Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Main Performers: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterson
Director: David Yates
Producer: J. K. Rowling
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures
Run Time: 133 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
In 1926 New York, a young wizard from London arrives in New York City, accidentally bringing chaos with him in the form of a bottomless suitcase full of illegal magical creatures. Newt Scamander intends to release one of his creatures into the wild, but when his Niffler gets out and causes trouble in a bank he accidentally swaps suitcases with Peter Kowalski, a No-maj who accidentally unleashes more magical creatures into New York. Their troubles attract an ex-auror, Tina Goldstein, who wants to use Scamander as a way to get back into the good graces of the wizarding government. Meanwhile, trouble is coming in the form of a war between wizards and non-magical people who are afraid that wizards might be hiding in their midst. Using his knowledge of magical creatures, Newt and his new friends have to protect both magical beasts from the people who might harm them but also protect the entire magic world from discovery and destruction.
There is a lot going on in the movie, possibly leaving viewers who aren’t avid Potter fans out of the loop at times. Fans of the movies but not the books will be lacking some information that makes the story its most magical. However, Harry Potter fans will enjoy how the movie develops more of the magical world they love from America’s magical government to the beautiful and interesting creatures shown in the course of the movie. Newt Scamander is excellently played by Eddie Redmayne, showing the audience a well-meaning but not always the smartest character who is willing to show his new friends and anyone else who will let him the amazing world of the creatures he studies. The other new characters will also charm audiences even without a lot of character development for many of them. The movie tries to talk about tolerance, but the ideas never fully set in, possibly due to trying to do too much at once in the movie, and there are several points in the movie that may be too dark for young audiences. Potter fans will appreciate it’s new take on the Wizarding world and what it has to offer with the future movies in the series.