Curtains Up on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Harry Potter fans, starting lining up.

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Eddie Redmayne seems to be tailor made for the J.K Rowling universe.  In the new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he plays Newt Scamander, an magical animal specialist with a briefcase full of wonders who arrives in 1920’s New York just as a mysterious occurrence is terrifying the the non magical population (NoMag’s to the wizarding community) and sending the magical authorities up in arms.

Redmayne gives Scamander such a sweet disposition that it’s hard not to love the guy. He is about the best thing in this rather bland and ordinary film.   I don’t want to seem like a wet blanket since the public, I guess, can’t seem to get enough Harry Potter. I just feel like there isn’t enough to warrant a movie, let alone a franchise. There are sights and wonders throughout the film, too bad the story isn’t that special. It’s a rather simple mystery plot that has our hero Newt, a potential love interest Tina (Catherine Waterston) and a loveable sidekick (Dan Fogler, very good) tracking down some creatures that have escaped Newt’s briefcase all while getting involved in this plan hatched by a sneaky, power hungry villain (an oily Colin Farrell). Is it bad? Not at all? But original? Nope. It doesn’t have the scope of the last three Potter films and in my opinion, the longevity factor. Director David Yates returns again to the world he let go years ago (he directed the most Harry Potter films) and fits it like a glove. But I’m thinking a new voice is needed. Not putting down Yates but I’d like to see him expand his directorial reach

The very good cast aside, the film is a dream to look at. It is full of little details that make the world believable. Setting it in the roaring twenties was also a wise choice. The music, the costumes, and the sets are all perfect. I wish the had a perfect story to

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