Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a Harry Potter prequel and is based on a textbook J.K. Rowling wrote in 2001 under the pseudonym of fictitious author Newt Scamander. Scamander is an expert in — his words — magizoology, and arrives in New York City in 1929, having been on a world tour to check out fantastic beasts.
Some of his collection of beasts escape from his suitcase, and the poor guy has to round them up. Beasts running loose is illegal in New York, and puts him at odds with New York’s magic maker authorities. They’re distracted and trying to find someone who is terrorizing the city’s citizenry.
Eventually, Scamander and new friend Porpentinam, a Muggle, and Porpentina’s mind-reader sister, become embroiled in the mystery behind the city’s negative magical events.
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) stars as Scamander, and has fun as a distracted genius. He and his co-stars have a blast with Rowling’s screenplay. Though it looks pretty much like everything else that’s Harry Pottery, in spots, Fantastic Beasts is entertaining and — unlike the Harry Potter series — fun and funny.
Rowling pegged David Yates — who directed the last four Harry Potter films — to direct, and they’ve decided to make Scamander’s story into five films. Five? Seriously? The eight movies from the Harry Potter books kept us hanging for a decade. That leads one to wonder how many of you are all that interested in another long series of movies?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Dan Fogler, Ron Perlman, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Pasco and Queensgate 12s, and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.