‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ in 200 words

An all-but-unconnected spin-off to a definitively closed story, based on an unsubstantiated character in a piece of light-hearted supporting literature. Nobody asked for this. Thank God JK Rowling wasn’t listening.

Set in 1926 in Rowling’s wizarding world, oddball wizard Newt Scamander arrives in New York with a suitcase full of magical creatures which inevitably escape to wreak havoc across the city. Allied with ex-auror Tina, her mind-reading sister Queenie and hapless muggle (or “No-Maj”) Jacob, Scamander’s mission to recover his creatures brings him face to face with the dark side of American wizardry.

The world of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is an immersive delight; intricate and inventive, with a Potter-esque core that creates an air of familiarity throughout. Scamander’s menagerie in particular has a wonderful aesthetic; ranging from adorable to awe-inspiring,

With his Charlie Chaplin shuffle and fumbling dialogue, Eddie Redmayne’s Scamander is a lovable and sympathetic lead, combining brilliant physical and verbal comedy with moments of heart-rending emotion.

The tonal inconsistencies are a little jarring, and the villain somewhat lacking in subtlety (although what Potter villain isn’t?), but ‘Fantastic Beasts’ confidently brushes aside any suggestion that the property is simply being milked for money. Rowling evidently has much more to give.

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