Harry Potter spinoff movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them launches into theaters this coming weekend, and so far the reviews are...well, fantastic.
There are 24 advance reviews for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them already logged on Rotten Tomatoes, and not a single one of them is negative. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is 24 for 24, debuting with a 100% fresh rating on the review aggregating website.
Us Weekly critic Mara Reinstein praises Harry Potter creator JK Rowling for the depth Fantastic Beast’s screenplay, Rowling’s first, noting that it skews older than even some of the darker Harry Potter fare. “Rowling...has layered a sophisticated and surprisingly dark origin story that will appeal more to grownups than the younger set.”
Newsday critic Rafer Guzman calls Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them "sheer magic, a grand fantasy-adventure that already feels like an old family favorite.”
Eric Kohn of IndieWIRE praises Fantastic Beasts for evolving rather than imitating the Harry Potter movies. “The Potter movies were so well conceived that they contain endless possibilities for more entries, and Fantastic Beasts takes the bait right on cue, not repeating a formula so much as enriching it with a spellbinding polish.”
New York Daily News’ Joe Dziemianowicz says the film perfectly balances real humanity with fantasy: “Fancy phony special effects aren't enough to make a fantasy flick click. It also takes genuine heart to really cast a spell. J. K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — her debut as a screenwriter — packs enough of both for moviegoing muggles.”
Entertainment Weekly reviewer Chris Nashawaty praised the visual effects of Fantastic Beasts, comparing them, and the film’s plot, to a certain superhero franchise: “The film, directed by seasoned Potter pro David Yates, unspools like a kiddie version of the X-Men flicks. The xenophobic Muggle population (or No-Majs, as they’re called Stateside) live in rabid suspicion of the hidden world of hocus-pocus. And like those films, its phantasmagorical special effects are easy on the eyes.”
Time Out critic Cath Clarke says, “This entertaining first spin-off from the Harry Potter movies is both inventive and familiar – and Eddie Redmayne makes an endearing new wizarding lead”
TheWrap’s Jason Solomons is a bit more measured in his praise, but believes this film is good and that the sequels are likely to improve upon a solid base, saying Fantastic Beasts “has all the makings of a huge family blockbuster, but all the bloated traps of those, too. It hasn't quite got the balance right, but, like the title hints, surely knows where to find the magic formula over the ensuing movies.”
Similarly, Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore says Fantastic Beasts is, "Far from perfect, but action-packed and splendid-looking.”
Variety critic Peter Debruge notes that Harry Potter fans should feel right at home with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: “Fantastic Beasts has clearly been designed for the most devoted of Rowling's fans, and though it may prove confusing to newcomers, the faithful will appreciate the fact the film never talks down to its audience.”
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is directed by Harry Potter film veteran David Yates and is the screenwriting debut Harry Potter creator and author JK Rowling.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Colin Farrell, and Johnny Depp.
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens Nov. 18, 2016.