“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” offers new look into Harry Potter universe

For Harry Potter fans around the world, the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two” marked the end of an era. J.K. Rowling had already written all of the Harry Potter books; all of the movie adaptations were released. The only adaption of the Harry Potter World left to be expanded was the Harry Potter exhibit at Universal Studios, but that offered no new content. Naturally, fans were ecstatic when it was announced that there would be a new sequel to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the form of a play. In addition, Rowling had helped write “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a cinematic spinoff from the original series.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” centers on the enigmatic Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he travels from England to New York City in the year 1926. The Dark Wizard Grindlewald attempts to start a rebellion amongst the community of wizards in hopes of establishing a new world order in which wizards are superior to No-Majs (Muggles, or non-wizards). Even worse, the Second Salemers, a political group of No-Majs who believe that magic exists, are stirring up anti-wizarding sentiment as well. 

Each beast looks authentic and as lifelike as any real animal, from the sharp details of their bodies and cries to how they move and act. ”

— Henry Bird

When Newt gets his belongings checked at customs, it is revealed that his suitcase is filled with dozens of different kinds of beasts, from Bowtruckles to Gnarlacks. The trouble starts for Newt when he accidentally switches suitcases with Jacob (Dan Fogler,) a factory worker and aspiring baker. When Jacob returns home, he opens up the suitcase, letting some of the creatures loose to roam free in New York.

The beasts in the movie are fantastic, mostly thanks to the astounding special effects. Each beast looks authentic and as lifelike as any real animal, from the sharp details of their bodies and cries to how they move and act. In fact, the CGI didn’t take away from the authenticity of New York City. In one scene that brilliantly exemplifies this, Newt shows Jacob the inside of his suitcase, where he keeps all of his beasts in special habitats. From his majestic Thunderbird to the ominous Obscurial, his briefcase is strange but enrapturing, as each habitat is vastly different but beautiful in its own unique way.

The movie’s plot didn’t always go down a clear path, and although it was confusing at times, the unexpected twists provided new insights into characters and events in the movie. From a dark revelation about one of Newt’s beasts to the secret identity of one of the characters, the movie is sure to thrill any moviegoer.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a well crafted and entertaining movie for people of all ages, whether or not they have seen the Harry Potter movies. With dazzling special effects to interesting and memorable characters, it’s a blessing that four more movies are confirmed for the series over the next several years, with the next sequel set for a 2018 release.