It’s the 1920s, before Hogwarts went comprehensive, and English wizard and exotic animal conservationist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York by ship (US-UK magical transportation must be incompatible – maybe they apparate on the right or something). Newt is in search of a rare creature to add to his menagerie, which he’s brought with him: he can’t leave these sorts of beasts with a cat-sitter.
Then some of his animals escape and his world collides with Muggle baker Jacob, bringing Newt to the attention of Tina, an agent with the Magical Congress – charged with keeping American wizardry out of the public eye during a new era of witch-hunting. But with a new supervillain at large, Newt’s creatures are the least of her problems…
Eddie Redmayne initially looks like he’s forgotten his glasses and wandered onto the wrong film set, but is trying to make the best of it. Otherwise, there aren’t too many stand-out characters in this more adult-skewed Harry Potter prequel, but the magical invention and zippy plotting are what you’d expect from J K Rowling, who wrote the script. 8/10
On general release.