Set seventy years before Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them follows the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a young wizard who was thrown out of Hogwarts many years ago. But alas, that didn't stop him, for he went on to travel the globe, helping and caring for as many magical creatures as he can, and during his travels he finds himself in New York City, which is very much foreign terrain for him. Due to a mishap with his briefcase, a lot of the creatures he stored inside escape, and to help get them back, he gets the help of a nomaj (non-magical person) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and sibling witches, Tina (Katherine Waterson) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).
In my opinion, what J.K. Rowling does best is create well realised characters. Sure, the stories she's able to tell are probably just as good, but a story is only as good as the characters who experience it. Once again, she's created a series of wondrous characters who I was more than pleased to spend a solid two hours with. Eddie Redmayne plays the mumbling, bumbling character we've all seen him play before, but Rowling is able to provide him with enough depth and interesting features to make him all the more likeable, proving him to be a character more than worthy of leading a franchise. We've only scratched the surface on who Newt is as a person, and I cannot wait to unravel more in future films.
Seeing these three, as well as the optimistic and happy Queenie, go searching for these truly fantastic beasts makes for an extremely fun adventure. It's exciting, action packed and full of stunning visuals. The story goes in a lot of directions, and I'll discuss the sub-plots in the next paragraph, but it's this main story that makes for the most delightful part of the film. The creatures are inventive and all sorts of loveable, especially the cheeky, gold-loving Niffler, who provides some of the biggest laughs. The film's visual effects are fairly obvious, but they're far from bad. They're really good, never once taking me out of the moment. What lies inside Newt's briefcase is visuals galore, and I could spend hours watching it all be explored.
For as much as I loved this movie, and no matter how great David Yates is at directing it, I just couldn't help but feel that the whole thing is all quite pointless. It's a really fun adventure, set to a wonderful score by James Newton Howard, but nothing about the film stood out as being tremendous. It's not a story that necessarily needed to be told, simply existing for the sake of making a few extra dollars. It's an interesting enough expansion of this universe, and I really can't wait to see it again, but do we seriously need to see five of these movies? I'm not sure. I'm excited to see where they're heading, and things look to be a little more important and relevant in the next installment, but as for this one, it's simply an unneeded, but entertaining story.