Fantastic Beasts is a prequel series of sorts taking place many decades before the tales of Harry Potter. The story starts off with Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a travelling wizard heading to the United States for unknown reasons carrying a case of mystical creatures. Things go horribly wrong when one of the critters escapes from the case and Newt gets wrapped up with a muggle named Jacob (Dan Fogler).
The two eventually team up to some degree in order to catch these creatures before anything bad happens. It just so happens that someone from the wizarding body of America, Porpentina (Katherine Waterston) is nearby watching and decides to take Newt in. This leads to a magical journey filled with an open world in comparison to the closed in halls of Hogwarts. It was certainly nice to get out there to see a larger world and much more magical seeing what the wizarding world can actually do. This was further improved by visiting a different region with New York, capturing the time well and showing us a new set of magical customs.
Continuing on the magical aspects this film had a great balance of providing a plain world and then giving a complete contrast with areas full of magic. The regular muggle side of things would often be shown as bleak or dark whereas the enchanting portions were bright with colors and lively with action. The Harry Potter series only gave a glimpse of the magical world and in this first Beasts entry they show it's much bigger than we were originally shown.
The characters were also great filling their roles well with Redmayne's Newt being particularly charming in the lead and I also did enjoy the continuously startled Porpentina. This was also a good start for what's supposed to be a long running series providing a solid and unpredictable beginning to what could be an epic series. It has all the proper starting points already teasing many interesting things of what's to come. There were also many hints to certain things that I'm sure fans will pick up on and appreciate.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a fantastic start to the franchise definitely gathering my interest as I initially wasn't sure where this might take things. The film also looked great with so many magical moments that brought the charm of the series to life with characters that represented all sides of the wizarding community well.
There were also a number of laughs to be had as it's a fun story of catching beasts while also still providing dark elements. The quality of the world was also great capturing the time piece incredibly well while bringing the magic side of things to life perfectly. It's a fun film that should be something everyone can enjoy and one that fans of the Harry Potter series will appreciate. The ending did come across as a bit cheesy though what one would expect for the targeted audience.
Review for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at Theater with standard Viewing
Screening was Provided by Warner Brothers