Fans eager to return to the wizarding world are bound to be pleased, according to reviews, though any Muggles out there likely won't be as thrilled.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - this week's biggest movie release - takes place in 1929, 60 years before Harry Potter's adventures at Hogwarts.

The film follows magizoologist Newt Scamander, played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, as he arrives in New York to find it under attack from a dark force.

It reunites director David Yates, who helmed the last four Potter movies, with JK Rowling, who turns in her first screenplay.


Producers have cast a cloak of secrecy over the film to protect fans from spoilers, but with the movie out today, reviews are starting to creep out and reveal there might have been more reasons for keeping it under wraps.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: everything you need to know

Fantastic Beasts has been generally praised, earning a five-star review from The Guardian that described the blockbuster as "a terrifically good-natured, unpretentious and irresistibly buoyant film".

Digital Spy had praise for Rowling, saying that her "first go as screenwriter shows what a talent she is, and only increases anticipation for where she'll lead us next".

There have been glowing praises for the supporting cast. Dan Fogler's Jacob and Alison Sudol's Queenie have been universally picked out as highlights, with many critics lamenting how little Queenie appears.

Alison Sudol, seen at the London premiere for the movie, has earned praises for her role as Queenie. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Alison Sudol, seen at the London premiere for the movie, has earned praises for her role as Queenie. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

However, a number of mixed and unfavourable reviews show that Rowling hasn't quite worked her magic on everyone.

Time Magazine panned the prequel as "only dragon food, a product conceived to deliver more, more, more of something that audiences are hungry for".

Forbes similarly surmises that the plot isn't "as compelling as its world building and neither the action scenes nor the characters can compensate".

Main criticisms surround the amount of exposition needed to establish this new world, the lack of character development and that it doesn't yet feel as magical as the original franchise.

The film currently has an 89 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 72 per cent on Metacritic. The Harry Potter series has an 84 per cent and 73 per cent average on both sites respectively.

It is predicted that the movie will make US$200 million worldwide in its first weekend.

Beasts is out today in New Zealand, and is the first in a five movie series. The next instalment is due for release in November 2018, and will likely feature a younger take on Dumbledore.