'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' - Movie Review

The Harry Potter prequel (released after the original eight movies), set in New York City in 1926. Newt Scamander (a British wizard with a thing for magical beasts) shows up in NYC, causing havoc with the escape of a couple of his creatures. He crosses paths with a muggle, and we get the swapped-same-suitcase gag. And then the two of them end up with Tina Goldstein (a demoted Auror) and her Legilimens sister Queenie. But there's much more going on than just Newt's escaped beasts.

The movie creates a couple wonderful characters: Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, and Dan Fogler's Jacob Kowalski (the muggle). I really enjoyed them, and Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol were good as Tina and Queenie. But as usual, J. K. Rowling struggles with her own overly complex plot and ludicrously overblown denouement: she doesn't know any other way to write. And the magical beasts are boatloads of decent but not outstanding CG, which I found both mildly insulting and not terribly enchanting. Redmayne and Fogler made it surprisingly watchable, but it's brought low by its complexities and silliness.