Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I love the Harry Potter films a lot and I was glad that they finished that story and contained it by itself. That book series (and movie series) created a whole big magical world but only stayed in a small part of it. We mostly only saw the magical world of London which is a small fraction of our planet. After the books were written, we got a little information on how magical schooling is done in America but not much. Of all ways the Harry Potter world could be continued in film, I did not expect them to do a period film about the author of one of Harry’s textbooks. We follow a British wizard as he journeys through New York City in the thirties. This movie felt a lot more grounded than most of the Potter films. It is full of a similar sense of wonder but the world is different. There is no Voldemort and all the familiar characters who are alive are an ocean away. It is a fresh new story in a new world with similar rules. We also finally get to see a movie whose hero is not a fricking Gryffindor and is instead a Hufflepuff. It is interesting to see the Wizarding world in times past because it seems that it once was closer to the human world. Instead of robes, we see the wizards actually wearing real clothes which makes way more sense. This is a story about every life being precious, even when there is a constant threat of terrorism or war. It is an important message right now and always. I definitely recommend this movie and I look forward to the next movie in the series.
I never really read any Doctor Strange comics but I was definitely aware of the character. When I saw him, he was often assembling a makeshift team of heroes to battle some threat to the Marvel Universe. He was the resident magical expert in Marvel and he faced down unimaginable threats without batting an eye. I was excited when this movie was announced because I wanted to really get to know the character outside of a team-up story. I knew a bit of his origin story and it is a tale that confirms that sometimes good things can rise from tragedy. Every single Marvel Cinematic Universe movie has been great especially when working with a character who the average person on the street would say ‘who?’. They do a great job at making their properties into iconic characters who also feel real. The first choice they made in this film that showed they were on the right track was casting Benedict Cumberbatch. Over and over he has proven to be a great actor. Playing Stephen Strange requires a certain amount of confidence and arrogance that Cumberbatch is used to portraying. He can look pathetic and he can look powerful. The casting of Tilda Swinton is a little regrettable but not a mistake as she is great in her role. On top of that, we have the always excellent Chiwetel Ejiofor who I first encountered in Serenity and knew he would continue to be awesome. I also really liked Benedict Wong who plays the practical and serious Wong who I know was Strange’s assistant in the comics. I definitely recommend this and I am overjoyed that Marvel keeps churning out awesome movies.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
I first heard about this series when I saw the book in my mother’s car where it had been left by her granddaughter (technically my niece). I had heard that the book was good and from what I heard, Tim Burton was probably a good choice for adapting it. Burton failed at adapting Alice in Wonderland but magic in the modern world is something he has experience with. Burton is kind of hit or miss for me but I respect him a lot as a filmmaker. This movie was so refreshing as Tim Burton movies go. Burton purposely did not use a lot of the digital effects and plastered-on make up that have become a crutch for him in more recent years. He also did not use Danny Elfman as a composer. I love Elfman but the two definitely needed a break from each other. The source material is obviously good because the movie follows an interesting mystery without a lot of the pointless quirkiness. It feels like Tim Burton became stuck creatively at some point and this movie may be a sign that those juices are flowing correctly again. This movie definitely has charm and the characters are so likable and interesting. Eva Green is very commanding and Samuel L. Jackson is great as the conniving villain. Asa Butterfield is the audience’s proxy as the everyman who is curious about this new world. There is an underlying creepiness and otherworldliness that is fun for a Halloween enthusiast like me. The world building is a little shaky but I was willing to trust in it and it has paid off so far. I am interested to see if this series continues. I recommend this definitely.
Music of the Week:
BabyMetal w/ X Japan – Akatsuki
– It’s my birthday!
– This week’s theme is “Magic is Just Out of Sight”
– I really did not watch much this week
– I watched a little bit of The Office
– A smidgen of Arrested Development
– I watched a cute film called Dear Santa starring Amy Acker
– I also watched a weird movie called Georgia Rule
– The holidays were so busy and they are not even done yet