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Film review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a fabulous follow-up

PUBLISHED: 10:39 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:48 26 November 2018

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald. Picture: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Jaap Buitendijk.

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald. Picture: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Jaap Buitendijk.

Warner Bros

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is currently showing at the Riverside Theatre in Woodbridge. Have you seen it yet? Read our review below.

Claudia Kim as Nagini and Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald.  Picture: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Jaap Buitendijk.Claudia Kim as Nagini and Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald. Picture: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Jaap Buitendijk.

Despite its spectacular effects, whimsical humour and Colin Farrell’s scene-stealing antagonist, the prequel to the Harry Potter films was lacking in the magic that powered those originals. While the latest instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series only partially recovers that spirit, it nevertheless remains a joyous sequel.

Taking place a year after the events of the first film, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes imprisonment and heads for Paris, thus starting a race against time as Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is enlisted by former teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to stop him before Grindelwald can put his destructive plan into action.

Director David Yates and screenwriter JK Rowling’s talent for world-building and action is remarkable, with the duo recreating a 1927 Paris that is as vibrant as its characters as well as constructing arresting set-pieces. Grindelwald’s rain-swept stagecoach escape is a highlight.

Their grip on the various different plot strands is less polished. With so many dense side-stories and new characters– including Newt’s older brother Theseus (Callum Turner) and his fiancée Leta (Zoë Kravitz) – at play here, it becomes difficult to follow who is after whom and why.

The performances however remain strong and ground much of the escalating madness. Redmayne is far more comfortable in Newt’s skin second time around, Law imbues Dumbledore with twinkly-eyed charisma and Depp’s silver-tongued villain is a commanding presence.

Rowling and Yates have fashioned a fabulous follow-up that is rich in style and character, and more ambitious and darker than the first,

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is showing at The Riverside Theatre until November 29, with showings at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm on Monday, November 26, 10.30am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm on Tuesday, November 27, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm on Wednesday, November 28, and 3pm on Thursday, November 29.

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