Belfast Telegraph

DVD release: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: Potter prequel simply magical

By Damon Smith

Zealots called the Second Salemers, led by Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) and her adopted son Credence (Ezra Miller), preach hell and damnation in 1920s New York, following a reign of terror perpetrated by dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

British magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in the Big Apple at the height of this paranoia, carrying an enchanted suitcase with hidden pocket-dimensions full of endangered critters.

Non-magical baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) accidentally picks up Newt’s luggage and releases otherworldly species in breach of the Statute of Secrecy.

Beasties go on the rampage and Newt attempts to recapture them aided by Jacob, a former Auror called Porpentina Goldstein and her mind-reading sister Queenie Meanwhile, Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), Director of Magical Security, becomes convinced that Newt’s illegally imported creatures are responsible for a brutal attack.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a visually sumptuous fantasy set several decades before the escapades of the boy wizard called Harry.

The first film penned by JK Rowling is a surprisingly bleak affair about tolerance, prejudice and integration.

Four stars

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