Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Film Review

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I wasn’t a big Harry Potter nerd but I liked and enjoyed the films so was interested to see how Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would connect to that world. Like the franchise, it is entertaining and magical but it just lacked a certain something for me. I expect fans to loved it wholeheartedly but I thought it was just good.

This is a spin-off and a prequel and is set in 1920s New York. British magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives via boat with a mysterious suitcase full of magical creatures which accidentally gets mixed up with Jacob Kowalski’s (Dan Fogler) suitcase and the No Maj (US for muggle) unknowingly unleashes the beasts. Showing off magic in front of the regular public is forbidden so MACUSA (US version of Ministry of Magic) agent Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) gets on his case and reports him to the MACUSA President (Carmen Ejogo) and Director of Magical Security (Colin Farrell). If that wasn’t enough, a mysterious dark force is on the loose.

It was great being back in J.K. Rowling‘s wizarding world and bearing witness to the new creatures, words and inventions she has conjured up. It is a fascinating watch, it makes you smile being introduced to all the new things (especially the scene-stealing Niffler), the CGI is spot on and actually extraordinary in some points, and the setting, costume etc were gorgeous.

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Redmayne was good casting for Newt because he does have this quirky quality where you could fully believe he gets on with animals better than humans. Redmayne portrayed those elements well but I was distracted by him physically often because he walked weird, seemed to hold his face oddly and it just made me think he was doing his Stephen Hawking again. He also talked quite softly so I didn’t catch everything he said.

He is pitched as the star as he is one of the biggest names but it is all about the main four – which also includes Porpentina’s sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), who is adorable. She steals scenes as well as Fogler, he gets the most laughs as the regular Joe accidentally involved in the magical mess. I must also give a shout out to Ezra Miller who plays a small but vital role as Credence, whose mother (Samantha Morton) is a No-Maj fanatic against witches and wizards.

There were a few weak aspects which stopped me loving it. I didn’t warm to Porpentina at all and I found Waterston’s casting odd. There were pacing issues in a few places and it felt too long. It is 2 hours and 15 minutes and could have easily been 15-20 minutes less. There are honestly four moments when I thought it was the end but then it kept going. I expect Potter fans to love every minute though.

In cinemas tomorrow 

SEE ALSO: Pics and gossip from the film’s London premiere

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