Sunday, November 20, 2016

MovieNotes: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (IMDB)
*ing: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell
Language: English
Director: David Yates
Genre: Fantasy

For a Harry Potter fan, any new material is always welcome. Even if it is a movie which is named after one of Harry's textbooks.

Basic Premise
A wizard lands in New York with a bag full of strange creatures who are accidentally set loose. He has to recapture them while at the same time try to maintain the fragile peace between the magical and non-magical communities and saving New York from complete annihilation.

The Highs
  • The Fantastic Beasts were a visual and cinematic delight especially the niffler. Only wish they had more airtime.
  • Overall visual effects in creating the magical world. However, they overdid the 3D stuff by continuously throwing stuff at the audience.
  • It is part of the Harry Potter world but yet a distinct spin-off, given that it is set much before Harry's time. Although the movie does reference a few characters and incidents from the main storyline. And yes it is all setting up for the major war referenced in the Potter series.
  • The surprise cameo at the end [Not revealing who]
The Not-so-Highs
  • There were too many things going on in the story at the same time. In fact, one could completely cut out the "fantastic beasts" and still get the same storyline. 
  • Unlike the Harry Potter series, the characters are not so memorable.
  • The wizarding world at confrontation with the no-majs (as muggles are referred in USA). This is more out of the X-men franchise rather than Rowling's world. [Aside - Why do Americans do everything so differently]
And the Others
Now that they have announced four more movies in this series, waiting to see how the story unfolds and the familiar characters come into play.

Rating - 7/10. Good visual effects combined with a confounding storyline. In all a spin-off which gives the feel of being just a cash-grab.

Previously on MovieNotes - Doctor Strange

Saturday, November 05, 2016

MovieNotes: Doctor Strange

Title: Doctor Strange (IMDB)
*ing: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams
Language: English
Director: Scott Derrickson
Genre: Comicbook Superhero

And the Marvel Cinematic Universe rolls on introducing a new lead character, adding new inter-connections in their increasingly complex world(s).

Basic Premise
Dr. Stephen Strange is a genius neuro-surgeon who suffers damages to his hands in a car accident. His search for a cure leads him to the Ancient One and discovers new powers in himself. But on this path of self-discovery needs to put in his powers to saving the world.

The Highs
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, playing Dr. Strange. There is no other actor who can play quirky geniuses like he does. 
  • The movie's focus on the fun element specially in its interactions between the major characters. Which is how a movie based on comics should be. After all, the real world is dark enough, we don't need our superheroes to be brooding all the time.
  • The special effects (needs to be seen in 3D), which reminded of Inception with scenes showing folding streets and buildings and entire city.
The Not-so-highs
  • A superhero movie needs a strong villain, which does not seem to be the case here. More than the viallin, it was the support cast who were the main antagonising forces amongst themselves. In fact, its a recurring issue acorss the Marvel films with only Loki being the one memorable antagonist.
  • The story could have been a bit more fleshed out and the run-time extended.
  • For a movie with a great part set in Kathmandu, there were no Nepali characters
And the Others
  • Time travel, space, universes, dimensions, space-time continuum, tapping your inner powers - thats too many heavy-duty concepts being touched upon in a single comicbook film.
  • When going for a Marvel movie, always wait till the end of credits. You get a teaser of the things to come. Also be alert for lots of Easter eggs and cross-references to past and upcoming movies.
  • Doctor Strange will return, so said the end-credits. (Eagerly waiting)
Rating - 8/10. Overall a fun watch.

Previously on MovieNotes - Sultan