Run Time: 133 mins
Five years after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 comes the first installment of the planned spinoff trilogy from the beloved blockbuster fantasy franchise. Based on the same named school textbook from the original series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place seventy years before Harry Potter even begins.
Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, author of what is one of the most famous books in the wizarding world. Being a massive fan of the franchise, it goes without saying that I was pretty excited to make a nostalgic return to this cinematic universe that I practically grew up with.
Taking place in the year 1926, Newt Scamander (Redmayne) is completing his project of collecting and documenting a wide variety of magical creatures all across the globe. He intends to record this work in his book, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, sharing what he has learned with everyone else in the wizarding world. Along the way, Newt makes his first visit to New York City, where most of this movie takes place. Before long, a few of his creatures are set loose in the city, leading to a wild series of events within America’s secret magical community.
The best thing that I can say about this movie is that it is actually very unique and original, something that Hollywood has been seriously lacking nowadays. While this is a reboot of sorts for the massive movie franchise, Fantastic Beasts still feels completely different than any of the other Potter films. Not only does it feature new characters and a completely new location here in America, but it also holds a more lighthearted, adventurous tone throughout. This is something that I really appreciated about the movie and it made for a truly fun return to this magical world. I also thought that the acting was great across the board, especially from Eddie Redmayne in his portrayal of Newt Scamander. He brought lots of life and energy to the role as he guided us through this totally new adventure. I would also add that the creature design was exceptional as well with very good visual effects for most of the magical animals. Overall, I would say that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a very satisfying return to the Harry Potter universe that any fan can’t afford to miss.