Sunday, November 20, 2016
A WORLD DIVIDED FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEMBy Tinsel & Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay
The Hamilton cast vs Trump/Pence controversy is interesting, isn't it? I'm in total agreement with the Broadway Musical, both in that they felt it was within their "brand" so to speak, to address Vice President elect Pence on the issues of multi-culturalism, which could be at stake during the upcoming Administration; and that they waited until after the show had completely ended, including curtain calls, to make the statement, showing concern for the proper handling of such an unprecedented act.
Later, I started gathering my research for this Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them post and was struck by the similarities between this mystical, fantasy world of J.K. Rowling's and the world we have entered into with the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency. In Fantastic Beasts, the Wizarding World stands for progression and open ended possibilities. The No-Maj (regular humans) World stands for fear and oppression. Although, the Wizarding World is also found to have overzealous rules for their own, when it comes to their opinions on the mishandling of magic and their mistrust of No-Majs. So too we'll have to be careful in our fight to protect inclusiveness and racial tolerance, that we don't step over into militancy, and remember, the inclusiveness we cherish must also include people who hold views with which we don't necessarily agree.
T&T Quick Fantastic Beasts Synopsis: Directed by David Yates, and a first time screenplay by Rowling herself, the movie begins with Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) coming to the shores of America from England in 1926 New York City. He's got a briefcase full of magical creatures and a mission to restore one such creature to the wilds of Arizona where the creature supposedly originated. First though, he wishes to procure another creature only bred in NYC. In a series of mishaps, a few of the magical beasts escape their portable home, including a thieving platypus of sorts with a penchant for shiny items; and I love the thing that goes shopping in Macy's - picking up odds and ends like a housewife with time on her hands. In Newt's attempts to recapture his illegal "pets", he comes in contact with Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) a No-Maj with an irresistible spirit and sense of comic timing. A disgraced magic authority agent Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) trying to regain her reputation. And her Marilyn Monroe-like sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). The 4 make for a delightfully magical and romantic pairing.
Interview with Eddie Redmayne: That intense one-on-one with J.K. Rowling was not the only research Eddie did for the part. Director David Yates gave Eddie time to train in whatever way he thought he needed, so he spent a lot of time with animals and in nature, trying to get into Newt’s head. ‘One of the main routes in for me was finding the way Newt moves,’ Eddie says. ‘I went on a tracking course for a day, and this guy showed me how to live in the wild. I learned some amazing things, like how you see through peripheral vision and the different types of plants that can be used as remedies, with spit in your hands... READ MORE Pottermore.com
Criticism for Eddie Redmayne - I'm not against Rowling's decision to catapult a mild-mannered, shy, polite man as her main character especially in the face of paranoia and fear mongering, but the guy has to at least be interesting. There is not one interesting thing about this character outside of his briefcase full of magical creatures. He is void of character, a blank slate that isn't any more filled in by the conclusion. READ MORE Nate Zoebl NathanZoebel.com
Praise for Eddie Redmayne - "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is supremely fantastic! One has to wonder how J. K. Rowling comes up with all of this stuff, but it appears her imagination is limitless. And choosing Eddie Redmayne to play Newt Scamander is a stroke of genius. He is so completely endearing and quietly effective...READ MORE Jeanne Kaplan KaplanvsKaplan.com
Interview Costume Designer Colleen Atwood: I love the fantasy stuff, I love that,’ she says. ‘That’s why I took on this movie. I like the challenge of it, and I like integrating fantasy into a period like this. You get to step out of it slightly and make something that’s a version of that time. Which is what movies have always done: in a way, they glamorise time... READ MORE Pottermore.com
Criticism Overall - The film never has those great character moments that made the Potter films so good. To make matters worse, there is a severe lack of forward momentum in the story, taking almost a full hour for us to get to the main plot. The hour it takes to get there is filled with lots of world building rather than taking the time to develop the characters or get into the meat of the story.
Yet, even when it picks up momentum, Fantastic Beasts suffers from a huge identity crisis. Ultimately, it feels as if there are two different films in here: a lighthearted film about capturing lost creatures, and a darker one (similar in tone to the last few Potter films) about a potential war between wizards and muggles. Sadly, the film never fully commits to developing either of these tones...READ MORE Joey Traverso Rotten Tomatoes Super Reviewer
Praise Overall - Fantastic Beasts is forlorn and captivating, a rare blending of cheery, witty entertainment with a troubled worldview... It’s funny that a movie that’s ostensibly about a bunch of goofy magical animals would feel more grown-up than its epic, high-stakes predecessors, but it does—and not just because there are only a few children in the movie. From the outset, Fantastic Beasts gives itself heavy themes to contend with, and while it still operates as a fantasy yarn...The generation that grew up on Harry Potter has come of age, and in these dire times may be equipped, and ready, to grapple with more difficult topics... READ MORE Richard Lawson Vanity Fair
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score:4 outta 5
click to COMMENT
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog