Spoiler-Free Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review Roundup: Is the Movie as Magical as Harry Potter?

Eddie Redmayne,Carmen Ejogo,Ezra Miller,Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,Fictional universe of Harry Potter,Colin

Long before Harry Potter, there was Newt Scamander. In Warner Bros.' Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in theaters Friday), Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt, a magizoologist who loses a briefcase full of magical creatures in New York City. The film, set in 1926, co-stars Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery, Colin Farrell as Percival Graves, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, Jon Voight as Henry Shaw, Sr. and Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is rated PG-13. Here is what critics are saying about the movie: • "Fantastic Beasts is basically a Harry Potter prequel (though you'll get a detention for saying that). J.K. Rowling, writing her first film script, and longtime Harry Potter director David Yates have created an entirely new corner of the wizarding world. They strike a savvy balance between shiny new elements and recognizable ones for Potterheads," Time Out London's Cathe Clarke writes. "There are not quite enough thrills in Fantastic Beasts to keep you always on the edge of your seat, and no film-stealing baddie to dig your teeth into—but then, Voldemort didn't make a proper appearance until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them • "Fantastic Beasts is a rich, baroque, intricately detailed entertainment with some breathtaking digital fabrications of prewar New York City," The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw writes, praising the film's "Steampunk 2.0" vibe. "It's a very Rowling universe, dense with fun, but always taking its own jeopardy very seriously and effortlessly making 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 fauna is in the...

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