Review by Steve Duffy –
The year is 1926, and magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob (Dan Fogler), a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
Fantastic Beasts is the first of a planned five-film prequel series. It is also not based on a novel, but inspired by a fictional textbook mentioned in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Eddie Redmayne is no Harry Potter, but you will love him just the same even if he is a bit shy and quirky.
The chemistry between the four heroes is magnificent. The underlying romance between Newt and ex-Auror Tina (Katherine Waterston) is not the best relationship of the film, the friendship between Newt and Jacob is.
Colin Farrell is great as Percival Graves, the wizarding world’s head Auror; however, his character is a little underestimated and underused.
The assorted CGI magical beasts are rich and glorious with some great digital details.
This extension of the Harry Potter franchise will bewitch audiences. You will want to pay close attention, there are many nods and winks that are linked back to the HP world.
Rating: PG-13 for some fantasy action violence
Runtime: 132 minutes.