Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has all the makings of a huge family blockbuster, but all the bloated traps of those, too. It hasn’t quite got the balance right.
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Fantastic Beasts is two-plus hours of meandering eye candy that feels numbingly inconsequential.
Fantastic Beasts is a good movie, and offers a fun and inventive return to Rowling’s wizarding world, but it could have been a better movie if didn’t waste so much time setting up a new franchise.
The “Potter” movies were so well conceived that they contain endless possibilities for more entries, and “Fantastic Beasts” takes the bait right on cue, not repeating a formula so much as enriching it with a spellbinding polish.
What Fantastic Beasts lacks in wonderment it almost makes up for in scares and subtext.
Invention and effects are the name of the game here, predictably, and this world invites us in as effectively as the best of the Potter episodes.... Somewhat less effective is the film's character-bonding agenda.
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.
Maintaining Yates as director lends a consistency to the project, and yet, it would have been refreshing to get a completely new take on Rowling’s world with this series, especially considering how murky and self-serious they got in the final chapters. Still, Yates knows this world as well as anyone, and he excels at finding visual solutions for challenging ideas.
The film is immaculately cast, and the chemistry between its four heroes holds your eye with its firework fizz.
Like the wizarding movies to which it’s connected, Fantastic Beasts is better the darker it gets, especially in a robust final reel where the film fully hits its stride.