The first installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” film series began in 2016. It’s a spinoff and continuation of the “Harry Potter” universe, but is set 70 years before the “Harry Potter” series is set (1991-1998). The second movie came out November 2018. There will be a few films.
Anyway, let me get to the review. The story focuses on a wizard named Newt Scamander, who traveled to New York City with a briefcase of magical creatures. He is on his way to Arizona. He meets two witches, Tina and her sister, Queenie. He also meets a no-maj (American term for “muggle”) named Jacob, who has a briefcase of pastries since he wants to open up a bakery. Newt’s nifflers get out of hand and create disasters around the city. Newt gets arrested, befriends Jacob, Tina, and Queenie, and helps a boy named Credence who has issues as an obscurus, which is when a wizard child becomes a cloud-like figure from suppressing his or her sorcery. Things get crazy.
As an American myself, I enjoyed learning about the American wizarding world. We learned about the government, different terms they use compared to British wizards (like no-maj from muggle), their magic school, Ilvermorny, and their history. The characters were amazing and real. Jacob was very likable, particularly.
I will admit that there are some flaws in this film. For example, it’s kind of hard to see how the little girl doing the “My mommy, your mommy…” thing is important, unless it’ll play an essential role later on. And although this is crucial to their world, I found the wizards wiping the no-majs’ memories with the rain to be sad. I especially felt sorry for Jacob as he seemed interested in Queenie.
The action and level on stakes kept me engaged, though. The moment when Newt took Jacob into his briefcase to discover the fantastic creatures was very magical.
I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars.