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Not bad overall, but ridiculously long (I was quite bored at times). A good 30 minutes could have been cut out with no harm done. Redmayne is good and I like the idea of the protagonist being quiet, shy and bumbling rather than the "chosen one" type of hero. The production design and effects are fun, but the filmmakers seem to have been sidetracked by their budget and spend an inordinate amount of time lingering over their lavish sets and state of the art CGI. Several scenes seem to exist solely to show off expensive digital effects and have little or nothing to do with the story.
Ironically the strongest moments are where they stop cooing over cute creatures and focus on the humans instead. The final 20 minutes works well in setting up the sequel and hinting at where some characters will go next.
solid return to the wizarding world
It’s a joy to be back in the wizarding world! The best thing about this film is the characters, specifically Newt, Jacob, and Queenie. The rest of the characters aren’t very good, but those three are enough to carry the film and make it fun. The beasts themselves are wonderful – the visual effects team did an outstanding job, and the beasts bring just the right mix of physical comedy and magic.
The parts that did not deal with the beasts and the main characters were much weaker, even though Colin Farrell as Graves was very compelling. There are myriad problems with the film, which I enumerate here: http://www.mugglenet.com/2016/12/7-biggest-problems-fantastic-beasts/
I think Newt is on the spectrum
A perfectly fine addition to the Harry Potter-verse. The best parts for me were the world-building aspects. I thought the 1920s American wizarding world was fun to explore; the titular beasts, not so much. Eddie Redmayne does his typical performance in bringing Newt Scamander to life, which was good, but I probably wouldn't be interested in a whole franchise starring his character.