Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an entertaining film, which delivers a fair amount of spectacle. A visually engaging world is let down by poor pacing, however.
Newt Scamander travels to New York with a mysterious suitcase. After a mix up at a bank, Newt finds himself being tracked by New York’s secret community of witches and wizards…
Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them delves back into the world of the successful franchise, albeit with new characters and a different setting. J.K. Rowling also writes the screenplay for this film, based on her earlier book. David Yates, responsible for the later Harry Potter films, takes the helm again.
The narrative begins with suitable level of mystery. Although Newt is not a particularly engaging character, Rowling acknowledges this by giving him a gregarious sidekick in the form of Jacob. This double act injects sufficient comedy into proceedings, aided of course by some magical creatures. The first third of the film is engaging, despite one or two scenes that lack sparkle.
The middle third introduces a certain amount of tension, which works well alongside the fantasy activity. The final third of Fantastic Beasts, however, seems oddly bloated. The climax of the film does not carry the excitement necessary for a film of this genre. Furthermore, when the climactic scene is over, the film continues for a curious length. These loose ends could have been wrapped up much quicker, instead of losing any momentum with scenes that last too long.
The creatures in the film are wonderfully realised. Some of the CGI-effects, particularly in the real-world scenes, appear noticeably artificial. Performances in the film are decent, although it is the supporting actors such as Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, and Dan Fogler who impress. Eddie Redmayne does the awkward Englishman routine rather well.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fun film, that really is hindered only by a bloated final third. Harry Potter fans should be satisfied by this latest addition to the franchise.