Over the past few weeks, David Yates' Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them has gone from a standalone spinoff from the Harry Potter universe to the launch pad for five movies that likely will build to a massive battle in the wizarding world. We know that they will center on Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, and that they will cast a young Albus Dumbledore... eventually. Right, but is the movie any good?! The reviews are out, and here's what critics are saying.
Our own Greg Wakeman reviewed Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them for us, and while he praised the work of Eddie Redmayne and the story of his escaped beasts, Greg found the set up for the next chapters of stories a little lacking. In his review, he writes:
There's just enough romance, whimsy, creativity and eye-catching visuals to enchant in Fantastic Beasts, but its flaws ultimately come close to ruining it all.
Outside of CinemaBlend, the mood is equally mixed. The Hollywood Reporter, in its review, says that Fantastic Beasts is "far from perfect but action-packed and splendid looking."
Much of the film's big wizarding-politics material will be appreciated mostly by those who thirst for ever more backstory in Rowling's universe. It will doubtless be useful as the franchise progresses, though. ... Whether or not the ensemble chemistry ever clicks to the extent it did for Harry, Hermione, and Ron, Rowling clearly has an endless supply of lore left to share with those invested in her world.
And Variety also believes that building to the future is the strength of this chapter. They write:
Unsurprisingly, "Fantastic Beasts" amplifies both the strengths and weaknesses of Rowling's storytelling approach, which unfolds in the episodic style of vintage serials --- a cliff-hanger-oriented tactic that works well in novels, where readers might otherwise be tempted to put the book down after each chapter, but feels less elegant on screen, since viewers invariably commit to taking in the entire story in one sitting. And yet, the writer has learned something from the Potter franchise, clearly going out of her way to establish a foundation that can be enriched and expanded upon in future films.
What about the die hard fans, though? MuggleNet posted its review, stating:
Visually, this film is stunning. David Yates' growth as a director is evident, since this film is so much more fluid than his works in the Potter series. The visual effects are magical, but grounded, making together film believable and organic. The beasts are indeed fantastic. The adorable and mischievous niffler leads Newt into some of the most hilarious moments of the film. The creatures in Newt's case are detailed and carefully created. Even though they are entirely CGI, not one looks out of place. They blend beautifully into the world that Rowling, Yates, and Heyman built.
Meanwhile, over on SnitchSeeker, they write:
The first Fantastic Beasts installment easily works well as a stand-alone movie, where one can argue that the movie's end is enough to satisfy fans. It also, however, manages the dual role of setting up a much bigger storyline. Newt and his friends have just begun the fight to bring both magical and non-magical communities together, all the while trying to protect magical creatures. It's a big task for an awkward, slightly misanthropic fish-out-of-water like Newt, but with the help of his new friends, he takes it in stride.
Finally, Uproxx calls Fantastic Beasts a worthy successor to the Harry Potter legacy, stating:
I enjoyed Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them quite a bit. And certainly much more than I thought I would. Working from a script by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, director David Yates (who directed the last four Harry Potter films) does a great job of telling a brand-new story, while somehow making it feel familiar. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them somehow feels both unique, yet very much set in the world of Harry Potter.
You can be the judge for yourself when David Yates' Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them opens in theaters on Thursday, November 17.