Just to prove I actually do live in the 21st Century, I thought I’d tell you I saw Fantastic Beasts last weekend (stupid to go then, but that wasn’t my decision) and I loved it. I think if you like Harry Potter, you’ll enjoy Fantastic Beasts. Which clearly isn’t true, as it’s only getting 76 at Rotten Tomatoes, but I don’t understand why that is. I went in knowing nothing, but having sort of seen the trailer and liking the look of it and I recommend you do the same, but if you won’t do that, I’ll tell you a bit about it.
It takes place in the Potterverse, but it is 1926 New York City. A young wizard with a suitcase full of magical beasts arrives in New York and almost immediately the beasts in his case start causing trouble. A niffler which looks something like a duckbilled platypus but with an endless appetite for shiny things escapes and leads our hero Newt Scamander on a merry chase. His case gets mixed up with a nomag’s (American for muggle) who wants to be a baker and has gone to the bank for a loan. Meanwhile, Scamander has been spotted by a local woman who turns out to work for the wizard bureaucracy, but is clearly not held in high esteem there. Things get more complicated as there are problems with magical happenings in NYC in addition to Newt’s escapees. The film is gorgeous. Eddie Redmayne is endearingly awkward as Scamander.
I’ve looked at a couple negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and they just seem cranky. No, it’s not Harry Potter. If you want to watch Harry Potter, go do that. Some reviewers felt there was too much going on, but I disagree. I found Newt charming and I liked the rest of them, too. I was rooting for them and I think Rowling did a great job, extending the Potter world, but not putting out a retread. As 83% of the audience enjoyed it, that’s probably a better guide. So if you want to see a fun movie full of magic and fantastic beasts and you aren’t a cranky-pants, go see it.