We sorely lack the kind of unpretentious period comedy that seemed to get steamrolled by early 1970's cynicism. I found myself appreciating Fantastic Beasts for its sober idealism, and the surprising care towards the supporting players. As far as I'm concerned, Fogler is the real lead - he's the only character with an arc - and seeing the Potter world from his perspective lends it an unexpected freshness.
The film is drained of the Potter films' charm and wonder either as a result of the Redmayne's introverted somnambulist acting choices or the force fit of the wizarding world into Jazz Era New York City or a generally weak plot or a combination of all three. It's the supporting actors that keeps this thing afloat especially Fogler, Farrell, and Miller.
I think Harry Potter fans are expecting a copy but its not. Newt Scamander isn't a macho, nor is he 'the one'. He is a caring & empathic man, following his goal to learn about fantastic beasts instead of fearing them. He and his very sympathetic companions are part of a big adventure in NY, which is first handled by trying to understand the problem=beast instead of fighting it right away. I'm a fan of this hero type!
Mind you, to this day, my only contact with the Harry Potter stuff was watching the first movie and saying to my self (enough, I don't even wanna read the books). This is has some quality, and moments as good as the best Gaiman. Very good premise and very well executed. Who cares about the legacy of the Harry Potter stuff? This is good on its own.
Set in 1926, we scamper through the streets of New York with Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his wizard ING world of amazing creatures. We fall for his adorable pet Niffler who's addicted to scavenging jewellery and shiny treasures. The next one set in Paris will be the last for David Yates so let's see where that takes us back to State of Play and Sex Traffic.