Movie reviews: What critics are saying about 'Fantastic Beasts'
MANILA, Philippines – Fans of the Harry Potter universe from all over the world have been looking forward to the latest addition to the franchise's rich cinematic world: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In this movie, Newt Scamander's (Eddie Redmayne) has set his magical creatures loose in 1920s New York, where a whole new cast of characters, wizarding and not, are waiting to be introduced to moviegoers.
Written by JK Rowling herself, related to the original Harry Potter series (Newt wrote one of Harry's textbooks), and with 4 more movies lined up for the spin-off, this eagerly anticipated film will also indicate how much fans are willing to revisit the magical world – this time, without the Boy who Lived.
How did Fantastic Beasts fare with the critics? Read on!
Writing for EW, Chris Nashawaty gave Fantastic Beasts a B-, saying that while the special effects were great, the other aspects of the film weren't as spectacular.
"Why doesn’t it cast more of a spell? First, there are the performances, which aside from Redmayne’s are surprisingly flat. And second, the thinness of the source material gives the whole film a slightly padded feeling," writes Chris, adding that Rowling's new world and its villains weren't to his liking, either.
NME gave Fantastic Beasts 5 stars, praising the film's aesthetics and Redmayne's performance: "Like the film itself, Redmayne never flinches," writes Larry Bartleet.
Potter fans will also fall in love with the world Rowling has built, says Bartleet, enchanted by one of the characters' Legilimency and the discovery of Gigglewater, among many other details.
All this fun is balanced out by the film's heavier plot points – the wizarding government's strong dislike against No-Majs (American muggles) and a No-Maj group's witch-hunt, and Chief Auror Graves's (Colin Farrell) pursuit of Newt.
Fantastic Beasts gets another 5-star rating from The Guardian, which commended Redmayne's performance and Rowling's skill at crafting a detailed, enchanting new world.
"The Beasts movies may actually make clearer Rowling’s under-discussed debt to Roald Dahl," writes Peter Bradshaw, also saying that the series puts her on equal footing as George Lucas.
For Eric Kohn, writing for Indiwire, Fantastic Beasts merits a B+, with his highest praise going to the 1920s New York setting, singling out cinematographer Phillipe Rousselot and costume designer Colleen Atwood for their work.
Fantastic Beasts can stand on its own and apart from the previous Potter films, said Eric, but gives fans a better understanding of the original's history and politics.
"Fantastic Beasts delivers the most satisfying period fantasy since Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, but its layers of sophistication are what yield one of the best Hollywood blockbusters of the year," writes Kohn.
While Jason Solomons praised the film's plot and look as well, he wrote that those two elements contributed to some of the negatives about the film.
"While this does add a layer of allegory... it also means there’s a heck of a lot going on here," said Jason, who added that some characters weren't as fleshed-out as they could be.
Solomons also points out a "franchise-y" feel to the film, compared to the Potter films. Still, there's a lot to look forward to, and in the packed film, lots to take in for the moviegoer.
Will you be seeing Fantastic Beasts in theaters? The film opens in the Philippines November 17. – Rappler.com