Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: David Yates had a tricky proposition in front of him: introducing a new franchise within a well-known cinematic universe. He (and screenwriter J.K. Rowling) don’t avoid the usual pitfalls of origin stories: the exposition is heavy and the film is slow to start rolling. Nevertheless, he manages to balance the tone between the cute and the dark. The central characters are mostly lovable and well-played (Eddie Redmayne’s acting is a touch too calculated in its cuteness and awkwardness, but Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler have great chemistry). The film looks like a million dollars (more likely a hundred times over), particularly the production design and creature design. James Newton Howard’s musical score is very fine as well.