Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ★★½

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A somewhat fun but instantly forgettable film, Fantastic Beasts provides a few hours of solid entertainment but never once reaches the heights of even the lesser Harry Potter films.

The cast is pretty good all around but only Eddie Redmayne as the magical creature caretaker and Dan Fogler as the clueless Muggle leave any sort of impression. Colin Farrell is good but underused as the villain, while Katherine Waterson is serviceable.

The production and costume design are effective, recreating the 1920's in fine detail. There are some fun action sequences throughout, and the creativity of the world of the protagonist's suitcase is a standout scene.

Although well performed and directed, Fantastic Beasts doesn't do a whole lot new. There are almost no surprises here, even though there are supposed twists set up. The ending is a total cop out, fixing all the problems of the main characters with a frustratingly convenient solution.

The overreliance on CGI makes some of the creatures look distractingly unconvincing. One scene in a bar involves dozens of goblins, and it is a far cry from the impressive make-up effects of the first Harry Potter. Also, the "fantastic beasts" aren't as creative or interesting as I would've hoped.

Overall, Fantastic Beasts has some good characters and fun action but is one of the most average movies I've ever seen, and I expect more from the innovative mind of J.K. Rowling.

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