The moment that every Potterhead has been waiting for is nearly here. JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will hit the cinemas on November 18. As excited as fans are to explore the depths of the world they grew up in (not this one, this one sucks; the Wizarding World), some seemed scared if the movie could live up to the hype or not. It’s quite a reasonably uneasy situation. We’ve had movies in the past that utterly shat on the entire franchise.
Thus far, the film has mixed reviews from critics with Americans being specifically critical about Fantastic Beasts while those in the UK have appreciated the film.
“That entertainment enchanter JK Rowling has come storming back to the world of magic in a shower of supernatural sparks and created a glorious fantasy-romance adventure,” says Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.
The plot of the film seems quite straightforward. Taking place in 1926, 70 years before the events of Harry Potter, a “magizoologist”, Newt Scamander, travels to New York with a briefcase full of mystical creatures that break loose in the city. However, the specificities of the plot are quite dark and some are even sceptical if Rowling will be able to carry the script for five films.
Another thing that worried people was that is the thing only meant for people who have watched and absolutely adore the Harry Potter series. However, The Hollywood Reporter states that the film is welcoming to both Potterheads and casual viewers. “This world invites us in as effectively as the best of the Potter episodes,” wrote John DeFore in THR.
“Just when you thought the world of Harry Potter couldn’t get any darker, along comes a bleak-as-soot spin-off that makes the earlier series look like kids’ stuff,” wrote Peter DeBruge in an article in Variety.
The Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin wrote, “Fantastic Beasts may take place in the build-up to the Great Depression, but its vision of an America caught in the jaws of fear and paranoia has the stony-grim ring of the here and now.
On the other hand, Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly deemed the film “oddly lifeless.” He added, “If it plans on replicating Potter’s success, its sequels will have to step it up.”
“Despite immaculate design and splashes of wonder, a touch of magic is missing in this Harry Potter prequel,” noted The Wrap while admitting that the film seemed “overstuffed”, a fact to which some other critics agreed.
In spite of its negatives, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them seems promising and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be on your ‘to-watch’ list.