Film Review – Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)

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Prepare to experience a fresh take on a more than familiar wizardry world many will be quite familiar with set some seventy odd years before spectacle wearing boy wonder Harry Potter arrived at Hogwarts.

New York during the roaring twenties becomes even more whimsical upon the arrival of Newt Scamander (Best Actor Oscar winner, Eddie Redmayne) bringing with him a bottomless suitcase of mystical contents.

Newt is a collector of curiosities, textbook author and charming wizard but don’t be fooled, his story is dark at times with fear unfolding around his presence after an array of creatures are unleashed from his regular looking clip top luggage port.

Stamping his authority early on, an excellent Colin Farrell stalks the city as Percival Graves, supernatural security chief searching for the loose beats causing havoc.

Prohibition-era New York is a tinder box already so the building conflict of magic folk and those who are unable to complete magic (Muggles) are complicating matters sustaining normality around town.

This marks the first screenplay written by much revered J.K Rowling herself., lovingly linking references to Potter saga for die hard fans while opening up new ideas for the next generation.

Warning for young children, there are scares, It’s bleak, however lighter moments including silly antics from Newt and his unlikely sidekick Jacob are genuinely funny.

Towering Katherine Waterson, breakout star of underrated Inherent Vice (2014) almost takes control again here as the aptly named Porpetina Goldstein who alongside sultry smokey eyes jazz starlet Alison Sudol as her sister Queenie, make an amazing duo who assist Newt in his quest regaining the evading beasts.

Fast paced enjoyment all round, production design is particularly eye popping recreating the era while Academy Award worthy costumes by Colleen Atwood (Edward Scissorhands, Into the Woods) dazzle the eye.

The single gripe for this above average fantasy adventure is lack of innovation during the showdown involving city destruction during the tiresome finale, fortunately a significant twist leading to the next instalment calmed my intentional eye rolling into a sigh of relief of wanting more.

Shane A.Bassett | Movie Analyst

Fantasy, Adventure | UK, 2016 | 12A | Warner Bros. | 18th November 2016 (UK) | Dir.David Yates |Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Alain Sudol, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Samantha Morton