‘Fantastic Beasts’ reviews are in: What critics think of the ‘Harry Potter’ spinoff

They’re not fantastic, but they could be worse .
Image: Youtube

LOS ANGELES Magic is finicky, isn’t it?

According to all our modern wizarding lore, be it Harry Potter , Doctor Strange or otherwise, you have to nail the incantations, swirl your hands just right and land the flourish perfectly to stimulate the spell work.

Does Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them do the trick?

Ehhhhhh, yes and no.

The sight of the brutes themselves is indeed fantastic, as is the lavish ‘2 0s New York that director David Yates presents, according to the first wave of critics who published reviews Saturday night( many of whom appear to be Harry Potter experts standing in for their respective outlets’ regular reviewers ).

As to whether J.K. Rowling’s “prequelized” Fantastic characters and world-building live up to her zillion-selling novels and subsequent Warner Bros. blockbusters … that appears to be up to the rest of the new five-film franchise.

Because while this was an OK start, it’s no Harry Potter. Yet.

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Mashable will have its own review soon, but until then, here are some major topics we procured around the internet this weekend 😛 TAGEND

Many critics were underwhelmed

Jason Solomons , TheWrap 😛 TAGEND

What truly disillusions is that where Harry Potter and his films felt wholly original, theres a “franchise-y” feel to “Fantastic Beasts.” It has the now-predictable rhythm of a Marvel origins movie New York again get destroyed in a climactic barrage of special effects.

Chris Nashawaty , Entertainment Weekly 😛 TAGEND

So why does Fantastic Animals feel so curiously lifeless? Why doesn’t it cast more of a spell? First, there are the performances, which aside from Redmayne’s are astonishingly flat. And second, the thinness of the source material gives the whole film a somewhat padded feeling.

Joshua Yehl , IGN 😛 TAGEND

While the brutes are indeed fantastic, watching Newt and his new group of friends round them up just isn’t as entertaining or compelling as Harry, Ron and Hermione running around Hogwarts . … That the group never quite clicks together in the right way is a huge reason the rest of the movie doesnt find its footing.

Eddie Redmayne was fine as Newt Scamander, but we need to see more before we can judge

John DeFore , The Hollywood Reporter 😛 TAGEND

Eddie Redmayne makes an ideal Newt Scamander, who is endearingly sheepish around humen but gifted with the nifflers, bowtruckles, erumpents and so forth to whom the pic’s title refers.

Peter Bradshaw , The Guardian 😛 TAGEND

It’s a lovely performance from Eddie Redmayne who is a pretty fantastic brute himself. Theres a few moments when he has to “whisper” an errant animal into submission and his contortions would set Andy Serkis to shame.

J.K. Rowling did an OK chore on her first whole-cloth screenplay…

Chris Nashawaty , Entertainment Weekly 😛 TAGEND

Rowling, who also wrote the script, nimbly lays out her world, but that world isntt almost a rich as the world of Hogwarts. And the scoundrels( chief among them Colin Farrells Percival Graves) are stock cinematic baddies. Fantastic Animals is two-plus hours of meandering eye candy that feels numbingly inconsequential.

Matt Goldberg , Collider 😛 TAGEND

Rather than take us through another hero journey arc, Rowling wants to take her audience to a different epoch with timely conflicts. Director David Yates helps offer a cohesive vision, and Rowling brings us an endearing cast of characters that well want to follow on new adventures.

Peter Bradshaw , The Guardian 😛 TAGEND

It’s a very Rowling cosmo, dense with fun, but always taking its own jeopardy very seriously and effortlessly inducing you do the same. The Beasts movies may actually make clearer Rowling’s under-discussed debt to Roald Dahl. They also show that her universe with its exotic faunas is in the best style, a cousin to that of George Lucas.

Peter DeBruge , Variety 😛 TAGEND

Rowling, whose world-building skills are rivaled only by George Lucas, appears to be primarily concerned with plot at this phase, and Goldstein’s memories serve the narrative, while this two-plus-hour-plus pilot evidently doesn’t leave much room for the kind of character detail we’d all like to get about Scamander.

…And she took plenty of cues from the political landscape

John DeFore , The Hollywood Reporter 😛 TAGEND

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 the main rogue, Gellert Grindelwald, builds the kind of pestering appearance at the end that promises a long Voldemort-like narrative arc.

Matt Goldberg , Collider 😛 TAGEND

These kinds of topics acceptance, social divisions, and intolerance are as crucial to Rowlings wizarding world as wands, spells, and apparating. Thats what builds her tales special. She didnt just come up with a fun narrative where people with magical powers live among us. The social commentary has always been a part of her writing, and its in the foundation for Fantastic Beasts .

Peter DeBruge , Variety 😛 TAGEND

“Fantastic Beasts” does double-duty as yet another imagination-tickling fantasy escapade and a profoundly troubled commentary on tolerance, anxiety, and intolerance in the world today. … Though Rowling takes the opportunity to introduce a few tolerance-oriented messages, one cant assistance but question the limits of the allegory: In the real world, bigots dont have a real reason to abhor members of other races and religions, whereas wizards however much we love them pose a very real menace to normal people( grisly Obscurus assaults result in at least two demises, and the destruction of large swaths of New York ). Its the same logical flaw that operates in both the Avengers and X-Men franchises, and Rowling doesn’t have much to add yet.

So of course it’s very, very dark in spots…

Joshua Yehl , IGN 😛 TAGEND

Newt and company get into increasingly large amounts of trouble with the American magical authority known as the MACUSA while trying to round up the brutes, and all the while a much darker, more dreary plot unfolds

Peter DeBruge , Variety 😛 TAGEND

Just when you thought the world of Harry Potter couldn’t get any darker, along goes a bleak-as-soot spin-off that builds the earlier series look like kids’ stuff.

…But let’s face it it’s no Harry Potter . Yet

Matt Goldberg , Collider 😛 TAGEND

The one drawback is that it looks like, as of right now, Fantastic Beasts will be a franchise without a strong central protagonist like Harry Potter . Theres nothing especially incorrect with Newt, and Im delighted to see that he’s not a Harry-rehash. He’s kind of awkward and seems far more comfortable with his beasts than he does with other people.

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