Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the next installment of the Harry Potter franchise. That might not be abundantly clear, but they don't make a huge effort to remind you either. The only things in the movie itself that ties it to the the original series is the name dropping of Hogwarts and Dumbledore. Other than that, this is one in a series of four more upcoming movies to be prequels to the main Harry Potter series.
As prequels to one of the most famous movie franchises of all time, it is nice to be back in the wizarding world. The magic of all things wizards is a nice return to form for the movie, but there are some major differences that give the movie a fresh take on how we get to experience that world. The first and obvious difference is that the movie takes place in New York City and not in Europe. This adds a dynamic, deeper than first recognizable, that really helps the film to be more enjoyable than it might have been. Since the movie revolves around the characters in a city and not a school, this allows for more opportunities of how wizards blend in with muggles, or in America they are called nomaj. This adds a completely new way of enjoying the movie since in the main Harry Potter series the characters usually only interacted with other wizards.
Another aspect of the movie that was increased by the location change, was partly due to the period change as well. The movie takes place in 1926, which means that the whole experience seems to be a little magical. Where the movie drops the ball a little comes from the main focus of the film and the actual inclusion of magic.
The majesty of the magic world permeates from the main character Newt Scamander and the creatures he brings. Other than those beautiful reminders of how great the wizarding world is, the magic usage leaves something to be desired. The magic in the main Harry Potter film series was somewhat colorful and in high usage, dropping off in the later films, and was enjoyable when used. The magic in this current edition into the series has very limited magic usage other than an abundant use of disapparitions. The magic is also all a light blue without much variation of it all. The main series of Harry Potter movies had a little bit more color to its magic usage, slowly becoming just flicks of the wrist which this new entry has adopted. It doesn't make those magic battle scenes more interesting, other context is what gives those scenes life.
The first 20 minutes of the movie is rocky and makes you question the veracity of the movie, but it does good on dispelling any worries you could have had with the movie. It makes you really care for the characters and the new wizarding world of New York in 1926. I became very fond of the new group of main characters and wanted to see them to return for the next four movies, but that may not be the case. How they ended the movie makes it seem like this is the last time we will see Newt and the group, bring the only question as to who would be up to the task of championing the new series.
For this question I have no answer, but I can tell you to see the movie in theaters. It definitely benefits from a large screen and even 3D if you can afford it, movie going is an expensive hobby.