American | 2016 | 132 minutes | Director: David Yates
Yay, it's another JK Rowling's book made into the big screen. This movie is a prequel to Harry Potter series, and is planned to consist of five movies (four more movies, be still my heart).
Set in New York's Roaring Twenties (1926, to be precise), the film tells about the adventure of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a magical beast enthusiast of British nationality, who initially plans to repatriate Thunderbird, one of the beasts he found to its natural habitat in Arizona, but ends up having to recapture other beasts escaping from his suitcase. He gets help from aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), and two spell-caster siblings Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).
The incident of escaping magical beasts could not take a much better timing during the tension between wizarding community and No-Maj (No-Magic, the American term for Muggle) due to evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald, and the anti Salem movement led by Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) is on the rise.
At first, the disgraced Auror Tina tries to turn Scamander in to Magical Congress of USA, or MACUSA for short, for violating the Statute of Secrecy. But a twist of events changes her mind and she takes both Scamander and Kowalski to spend the night at her place. Tina's sister, Queenie, who happens to be a Legilimens and loves baking, takes a liking on Kowalski and invites both gentlemen to a magical supper.
While Scamander and Kowalski work hand-in-hand to gather the escaping beasts (Erumphent, Niffler, Demiguise and Occamy), MACUSA's top Auror Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) approaches Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) to help him track Obscurus, a sort of magical force that is in the shape of a wizard child.
There are at least two strong themes found in Rowling's Harry Potter series: (1) unity in diversity, and (2) love wins. Such themes are also recurring in Fantastic Beasts, especially with Scamander and his spirit to protect the weak and the misunderstood.
Long-time Harry Potter fans will also find ties to the HP series through a photo of Leta Lestrange (Scamander's former love interest and a connection to the Lestrange family?) and Scamander's plan to write a book titled Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which will be one of Hogwarts students' reading materials.
I must say that the beasts steal the show from their human co-stars. Niffler is just too cute, but I also love Swooping Evil. I can't wait to see the next installment of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.