Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them

Adventure,Family

A magical trip into J. K. Rowling’s imagination stars Eddie Redmayne Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

This is basically a Harry Potter prequel (though you’ll get a detention for saying that). J. K. Rowling, writing her first film script, and long-time Harry Potter director David Yates have created an entirely new corner of the wizarding world. They strike a savvy balance between shiny new elements and recognisable ones for Potterheads.

We’re not sure which is more adorable, Eddie Redmayne as eccentric magician Newt Scamander or the creatures he smuggles into the US in his battered and bottomless leather briefcase. Redmayne radiates a wet-eyed warm glow as stumbling, bashful Newt. He’s perfect for Rowling’s world, where a kind heart is the most potent magical power of all.

And, like a young David Attenborough with a wand, Newt is a bit of an eco-warrior, arriving in New York on a conservation mission to release into the wild a creature he’s rescued from captivity. The cutest of his beasties is the naughty Niffler, a cross between a platypus and a cuddly penguin, with its expressive snout and Gollum-like thing for gleaming trinkets. When the Niffler breaks loose and scampers around the city stealing treasures, Newt goes in search of it with his new gang – two wizarding sisters (Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol) and
Jacob (Dan Fogler), a Muggle – sorry, a “No Maj” – who’s possibly more loyal than Ron Weasley. On their trail is Colin Farrell as Percival Graves, the brooding boss of security at the American Ministry of Magic.

There are not quite enough thrills in Fantastic Beasts to keep you always on the edge of your seat, and no film-stealing baddie to dig your teeth into – but then Voldemort didn’t make a proper appearance until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Still, Farrell is in possession of some of the most menacing eyebrows in Hollywood, and we know that Johnny Depp is on his way as Dumbledore’s nemesis, Gellert Grindelwald. Plus, Redmayne’s lovely performance sets up the emotional core of the franchise. So, yes, the magic is still there.

The bottom line
A magical trip into J. K. Rowling’s imagination.

By Cath Clarke
Time Out Doha,

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

  • Duration: 133
  • Released: Thu, 10 Nov
  • Language: English
  • Director: David Yates
  • Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Gemma Chan, Ezra Miller

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