Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

(I’m on holiday right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-2016Does anyone else think perfume adverts are more than a little ridiculous? Perhaps now 4DX screens are becoming a thing they have a place in the world, but has anyone really ever paid much attention to these ads? You’re probably actually wondering what the hell perfume has to do with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Well, at the cinema the other night, right before the featured trailers aired, an advert of sorts was played for what looked like a period drama movie or TV show starring Domhnall Gleeson (AKA General Hux, AKA my favourite grumpy space ginger). I got so excited I did a little dance in my seat, until I realised it was an advert for Burberry perfume. What. The. Frick?! NOT COOL Burberry, not cool. Although I might buy your aftershave for my husband now…damnit. It works.

Anyway! Harry Potter fans will be aware of the book on every Hogwarts first year’s required reading list, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Who’d have thought all these years later it would be adapted into not one, but 5 movies?! I wish I could go back and tell 12 year old me. This movie is the story of the author of said book, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who travels to New York in 1926 to release one of his beasts back into the wild where he/she belongs. Whilst there, several creatures (including the ever adorable Niffler) escape from Newt’s magical suitcase.

Newt gets himself into trouble for involving a no-maj (American muggle) called Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and then not wiping his memory, so gets himself caught by disgraced Auror Tina (Katherine Waterson). Amidst all this, a dark wizard called Gellert Grindelwald is on the loose, an anti-magic cult is throwing their weight around, and a rather dapper Colin Farrell is hunting down a talented young witch. Got it? I sure all hell don’t, there’s so much going on!

fantastic-beasts-2016-niffler

Let me first say though how wonderful it is to return to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The sheer excitement at hearing that familiar music with the Warner Brothers logo was enough to make me cry (for the second or third time that night, after so many Christmas adverts), and there are plenty of references for the hardcore fans to spot. Eddie Redmayne is the perfect choice for Newt, confident in his abilities and passionate in his subject, but terribly awkward at the same time. It’s the first time I’ve ever really loved him on screen.

The beasts themselves are indeed fantastic. The Niffler is the real show-stealer, but all the creatures we are shown either bring laughs or a feeling of awe. It’s a lot of CGI to have thrown around, but it works. Almost the entire supporting cast were new to me, but their characters were played so well and even ones that have a high risk of being annoying (I’m looking at you, Queenie) were actually incredibly likable.

Where this movie falls down is largely the messy plot. Considering this franchise is going to be dragged out into 5 movies, there was too much packed into the first installment. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I would have been happy for the entire first movie to be an introduction to Newt and Co, chasing down the beasts across New York. Save the dark wizard stuff for movie number 2! Who is the target audience, anyway? This was far too dark for young children, but the plot was far too obvious for the older fans. It’s a shame.

I’ll always be happy for more Harry Potter movies, but I’d have liked them to go down the Star Wars route with a collection of one-offs instead. Let’s have Fantastic Beasts, then how about a movie for Hagrid and how he got kicked out of Hogwarts? A Marauder’s movie would be amazing too! There are so many stories that could be expanded, without the need of dragging them out.

Advertisements

Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon

Originally posted at Drew’s Movie Reviews to kick off his blogathon. Go check out Drew’s blog now if you don’t follow him already!

You try saying that title after a few cups of eggnog! Does anyone actually drink eggnog? I’ve heard it in Christmas songs I’ve seen it in Christmas movies…but I’ve never actually had any! I guess there’s a first time for everything. Speaking of which, this is certainly not the first time I’ve taken part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon, but it IS the first time I’ve sent my post to him on time! For…any actual Blogathon he’s hosted, actually. I’m so sorry Drew!

It’s getting tougher each year to pick a topic for my post, but after last year when I defended Die Hard’s status as a Christmas movie my theme for this year has picked itself out. I’m going to list my Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas movies! You know, those movies you find yourself watching in October or November when the festive vibes are kicking in, but it’s not socially acceptable to be in the festive spirit yet!

christmas-in-july-die-hard

#5 Die Hard (1988)

Defending Die Hard’s Christmassy status is difficult enough, but last year Bruce Wilis himself declared that it wasn’t a Christmas movie. C’mon, man! When the winter months are filled with sickly sweet family movies, sometimes you need to see Bruce Willis kick some ass whilst still feeling festive.

christmas-in-july-bridget-jones-diary

#4 Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

I love a good rom com, and Bridget Jones’ Diary is up there with the best of the very best. Bridget is just so relatable, and the scene with her and Mark Darcy with his ugly Christmas jumper is brilliant!

christmas-in-july-harry-potter

#3 The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)

Christmas features very sporadically in all of the Harry Potter movies but for years now, the main UK TV channels feature them heavily in December, and so for that reason, it’s sort of become a tradition to watch them annually at that time of year.

christmas-in-july-shazam

#2 Shazam! (2019)

This year has actually brought a new movie to my annual Christmas watch list! (I’m going to have to START in July at this rate). Shazam! has it all, it’s a cool and funny superhero movie, it has some touching family moments…and it takes place at Christmas! Winner winner, turkey dinner.

christmas-in-july-just-friends

#1 Just Friends (2005)

I’m a huuuge Ryan Reynolds fan, and Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds at what I consider one of the best moments in his career. Embarrassingly, I could probably recite the entire movie to you, I’ve watched it that often!

Now, as part of Drew’s blogathon, he hosts a huge celebrity party (ever the hostess with the most-ess) and we’re allowed to bring any guest we choose. I seem to have worked my way through the entire male Star Wars cast…but I don’t think you need more than one guess as to who I’m bringing this year…

Keanu, we are going to have a most excellent time!

christmas-in-july-keanu-reeves