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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:

Now You See Me 2 Review (2016) | More Info on Lionel Shrike

A bit more glimpse into the life of Lionel Shrike. Now You See Me 2 is more or less capering around the surface of its prequel. So, that leaves its wounds open – the way things were in the previous installment. But it manages to work around it with its stunning theatrics, an elusive plot and a pinch of some rad magic to keep us riveted to our seats.

The thing that is worth noticing, and probably on which the entire story of Now You See Me franchise is based upon is none other than Lionel Shrike. Ring a bell? No? Well, we have got you covered.

WHO IS LIONEL SHRIKE? (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Lionel Shrike is like the Houdini of the franchise. So, you have got to place him at the top alongside Thadeus Braddley. The level of magic Lionel Shrike creates is gargantuan. To explain events shown in the movie, I will try to create a timeline of events so you know what happens when.

  • When Lionel Shrike was a kid he asks a man to sign a card as part of a trick. He then hides the card inside the hollow of a tree, letting the tree to grow around it. After 30 years, he asks the same man to sign another card, and then as part of his revelation cuts down the tree to reveal the card from 30 years ago. You can imagine how far he is willing to go for a magic trick.
  • Thaddeus Bradley and Lionel Shrike were actually friends, but nobody knows that since they acted like rivals.
  • Lionel Shrike attempts to do a lock safe stunt in the East River where the stunt goes wrong and he possibly drowns (he might be alive).
  • Before going in he offers his watch to his son (You are wondering who is son is? Brace yourself MAJOR SPOILER: Dylan Rhodes) The poor quality of the safe he was in warps its metal when it reaches the bottom, and the body is never recovered.
  • As the body and the safe wasn’t recovered Tressler Insurance denies paying insurance claim to Dylan’s mother.

That’s how it all began. Dylan swears vengeance to take revenge on both Thaddeus and Tressler and that forms the basis of the story we have been watching so far.

still of lionel shrike played by richard laing in now you see me 2

NEW INCLUSIONS IN NOW YOU SEE ME 2

Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry is absolutely thrilling, although he doesn’t get much to gnaw at. He still manages to make his character interesting. Makes a swell entry! Lizzy Caplan is an awesome find as Lula, a pleasant inclusion to the already stellar cast. Her jocular remarks will make you fall in love with her instantly. Also, she doesn’t make you miss Isla Fisher.

still of Lizzy Caplan as Lula in Now you see me 2 movie lionel shrike

The director’s shaky camera techniques don’t really work here, as he decimates action. If it were not for the plot and some cool magic tricks, it would have failed, nay, fell flat on its face in the muck of its own doing.

PLOT AND SUB-PLOTS:

Now You See Me 2 has side-plots, some fine to live with but some really vapid and in need of better framing. Two of the worst ones were the twin tale and the original girdle that bound the movie taut. Even though Woody Harrelson creates a charming façade as his twin, the side story doesn’t pack in a big punch. The Morgan Freeman story does, but it simply vexes you forcing you to chase the ‘tale’. It is as if Jon M. Chu serves you a revelation hotchpotch, and boom! they keep falling one after the other on you. It seems rather deliberate and pushed to match the lines of the first installment.

still of daniel radcliffe as Walter Mabry in Now You See Me 2 movie lionel shrike

At times the dialogues of Now You See Me 2 run into cheesy territory and you feel like laughing at serious moments, like when they team up (which by the way they have always acted as), and they go, “Who’s in?” and then others follow, “I am in”, “Me too”.

The side story of Dylan Rhodes, which Mark Ruffalo goes in full-blown acting mode along with Thaddeus Bradley, is a good one but the vendetta never takes place. The final revelation of Now You See Me 2 feels kind of empty even though it was colossal. Maybe it was in dire need of a proper depiction with a revelation theme or something. The way the movie begins, ends the same way opening you to the puns hidden in words which was well thought of. The voice of Morgan does justice to it as well. The Eye still stays as the rudimentary backdrop of the tale, and looks like we have something to look forward to in the long run.

The DVD of Now You See Me 2 movie is available here on Amazon. Order it today:

MAGIC TRICKS

The card trick to steal the stick is stark badass but unfortunately there is too much of it, and it makes you start thinking out loud. There is comparatively lesser magic and more of hypnotism in Now You See Me 2 which kind of defeats the purpose of magic. The best magical majestic bit is the one Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) performs with rain as he tries to play God. Absolutely stunning to watch!

You can check out the trailer of Now You See Me 2 here: