A handsomely packaged version of the dialogue and staging directions for the recently released film.
Rowling has expanded her slim 2001 Harry Potter spinoff into a multiepisode storyline, and this is the first. Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in 1926 New York with a bag—much larger inside than out—full of rare creatures. In short order, he not only allows several of them to escape, but falls afoul of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (the local equivalent of the Ministry of Magic). Mad escapades ensue, featuring wizardly duels and encounters with all sorts of exotic fauna from Occamies to Bowtruckles. The script presented here sticks closely to the screen version, but both the printed lines and the italicized stage directions add nuance and details that may elude even close viewers of the movie. Newt’s walk, for instance, is described at the outset as conveying “an unselfconscious Keatonesque quality,” and a later comment that “Occamies are choranaptyxic” invites more pondering than the live action allows. Also, rather than using images from the film, Rowling’s rare and sketchy line drawings in the original edition have been replaced here with decorative swashes on every page and stylized animal forms, all done in elegantly calligraphic pen strokes. A glossary of film terms and partial lists of the film cast and crew are appended.
Thin soup compared to a conventional prose narrative—but enough to carry readers along and to give them at least a sense of the characters and their milieu. (Fantasy script. 10-13)