<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by David Yates. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight
Running Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
I’m not a Harry Potter fan at all so I don’t really care that this film is a prequel to those films. Just seems like everyone’s out to milk a good franchise nowadays.
Oh so much CGI that it can be fantastically distracting and overwhelmingly hollow. What the film is trying to achieve I have no idea. Sure I get that Eddie Redmayne’s character – Newt Scamander – is a wizard who was banished from his school of sorcerers for wanting to protect the ‘dangerous’ beasts he hides in his suitcase. And then he must go looking for them after they escape. But none of the creatures save for a jewel thief platypus is remotely interesting, let alone fantastic.
There’s lots of attempts at intrigue and mystery but I sort of lost interest after a while. Redmayne’s portrayal of Newt as the awkward and shy, wide-eyed Mr Goody-Two-Shoes gets annoyingly saccharine after a point. The only saving grace of the film is Dan Fogler as the Muggle Jacob Kowalski, who ends up becoming a faithful sidekick, comic relief and the film’s human centre. Something you have to cling to since most of the movie is about CGI.
If you’re an avid reader of the books and you want to know about the background of the Harry Potter universe – probably thought of only after the actual series to make more money – then maybe you’ll enjoy it. But if not, it’s pretty much a waste of time.