We survey our selection of reviewers to check out how the Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them, is being received.

The film tells the story of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) whilst in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. This is seventy years before Harry Potter reads his text book in school.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them theatrical release dates

  • Australia and New Zealand: November 17th 2016
  • US, Canada and UK: November 18th 2016

New York Post

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them review by Sara Stewart

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Best of luck to viewers both young and old trying to tie this all together; to me it mostly felt like expositional homework for upcoming Fantastic Beasts installations.

At its best, the film channels another Brit franchise, Doctor Who, with its philosophy of wanting to understand rather than annihilate mysterious creatures. And its CGI-heavy sequences are fairly delightful.

But overall, the film’s sluggish pacing and weirdly muted delivery — of nearly every character save Miller’s — made me long for a “wrap it up, already” spell.

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Rating: 2.5 Stars, converted from her rating of 2 stars out of 4 Full Review

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – Graves (Colin Farrell) and Credence (Ezra Miller) ©2015 Warner Bros

New York Times

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them review by Manohla Dargis

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Some of the behind-the-scenes gang are back, including the director David Yates, who has brought some of his old Potter crew with him and gives this new machine a steady, smooth hand.

This is the first of five projected Fantastic Beasts features — the book [that the story is based on] could pass for a product catalog for potential merch. One that Ms Rowling embellishes with comedic passages, glimmers of romance and parallel action scenes.

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Rating: 4.5 Stars, from our reading of his review Full Review

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) ©2015 Warner Bros

Los Angeles Times

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them review by Justin Chang

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The most significant talent the filmmakers tapped was Rowling herself, who, having already churned out a stage-bound sequel (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), now earns her first screenplay credit with this cinematic prequel.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them gestures in the direction of topical relevance, mistakes a lot of noisy digital spectacle for drama, and introduces a host of characters who are just engaging enough.

It both benefits and suffers from the relentless commercial logic that has, for the moment, placed a bit of a stranglehold on its own considerable magic.

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Rating: 2 Stars, from our reading of his review Full Review

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) ©2015 Warner Bros

The Guardian (UK)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them review by Peter Bradshaw

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Fantastic Beasts is a rich, baroque, intricately detailed entertainment with some breathtaking digital fabrications of prewar New York City.

It’s a very Rowling universe, dense with fun, but always taking its own jeopardy very seriously and effortlessly making you do the same.

Rowling and Yates have given us a terrifically good-natured, unpretentious and irresistibly buoyant film.

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Rating: 5 Stars Full Review

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – Graves (Colin Farrell) ©2015 Warner Bros

Toronto Sun

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them review by Bruce Kirkland

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The best segments in Fantastic Beasts involve Redmayne’s Scamander and his menagerie of beasts.

Throughout, [Director David] Yates and his collaborators present this as fantastic spectacle, because a wizarding world calls for nothing less. The digital special effects, and the film itself, only bog down during extended battle scenes when all heck breaks loose.

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Rating: 5 Stars, converted from his rating of 4 out of 4 StarsFull Review

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) ©2015 Warner Bros

Entertainment Weekly

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them review by Chris Nashawaty

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Why doesn’t it cast more of a spell?

Maybe this is all necessary table-setting that will lead to bigger payoffs in chapters 2 through 5. I hope so. Because for a movie stuffed with so many weird and wondrous creatures, there isn’t nearly enough magic.

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Rating: 3 Stars, converted from his rating of B- Full Review

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) ©2015 Warner Bros