Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
2016
**½
Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Perlman, Colin Farrell

In the 1920s, English magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York and misplaces a suitcase full of magical creatures just as a mysterious Obscurus terrorises the city. This fantasy prequel is a spin-off from the Harry Potter franchise (Newt was briefly mentioned in one of the books), and this is the first of five planned releases. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay herself, but she clearly should have left the job to a professional. There is plenty of worldbuilding and CGI magic, but no story, character development, or coherence. When Newt spends the first half trying to recover his fantastic beasts one by one, the pace feels even slower than it is. The movie does kick into gear in the second half, but there are ultimately very few surprises. The costumes won an Academy Award. Followed by Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.