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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review (2016) | Recreates Magic

Years of missing J. K. Rowling’s genius on the big screen finally felt quenched with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie. It flickered in me those familiar goosebumps I used to get on witnessing the Warner Bros Pictures logo hit the big screen. It would sublime that renowned rad symphony that went Na-Na-Na-Na-Na in the backdrop.

Direction of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fewer directors could ace a prologue in such terse frames than David Yates himself. The beginning of the Fantastic Beasts movie is so laconic, and yet so colloquial that you can’t stop yourself from feeling mesmerized by his fleeting frames.

still of Tina and Newt in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie

Years of directing Harry Potter franchise has chafed off its shine on him. It becomes evident the moment Yates gets behind the lens. There is plenty of experience under his collar that he has garnered over time, and it has prepared him upfront to deliver some fine seamless finishing.

David Yates’s work speaks volume when you find him easing into the magical world without us realizing it. It is apparent with his overtly long and meandering walks alongside our protagonist that only stops when he successfully wraps up his scene. He is that kind of a genius that magically seems to get better with magic.

References and Comparisons (Spoilers Ahead)

Comparisons ensue when you place it against the likes of one of the best Hogwarts franchises of all times. In Fantastic Beasts movie, the frequent disappearing acts seem to happen effortlessly. There is more magic entailed here which acts as a great plus. What makes it further embellished? None other than the movie’s thrilling 3D effects. They are absolutely ravishing! David Yates makes sure there are plenty of them sandwiched at odd junctures to aggrandize the flick’s theatrics.

Fantastic Beasts franchise appears to be much darker than Harry Potter series if we take their first epicsode into consideration. But as far as storytelling pace is concerned, Potter franchise would beat it to pulp any day. There are references galore from the Potter world that don’t hold back from tingling your inner “pensieve”.

Calling Hogwarts Hogwash is a smart jest deliberately put to show what others think about the best school we know hitherto. That remark brings a smile to your face as it tries to wryly devalue our favourite fantastical school. Then at one point you hear the word Dumbledore and you can’t pay attention enough. The fact that Dumbledore supported and believed in Newt Scamander even though he was expelled helps you to accept him more easily. Then doors get opened with the only opening charm that we have ever come across: Alohomora. All of it takes you back in time.

Fantastic Beasts

Since the primal theme of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is revolving around amazing creatures, we find it as one the major driving plots. But J. K. Rowling loves to make connections, and everything connects so beautifully that the end result becomes really satisfying. You don’t really see the end coming from miles and it kind of flabbergasts you.

Out of all the amazing creatures that were unleashed in New York, Niffler is the most adorable of all. The creature was first referenced in Harry Potter series where an allusion of sorts was made when Lee Jordan  had released two of these fantastical creatures to trouble Dolores Umbridge. It is a cute little thief who has an inbred penchant for shiny things.  We see plenty of it to fall in love almost immediately.

still of niffler in fantastic beasts movie

Then there is a creature called Bowtruckle that has letting go issues. It looks like a stem cum mantis and stays most of the times hidden under Newt’s collar. Swooping Evil is one of the most badass creatures which assists our protagonists during desperate times.

Demiguise‘s power to grasp futuristic events has been beautifully portrayed. The concept of Occamy ‘s, the serpent’s, behaviour to occupy space is brilliantly thought of. Thunderbird is one of those titular fantastical beasts that reminds you of Buckbeak from the HP saga. However, this one has weather control under its aegis and is closely related to a phoenix.

You can pre-order Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them here:

Downsides

If we squint hard at its downsides, the first one would be the introduction chapter to the Beasts. It is almost abrupt, something that takes away the joy from a well written account. The need of the hour was the wonderment that it was supposed to tag along whilst launching each creature. We have been fed fantasy so much in the past that the way Yates introduces them ends up becoming a tad forgetful.

Do you remember how Buckbeak made a lasting impression, and is still remembered whenever you get a faintest reminder of its colossal import? To match that level of recognition David Yates should have resorted to some awe-inspiring calm.

Then there was this moment when Newt takes Kowalski into his suitcase. There in an attempt to introduce him to the astounding abode, he does some eye-popping magical shenanigans. It becomes almost overwhelming at one point. I overheard one of the fellow spectators complain:

“What is he trying to do?”

Primarily because Newt stays reticent most of the times and well quilted under his acting wraps. To play a nerdy character that asks him to stay shy, gnaws on his character’s capabilities.

The Pairing Up

The chemistry Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Kowalski (Dan Fogler) bring into the tale is akin magic. Their side-plot is amazingly portrayed as well. It almost takes the lead characters Newt and Tina out of the picture entirely. It is both a good thing and a bad thing for the story. Reason being it leaves you with a rare feeling of insouciance towards any budding relationship between the latter couple, taking away their supposedly thunder. Their lack of nerd chemistry “obliviates” you from seeing them go anywhere in the long run.

still of graves colin farrell in fantastic beasts movie

Colin Farrell does plenty of justice to the character of Graves. And then that remarkable acting in those final rad moments make for a resounding icing. Johnny Depp was an insane revelation as the badass villain we all wanted. But a lesser renowned face would have done Grindelwald justice I think. Let’s see how he fares in the future runs. Keeping fingers crossed on that one.

Music by James Newton Howard is extraordinary as well. Very soothing and aptly placed! Sways you like an Occamy to a tune of roach!

The Final Verdict

Overall, the Fantastic Beasts movie was beautifully packed in one magnificent capsule of delight. Can’t wait to find out where this brilliant prequel takes us. Most interested in how Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will connect dots and give more Easter eggs to make magical omelettes from.

Check out the trailer of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie here:

Alice Through the Looking Glass Review (2016)

Surprisingly good!

If Lewis Carroll would have been alive today he would have given a nod to Alice Through the Looking Glass. Of course not for the reason that they totally changed his book and messed with every single detail to weave something different altogether, but for the mere fact that it is brimming up with an equal fanciful inclination and zeal that Carroll shared.

THE CONCEPT OF TIME

Alice Through the Looking Glass personifies ‘Time’ which is both poetic and enigmatic as Alice embarks on a journey to bring Hatter back to life. Time’s depiction is downright extraordinary and aced superbly by Sacha Baron Cohen. The blue tinge in his eyes and his animated mechanical body help him lip a fantastic creation.

“Time is a thief, and a villain.”

There are a lot of time references that have been brilliantly thought of and executed nicely. Watch out for that bit when Time is made fun of by Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Thackery, Mallymkun and the rest. The movie packs in the concept of toying with timelines, which happens to be one of my favourite fancies. Unfortunately they fail to make it palpable.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS REVIVING CHARACTERS

You get to hear the voice of Alan Rickman as Absolem which was endearing per se as if he sprang up back from the dead. It was ephemeral but it makes you think of him which was really pleasant. Mia Wasikowska is as outstanding as she was in the prequel. So was Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth. Her rampaging confidence is a joy to watch. Also, Andrew Scott has a short cameo, that was actually quite satisfying.

Screenplay is kind of a beautiful literary affair, and will keep you interested throughout. Visually it is gripping. The plot oscillates a little betwixt the real and the virtual but finds a firm grip in both the worlds. Well thought of, I must say. It isn’t really that dark and grim as Tim Burton’s style of movie-making is. But it is still fun.

CURIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD:

The thing that seemed a little out of place in Alice Through the Looking Glass was the huge plot punch on which the whole movie was based upon. If you look at it closely you wonder Alice goes to all that trouble just to make Hatter, who is already mad, happy? Is that it? To answer that you must think from Alice’s perspective. It is this whimsical world she tries to fit in, and petty things that entail in it that matter to her the most. If one was to weave a story out of her life, it would always surround tales with such quaint things, things that matter to Alice, if not to you. Well, if you can’t digest that, a simple – “Hatter was going to die with gloom” should do it.

OTHER DOWNSIDES

Alice Through the Looking Glass isn’t really that serious when trying to skip alongside the time component that it so profusely tries to milk. It will flabbergast you beyond limit, vex you if you try to connect the dots, and elude you as you try to reason with it. At the end of the flick you realize it’s Disney after all. What do you expect?

Eventually, you wonder if Alice Through the Looking Glass even came close to how Lewis had intended his book to be, but to be honest there are more creative juices at play in today’s fantasy scenario. The world is constantly growing. We improvise, don’t we?

Black Mass Review (2015)

Black Mass has Depp written all over it.

Depp does it again! His Whitey Bulger looks so terrifying it gives you the chills. He is a viper that takes everyone down with him. That’s the bottom-line! The crux of the biopic! James Whitey Bulger, the most notorious criminal was doomed, and he took everyone close to him, with him, to hell.

Scott Cooper makes Whitey Bulger an unpredictable psychopathic albino criminal to make him look not only badass but extremely dreadful too. Johnny Depp ensures he nails the character in Cooper’s head to perfection. Scott does change a lot of facts and messes with reality to emphasize on his character. In doing so he misses out on a lot of crucial factors to wrap a biopic.

At no point are we introduced to Angiulo or his involvements. What is quite surprising is the fact that Cooper chose to manifest dispensable characters like FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrickand Lindsey Cyr instead. The editing of the movie isn’t that great. You see a lot of characters in the biopic who are built quickly from scratch, but unfortunately are not handed enough. Cameos basically suppressed under Bulger noise!

Who we must not forget in this rad Bulger tale, is the contribution of John Connolly played by Joel Edgerton. He is always there. The backbone of Jimmy’s rise. The FBI behind every crime. He saves his ass literally all the time, and fights with Charles Mcguire (Kevin Bacon) and convinces John Morris (David Harbour) into helping him.

There are frightening bits in the movie where Depp turns Jimmy off and then on just like that, characterizing his psychotic and unpredictable nature.

The movie doesn’t cash on its screenplay, and is entirely dependent on Jimmy Bulger and things that surround him. The score of the movie is great, as violin breaks the silence with its brilliant depth. Sometimes absent, the music is only played at the right areas for emphasis.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

So Cooper’s Bulger isn’t exactly smart. He is sleazy and basically rolls on favours of people close to him. The fact that he works under the aegis of John Connolly and Billy Burger, where John is ever ready to save Jimmy’s ass is what gives wings and balls to Bulger. The movie doesn’t highlight all his murders but depicts two or three. Others are shown being committed by his accomplices.

A lot of fact changing actually steers the movie from a biopic to a fiction. It appears stale if compared to other great crime stories. The introduction and conclusion of Brian Halloran to the story was too distasteful. At one point you almost think, Jimmy has a plan when he asks Brian to take the bag of cash and leave. But then it was just plain talk! It was hard to imagine the character, who you were hoping doesn’t do normal, to do the ‘simplest of things’.

If we don’t look at all the minute details and enjoy the movie with a popcorn, we can see Depp’s brilliant acting, Joel Edgerton’s persistence and loyalty, Benedict’s style and a great criminal story that reeks of perversion the moment it enters the police line.
Overall the movie was good. If there was someone who was ensuring that, without much in their baggage, it was Depp and Edgerton all along.

Cinderella Review (2015)

What a beautiful and enchanting movie!

Haven’t we all grown up hearing this gorgeous alluring fairy tale of Cinderella? So much that we know it by heart. Even today if someone rushes in promising to narrate the tale in his own words, we are still willing to fill up the screen with impatient eyes. Kenneth does no different. He takes this fascinating story of a poor creature and lets it thrive on its own narration. All he does is add a flower hither and thither to elevate the grandeur of an already great tale, and he doesn’t lag behind in imparting pizzazz.

Just like any brilliant Diegesis, Cinderella runs with a narrative. The voice over is well complemented by an apt drama wore superbly by great actors like Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Stellan Skarsgard. Lily James does justice to Cinderella but at times I did feel like something amiss, probably a much needed intensity to her character. Little bit of humour keeps the story upbeat. Helena does a Depp here as the Fairy Godmother. The clichéd bit she pounds on becomes abrupt for a while, and it seemed for a moment thereon the movie was headed towards a disaster, but boy does everything hold up nice! We don’t return to magic again and it becomes perfectly digestible after that.

What I really liked about Kenneth’s direction was that he didn’t take away the magic bit and let it breathe like a fairy tale. If you throw in some rationality into the filmmaking equation, the flick wouldn’t be what it set out to become in the first place. There are moral values strewn all across the movie like Gus Gus giving up on his favorite thing, a thing about kindness and courage, and despite every cruelty shown eventually Ella forgiving her stepmother. It all just seems so morally right and meaningful.

There is nothing dark here though. Just a great movie for kids, teenagers, people who want to watch a nice pleasant film for a change and of course for those who love happy endings. Brannagh’s love for the classics is worth praising. Just wish him all the best for his future endeavours. On a GOT note, Robb Stark looks alive and really dashing 😉

Disney plays Frozen Fever before the movie and it was downright adorable. Watch out for those Snowgies! We have yet another bunch of Olaf minions in the making. Oooh I am so excited!