Bryan Singer

'Harry Potter' prequel 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' casts a faltering spell

'Harry Potter' prequel 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' casts a faltering spell

“Is anyone safe?” That troubling newspaper headline appears mere seconds into “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a movie about a world being steadily torn apart by panic, violence, xenophobia and political revolt — you know, a fantasy.

The setting of this rambunctious entertainment is New York City, 1926 — an ocean away from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and several decades before a boy named Harry Potter would forever change the course of magical history, to say nothing of bestseller lists and box-office records. 

Warner Bros., which transformed J.K. Rowling’s beloved seven-book series into a sterling...

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