I'll try to stay away from spoilers but no promises...so I'll throw the SPOILER ALERT in right here just in case. So I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the 6 o'clock showing in town. We are a small town so there were only about 12 folks in the theater even though it was the first showing. I liked it. My 21 year-old daughter got me into the movies when she was younger. I was still a little late to the party probably starting with the third movie. I quickly caught up and also read all the books. I am a fan of the Harry Potter movies and books so I've been waiting for this. Just watching the trailer you knew Beasts would be different. Even knowing that the first half our of the movie is tough because you find yourself yearning for a Harry Potter movie. This isn't Harry Potter. Once you get past that you'll enjoy the movie. Even so you'll always being comparing this one to the originals. So go in with the right attitude. The movies does a decent job setting up the wizard world in New York set some 70 years before Harry Potter. Looks like this will be the backdrop for what is to come in the sequels.
So the main character, Newt, shows up in New York with a suitcase full of Fantastic Beasts. Some escape and mayhem ensues. The local wizarding government already has their hands full with something that is wreaking havoc and is being witnessed by the nomaj's (word for muggles in the U.S.). So adding mystical animals into an already chaotic picture is not a good thing for our heroes. How they all merge is a little contrived but it is rare that movies of this ilk don't make you just have to go with it at some point. Newt and his new lady friend, her sister and an unsuspecting nomaj who is caught up in the hijinks are at the center of the story. In the end they are able to save the day and everything is great again for the most part. I thought many of the threads make the tone of the movie more adult'ish. Again this isn't Harry Potter.
The different beasts are good but to be honest they seemed to take up too much screen time for me. A lot of just following the main characters around as they chased animals as opposed to developing a story more. There is also a ton of interaction with the nomaj who must have their memory's wiped daily (sarcasm). I also would have liked a few more spells and wand action. All that said I liked the movie. I was definitely into it more at the end than at the beginning but I've explained why that was the case. Any Harry Potter fan has to see this movie just to see this other world that is so different from what we are used to. I think I have read there are like 5 sequels in the works. So watch the move and get ready for more. I can't wait to hear what others think so I'll be checking out the other reviews in the coming days.