Here is the premise: The year is 1926 and Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is based on a book that Harry Potter reads; this movie delves into the adventures of the author of said book about seventy years before Harry will discover him.
First and foremost, the creatures they have in this movie are awesome; the CGI is perfect and does not overpower the other characters or the story. Director David Yates does a wonderful job blending the two worlds of live action and CGI to make our imagination come alive on the big screen. There is a nice blend of dangerous creatures and funny gentle creatures that balance out the movie rather nicely.
The script is great, telling its own story away from the Harry Potter world but keeping enough references to that world to know they are a bit connected. J.K. Rowling knows her stuff and she blends just enough of Hogwarts and some of its history to give some wonderful bits of backstory tidbits that all Potter fans will appreciate; while keeping this movie as a stand-alone movie for the rare people who know nothing about Potter and his world.
The acting is superb, with Eddie Redmayne as the soft spoken well-meaning Newt Scamander who brings his creatures to America. Eddie plays Newt perfectly, shy and quiet but forceful when needed. Katherine Waterston is perfect as his unwilling cohort, she also is perfect and the two of them has wonderful chemistry. And Dan Fogler is a riot, he plays a No-maj (Muggle) who comes along for the ride in a world he finds himself happily thrust into.
Overall, I highly recommend this movie, if you loved Harry Potter or never have been on the Harry Potter train; you will fall in love with FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.