Simply fantastic: But do you really want to find these beasts? Maybe (not)
But do you really want to find these beasts? Maybe (not)
The problem with kraken, for example, is that you never know where to find them. The terrors of the deep show up only when they want to, never mind the needs or convenience of an avid public.
The same goes for skyscraper-climbing apes and friendly ghosts: where to find them?
With any luck, this problem will be addressed in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” opening Friday, Nov. 18, at Regal Cinemas 14.
The film began its circuitous route to the screen as a textbook mentioned in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and used by students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 2001, J.K. Rowling wrote a version of the textbook, posing as “author” Newt Scamander, to raise money for the U.K. charity Comic Relief.
The film version of “Fantastic Beasts” marks Rowling’s first foray into screenwriting and stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, an eccentric wizard and magizoologist who must find some of his escaped fantastic beasts in 1926 New York City.
It’s a welcome return to the Harry Potter universe but a reminder of the capriciousness of fantastic beasts. Where to even find them? Some thoughts:
Fantastic beast: Godzilla.
Where to find them: Tokyo — just look for the giant, reptilian sea beast or follow the sound of screams.
If that doesn’t work: Check out a series of films that began in 1954 with Ishiro Honda’s “Godzilla” to “Shin Godzilla,” which opened in Japan in July and is the highest-grossing Japanese movie this year.
But do you want to find them? Probably not. Nothing good comes from interacting with dinosaur-like metaphors for nuclear fallout.
Fantastic beast: Kraken.
Where to find them: “Below the thunders of the upper deep/Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,” which is ... ominous.
If that doesn’t work: The kraken also can be found in a poem of the same name by Alfred Tennyson. And talk about dramatic! “From many a wondrous grot and secret cell/Unnumbered and enormous polypi/Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.” Eew!
But do you want to find them? If Tennyson is the kraken authority, then finding them might mean plunging deep, deep to their lairs and almost certainly getting the bends, or luring them to the surface, where they will die. It’s a no-win situation, kraken-wise.
However! “Which Witch,” a 1979 children’s novel by Eva Ibbotson, features a delightful, if emotional, orphaned baby kraken. He’s definitely worth the find.
Fantastic beast: Volus.
Where to find them: Irune, a high-gravity planet in the Milky Way’s Aethon Cluster. It has an ammonia-based ecology, so it’s thinly populated on account of not many things can live in ammonia.
If that doesn’t work: Because it won’t, so put your telescopes away, there’s any of the Mass Effect video games, a series of third-person, role-playing shooter games set in a science fiction world. Within that world, the Volus have used their strengths as merchants to help stabilize the galactic economy.
But do you want to find them? Eh. On any planet but their own, they have to wear protective suits to compensate for atmospheric pressure and air composition. If they don’t, their flesh splits open. So they could help you with your taxes, but might make upsetting Thanksgiving dinner guests.
Fantastic beast: Ewok.
Where to find them: On the forest moon of Endor, doing delightful things like capering about and building tree houses.
If that doesn’t work: Re-watch “Return of the Jedi,” which holds up even after 33 years.
But do you want to find them? YES! Teddy bears that are adept at quarterstaffing and know how to throw a party? Find them and join the tribe!
Fantastic beast: Triffid.
Where to find them: London and the French countryside, or pretty much anywhere, actually, because they’re walking, carnivorous, venomous, communicative plants that hardly anybody can see on account of A PLAGUE OF BLINDNESS! Sheesh.
If that doesn’t work: Torture yourself with “The Day of the Triffids,” John Wyndham’s 1951 post-apocalyptic nightmare of a novel, which became a 1962 film, three radio series and two TV series. You’ll soon be giving your co-worker’s desk plant the ol’ suspicious side-eye.
But do you want to find them? No! Geez!
Fantastic beast: Oompa-Loompa.
Where to find them: Their native home of Loompaland, which actually is not all that homey for them, or making candy in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
If that doesn’t work: Enjoy “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel, or the 1971 and 2005 films based on it, all of which will make you want to eat all the candy in the world.
But do you want to find them? This depends on your tolerance for pranks and snarky songs composed on the spot at your expense.
Fantastic beast: Grendel and his mother.
Where to find them: In a marsh somewhere near the mead hall of Heorot, probably covering their ears (if they have them) because the drunken revelers are so loud and annoying.
If that doesn’t work: Brush up on your Old English and delve into the 12th-century poem “Beowulf” contained in the second Nowell Codex (or the more approachable 1999 translation of it by Seamus Heaney). You also could check out the truly appalling 2007 motion-capture film of the same name, in which Angelina Jolie’s character has high-heel feet.
But do you want to find them? Look, we’ve all had loud neighbors. Is Grendel really such a monster for being annoyed by this? And yes, OK, murder is severe, but still: Drunken next-door parties are the worst.
Fantastic beast: Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Where to find them: The Black Lagoon. Duh.
If that doesn’t work: Track down the delightfully campy 1954 eponymous film as well as its two sequels (1955’s “Revenge of the Creature” and, from the following year, “The Creature Walks Among Us”). It all begins with a tramp steamer journey up the Amazon River, as so many things do, and a gilled, scaled humanoid creature.
But do you want to find them? Once again, a case could be made for beasts being seriously misunderstood by ham-fisted, domineering humans.
Fantastic beast: White walker.
Where to find them: Beyond The Wall, which just no. Don’t go there.
If that doesn’t work: Delve into George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels or the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” This cannot be stated emphatically enough: The humanoid, pale-as-milk White Walkers are not just myth to scare the children of Westeros and they’re creepy and their victims turn into blue-eyed zombies. Beware.
But do you want to find them? Nope. There’s a whole Night’s Watch military order to prevent you doing that, in fact.
Fantastic beast: Gremlin.
Where to find them: In mysterious Chinatown shops in which sneaky grandsons defy their grandfathers and sell cute creatures called “mogwai” to hapless, unable-to-follow-directions customers.
If that doesn’t work: Re-watch the 1984 film “Gremlins” and remember to be careful with water, post-midnight snacks and the YMCA swimming pool.
But do you want to find them? Mogwai? Yes. They’re cute and nice. Gremlins, however, are no good and you’ll want to keep those drapes open.