15 March 7.30pm, Diss High School

Directed by David Yates, UK/USA, 2016, 133 mins

With Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Katherine Waterston

Harry Potter’s world is so quintessentially British, that reimagining wizardry in a New York setting requires a particularly audacious mind set. Fortunately, Director David Yates is no stranger to the Potterverse, and has been able to render J.K. Rowling’s witty screenplay with an enviable lightness of touch.

Somewhere along the line, Eddie Redmayne seems to have inherited Hugh Grant’s mantle of the diffident, gauche Brit, and has great fun playing the diffident Newt, while Katherine Waterston provides an unusually strong female presence for a Rowling narrative. The big stars of this movie, however, are the extraordinary menagerie of beasts. From Acromantulas to Yetis, Rowling has created a fantastical world with her usual loving attention to detail.

Fans will be alert to the many nods to Hogwarts but the movie works perfectly well as a standalone entertainment, in some ways benefiting from the freedom to go outside the confines of the franchise. Surprisingly, it also has some interesting, and timely, things to say about the persecution of minorities in a divided society. For the most part, however, it is simply great fun.

David Vass

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