FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM
The best thing about Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is that, as part one of screenwriter J.K. Rowling’s planned five-part movie series, it’ll likely be at least a half-dozen years before Hollywood begins rebooting the Harry Potter franchise. (And don’t give me that look; you know it’s gonna happen.)
But the second-best thing is that because this new tale of wizards and Muggles – called No-Majes here – isn’t based on a Rowling novel, instead taking its inspiration from the author’s 2001 tie-in “textbook,” director David Yates’ adventure doesn’t feel slavishly beholden to its source material the way the Harry Potters so often did. Both Rowling devotees and those of us who’ve never read her prose get to be surprised by the goings-on together, kind of like how George R.R. Martin fans and the Martin-ignorant alike could bond over this latest season of Game of Thrones. I just wish the surprises here were a bit more ... surprising. It’s not a Harry Potter, but in look and tone and narrative scheme, it’s exactly like one of Yates’ Harry Potters (he directed the final four of them), and so even if you’re enjoying yourself, the whole experience can feel a bit like yesterday’s news.