Eddie Redmayne, New York City and a bunch of magical creatures? Seems like Fantastic Beasts had me at hello. The return to Rowling’s magical world has a sense of familiarity whilst at the same time introducing a whole host of new characters as well as occasionally referencing creatures and characters that Pottermore junkies will be very familiar with. I wont spoil what any of these are, as the little subtle references are some of the smile inducing moments here, along with the massive and tiny things that come out of Newt’s suitcase.
Along with Redmayne, the best performances come from the bewitching mind reader Alison Sudol and the sweet and funny baker played by Dan Fogler. The film is often a simple buddy movie with Fogler and Redmayne lighting up the screen as they chase the various lost creatures across the city. The cutest of these is the niffler who will steal your heart as quickly as it steals all the shiny things from the ban vault. I’m already eyeing up the Funko Pop of this little guy.
Whilst Fantastic Beasts moves at quite a pace throughout, reminding you of Mary Poppins one minute and Gremlins the next, the last half an hour seems to grind to something of a halt, there is not really a Big Bad to contend with, although Colin Farrell gives it his best shot and there is one hell of a destructive scene as New York is blown apart like a house of cards. That is not to say that Fantastic Beasts disappoints, it is just that you will have more fun on the journey with the wizard and the No-Maj rather than a big bang at the end. And with the opening weekend grosses and Rowling’s return to the typewriter, we all know that this is not the end anyway, right?