“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” brings the wizarding world of Harry Potter to America of the jazz age, decades before the adventures of the boy wizard. The story involves Newt Scamander, a sort of magical version of Frank Buck, the famous capturer of big game from around the same era, who studies and sometimes protects magic creatures, and an exciting visit he pays to New York. He is carrying a box that is much larger on the inside than on the outside, containing a menagerie of creatures great and small, sort of like Dr. Who’s Tardis. Because of a series of unfortunate events, some of the animals escape and chaos ensues.

The wizarding world of America of the 1920s is different than that of Great Britain of contemporary times.

American magic users live in fear of being maltreated by the “nomages” what Muggles are called in America. Laws against contact with non-magic users are harsh and, according to Newt, backwards. The community also lives under the threat of Grindelwald, the era’s version of Voldemort, who is brewing schemes of grabbing ultimate power.

The movie is replete with flapper witches, gangster elves, and a nebbish and lovable nomage named Jacob whose path crosses the wizards and has his life changed forever. References are made about Hogwarts and Dumbledore, then a teacher at the school.

It is safe to say that anyone who is a fan of the original Harry Potter series will love “Fantastic Beasts,” replete as it is with eye popping special effects, wry humor, and just a little bit of pathos. The atmosphere of New York of the 1920s is incredibly gray, with gray buildings, people dressed in gray suits, and just a general grayness of atmosphere, The only hints of color come from Newt, wearing a blue coat and bow tie and an understated bemusement of a fish out of water and the sweet Queenie, the sister of the disgraced auror Porpentine Goldstein, who finds herself altogether too fond of Jacob.

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The movie is, of course, the beginning of a series keep a look out toward the end for an appearance of a famous actor who has played, in his time, a pirate and a mad hatter, as the big bad of the Movies.