Film critics entranced by Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

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Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them has received warm reviews from critics.

The film marks the screenwriting debut of JK Rowling herself and stars Eddie Redmayne as young wizard Newt Scamander.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)

Harry Potter film-maker David Yates has directed the spin-off movie.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gave the film five stars and called it an "early Christmas treat".

"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," he wrote.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)

He added: "It promises to be the first of a series and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Rowling already has every detail sorted out for the entire saga in architectural detail."

Variety's Peter Debruge wrote: "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."

Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)

He added: "Fantastic Beasts has clearly been designed for the most devoted of Rowling's fans, and though it may prove confusing to newcomers, the faithful will appreciate the fact the film never talks down to its audience."

The Independent's Geoffrey Macnab gave the film four stars.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston (Warner Bros)

"This is rousing filmmaking that combines astonishing special effects with plenty of humour and pathos. At times, the storytelling becomes very dark, verging on film noir, but even at its most foreboding, Fantastic Beasts never loses its charm or its winning whimsicality," he wrote.

Empire's Helen O'Hara gave the movie three stars.

She wrote: "Redmayne works hard as Newt who's as chronically bad with people as he is amiable and well-meaning ... but he's so disconnected and withdrawn that he barely shifts facial expression from friendly blankness for the first half hour, when we really need him to guide us around."

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)

She added: "The film has some structural problems. Rowling's varied beasts are fun, and brilliantly realised by the effects team, but they're ultimately a sideshow, and the numerous action sequences to capture each one can drag.

"The sight of Oscar winner Redmayne performing a mating dance for a giant hippo-monster will stay with you, but it's not what we need to see when there are truly dastardly dealings afoot across town."

Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)

The Daily Mail's Brian Viner gave the film four stars, writing: "The fantastical parallel universe created by J K Rowling never felt quite so in tune with our own as it does in this exhilarating Harry Potter spin-off.

"For all its wit and spectacle, the film, which marks Rowling's screenwriting debut, has plenty to say about racial prejudice, establishment stooges and the abuse of power."

And Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph, who also gave the film four stars, wrote: "Possibly by accident, but probably not, a film about a magical zookeeper has turned out to be the most unexpectedly relevant blockbuster of 2016."

Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)
Fantastic Beasts (Warner Bros)

He added: "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."

Fantastic Beasts is in cinemas from November 18