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Film Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release date: 18th November 2016

Director: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell

Runtime: 133 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the latest spin-off from the Harry Potter series. The script, penned by J. K. Rowling, follows magizoologist Newt Scamander on a trip to America. Trouble inevitably follows when some creatures escape from his suitcase. Meanwhile, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is causing disturbances in the wizarding world.

I was excited to dive back into Rowling’s world and wasn’t disappointed. Visually, it’s as stunning as Harry Potter. There is incredible detail and such imagination in all of the sets, making it an immersive experience you can just get lost in.

Other reviews I’ve seen have found Newt flat in comparison to his friends Tina, Queenie and Kowalski. However I found his character quietly charming. It makes a change for a main character and he’s certainly different from Harry. I loved his interactions with his creatures and the bond he clearly has with many of them. The aforementioned characters also all gelled well together. The acting was very good all round.

At first I was kind of wondering where the plot was going. There wasn’t anything to connect the various events going on in the film. But when things started to come together it made a lot more sense. It was quite unpredictable in many places. I was often surprised. There was a strange mix of humour and darkness. Newt and Kowalski’s escapades with the escaped creatures are very humorous, but there are also a lot of dark goings-on. There are also political undertones to the film as it looks at prejudices and restrictions (wizards and No-Maj/Muggles aren’t allowed to interact or marry), and child abuse.          

There are to be a total of five films in the franchise. At this point I’m really not sure why five films are necessary. I loved this first one, but how can they stretch this plot into five? It seems a little excessive. But I’m not exactly complaining. I’m happy for the magical journey to continue. So long as they don’t ruin it by stretching the plot too thin.

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