Film review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (5 out of 5)

It's always interesting to be at the birth of a franchise.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

With some it’s questionable whether they should carry on, while others show glimpses of potential.

J.K. Rowling’s latest delving into the ‘Harry Potter’ universe, however, is excellent from the start and has enormous potential to be even better.

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There’s drama, comedy and that worrying darkness that Rowling can conjure up.

But now there are plenty of fantastic beasts (no surprise there, of course).

The story is set in the mid 1920s and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is in New York when he literally bumps into a No-Maj (American for Muggle) called Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler).

The result of this is that Newt’s suitcase of magical creatures gets opened, letting them out to surprise the public and leaving him with the tough task of rounding them all back up again.

Meanwhile, a mysterious beast has been causing havoc in the city centre and is being tracked by Graves (Colin Farrell), who works for the President of the Magical Congress of the USA.

It seems a simple enough plot but that’s like saying Harry Potter was about a young magician going the school.

There are sub-plots, references to characters we’ve heard of before and some strands that will obviously be expanded in future movies.

The special effects are top-class and director David Yates is well versed in this universe, having taken charge of four Potter films.

Redmayne is in splendid form and there’s quite a smattering of fellow British actors, such as Katherine Waterston and Samantha Morton.

But the main stars will probably be recognised as those fantastic beasts, such as the cute niffler, the superb demiguise and the memorable bowtruckle called Pickett.

And with four more films in the pipeline we’ll be meeting plenty more.

Film details: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (12A) 133mins

Director: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol