Though this will always be associated with the Harry Potter film series because of the fact it was written by J.K. Rowling and involves creatures and magic, Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them is a stand-alone film. Still it takes some (in plain English) nuts to take on a film like this because of the Potter fans. Makes sense that someone like director David Yates (The Legend of Tarzan, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 &2), a guy who was behind the camera for four Harry Potter films, and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl), an actor on an incredible hot streak, would feel confident enough to take on this movie beast.
The story happens decades before Harry Potter’s time. It is 1926 and the relations between humans and wizards in tenuous at best. Of course, humans do not know that wizards exist and wizards want it kept that way. An eye is kept on humans like Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton – In America, John Carter), who leads daily protests against witches.
This tenuous peace is made even more difficult when an invisible menace continues to wreak havoc on New York City. Senior Auror Percival Graves (Colin Farrell – The Lobster, In Bruges) is on the trail under the director of Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo – Selma, The Purge: Anarchy).
New Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard from England, arrives in New York with a brown leather briefcase in hand. He is en route to Arizona with the contents of the case. The suitcase contains a wide variety of magical creatures which he tends to. His intentions are to educate his fellow wizards on the potential of these creatures; that they are to be seen as benefits rather than things to fear.
Trouble really begins when Newt’s case is accidentally switched with human and aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler – Kung Fu Panda, Horton Hears a Who!). Trouble is amped up when several of the creatures escape from the suitcase. His search for his suitcase and creatures is compromised when Newt is then arrested for being an unregistered wizard by demoted Auror, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston – Steve Jobs, Michael Clayton).
Because there are a couple of people on board from the Harry Potter film series (Rowling and Yates) there is a similar feel to Fantastic Beasts. You definitely feel immersed in a rather believable (though most of it is way out there) yet fantastical world. Loads of fun!
Because there is no novel to base the films upon there was a rather flying without aid of a net feeling to it all. Unlike the Harry Potter films you have no idea where the film is going and it was rather fun. Makes you really wonder about where the story is going and leaves some mystery to it all.
Like the Potter series most of the characters are a whole lot of fun. They are all different, odd and quirky. There is also some depth to them that will make them interesting in the long run.
Plenty is invested in this film doing well as there is a planned five films in the series. Paramount/Warner wants it to succeed. I am not sure that it will be as successful as the Harry Potter series, but realistically what could be? Based on the first film it is going to be an imagination infused fantasy series that will be entertaining.
-Before Harry Potter: A New Era of Magic Begins!