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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (IMAX in some cinemas)


Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Carmen Ejogo, Claudia Kim, Callum Turner, Kevin Guthrie

Director: David Yates

J K Rowling's Magical Movie Money Machine springs into action with the second prequel to the Harry Potter stories.

Here, modestly claiming only two screen credits - for screenplay and 'based on characters' created by her, Rowling carries on the special effects-laden magical adventures of wizard Newt Salamander - played with commendable gusto and a straight face by Redmayne - who is needed when Depp's bizarrely-bleached- featured Dark Wizard Grindelwald escapes from imprisonment (just as inevitably as Michael Myers in Halloween) and sets about gathering followers to join him in raising merry hell, most of them unsuspecting of his true agenda - to raise pure-blood wizards to rule over the world's luckless non-non-magical beings.

Fortunately for such beings (and ensuring the threatened sequels to Rowling's Wizarding World), Newt's former Hogwarts' headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Law) persuades Newt to sort out Depp and save Mankind.

Cue a tidal wave of Oscar-worthy special effects that create everything from bizarre monsters to strange skies and worse, and which, impressively when it happens, make each of Depp's eyes a different colour (except, unfortunately, in some long shots where they either forgot or couldn't be bothered).

Director Yates, armed with brave if largely anonymous cast, a patently massive budget and magnificent movie magic, delivers a feast of merry monsters, weird and wonderful settings and enough magical action to ensure lovers of spectacle and fans of Rowling's 'otherworld' imagination will have a ball.

To give the highest praise, forget the overheated narrative and admire the stunning visuals, and then you can decide - especially when the action (too briefly) shifts to Harry Potter's old school - whether much of this undoubted visual treat adds up to Hogwarts or hogwash.

Alan Frank

UK/USA 2018. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
133 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Nov 2018