J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" takes place 70 years before Harry Potter entered Hogwarts school. The first film in a series of five opens worldwide this week.
The story is set in 1926 and reveals a series of new characters with magical powers. Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, a "magizoologist" whose strange creatures escape from his leather case upon his arrival in New York.
"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" marks J. K. Rowling's debut as a scriptwriter. The film is the first of five feature-length movies centering on the Scamander character.
The British author had written a book with the same title in 2001, under the pseudonym Newt Scamander, which discusses the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe.
The movie was produced by Warner Bros. and directed by David Yates, who previously filmed the final four films in the "Harry Potter" series. Redmayne's co-stars are actors Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller.
Just like the Harry Potter stories, "Fantastic Beasts" shows the fight between good and evil, dealing with darker topics such as xenophobia and intolerance. "Rolling Stone" magazine even called it "the first anti-Trump blockbuster."
"If you have read the Potter books, you know this period threatened to become very dystopian. You were looking at the rise of a very dark force," said J. K. Rowling at a press conference ahead of the film's world premiere in New York on November 10.
The European premiere took place in London on Tuesday. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" opens in theaters worldwide on November 18.
eg/kbm (Reuters, AP)