked like and could see them doing things than the second book. I guess it’s the lack of the description of facial expressions and little extras you get in a traditional book that makes it feel flatter to me without knowing the story already.
I think that, at the end of the day these are collectors books. I’m not sure that there are many people who would buy these without being a fan of either the newer movies or the original Harry Potter series. They are gorgeous and make great display books, even if it’s just the spines on a book case, and they are fun to read even if it is a fairly quick read. I don’t see these as being one of those books I will reach for and read every year, like I do with the originals or a few other favourites, but at the price they are at the moment on Amazon I’d recommend them to any collector or as a nice gift if you know a fan of the Potter universe. In that way they’re similar to the many special editions of the original books (which somehow feel less like special editions each time there’s a new one to me) but with a lower price point.
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