Fantastic Beasts Review Roundup

So far, the critical reception is positive.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters this week, and the critics have delivered their verdicts ahead of its release.

The Harry Potter spinoff stars Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs), Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Ezra Miller (Justice League). It's helmed by Deathly Hallows director David Yates and written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

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Now Playing: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Comic-Con Trailer

We've collected a handful of review scores and editor opinions and compiled them below. For a wider view of the critical reception, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

  • Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Director: David Yates
  • Distributor: Warner Bros.
  • Release Date: November 16
  • Rating: PG-13
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GameSpot

"If you feared you'd seen the last of the Potterverse in 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, that isn’t the case. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them offers a strong beginning to the latest series in the world J.K. Rowling created. It’s a thrilling and entertaining adventure that also sets up future sequels." -- Tony Guerrero [full review]

The Guardian -- 5/5

"Rowling and Yates have given us a terrifically good-natured, unpretentious, and irresistibly buoyant film. There's a scene in a speakeasy where someone orders 'six shots of giggle-water.' This film felt to me like twelve." -- Peter Bradshaw [full review]

Indiewire -- B+

"While tender, artfully understated studio efforts such as David Lowery's Pete's Dragon suggest an alternate route to overpriced spectacles, Fantastic Beasts proves that scale is less of an issue than the level of care that goes into its creation. 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." -- Eric Kohn [full review]

Variety

"Though Rowling takes the opportunity to introduce a few tolerance-oriented messages, one can't help but question the limits of the allegory: In the real world, bigots don't have a real reason to hate members of other races and religions, whereas wizards--however much we love them--pose a very real threat to normal people (grisly Obscurus attacks result in at least two deaths and the destruction of large swaths of New York). It's the same logical flaw that operates in both the Avengers and X-Men franchises, and Rowling doesn't have much to add… yet. But considering that Queenie and Kowalski's romantic subplot is by far the film's most charming detail, there are clues that Rowling will have more to say on the subject of half-bloods--such as Harry Potter, born to mixed magic-and-Muggle parents--in the very near future." -- Peter Debruge [full review]

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Empire -- 3/5

"Rowling's varied beasts are fun, and brilliantly realised by the effects team, but they're ultimately a sideshow, and the numerous action sequences to capture each one can drag. The sight of Oscar winner Redmayne performing a mating dance for a giant hippo-monster will stay with you, but it's not what we need to see when there are truly dastardly dealings afoot across town. It's only in the last act, when Newt focuses on the real threats and discovers the mystery to solve, that the film soars, like Newt's glorious thunderbird Frank, into the heavens." -- Helen O'Hara [full review]

Screen Crush -- 6/10

"There's a lot to be admired about Fantastic Beasts; particularly the way it does its own thing without trying to replicate the Harry Potter films. The four main characters have a lot of potential, and with Yates behind the camera, there's plenty of the wizarding world for Rowling to explore. Still, I'm not entirely convinced that this franchise demands four more films. Hopefully Rowling can prove me wrong." -- Erin Whitney [full review]

GamesRadar+ -- 3/5

"And to think, people initially pondered how Harry's slim textbook, which Rowling actually published in 2001 under the pseudonym of Newt Scamander, could be stretched into one feature, let alone five. Turns out it's like Newt's suitcase--bewitched with an Extension Charm and promising extraordinary sights. This first instalment showcases just enough of them to make you sign up for the full expedition." -- Jamie Graham [full review]

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