Life before H.P.

Let’s take a look at the #1 top grossing movie this past weekend and two opposing opinions.




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Plot: 1926 New York City. Newt Scamander, magizoologist (Eddie Redmayne), arrives for a quick stopover on a world tour. He brings with him a briefcase full of fantastic beasts, which is placed in the care of his soon-to-be sidekick, Jacob, a nonmaj (plebeian who can’t perform magic; an American muggle), played by Dan Folger. The creatures escape and the hunt is on. In case you don’t know, this is a prequel to the Harry Potter (HP) movies. JK Rowling wrote the screenplay–her first.

PS The zoologist is writing a book about the beasts–guess what it’s called? Look no further than the name of the movie.

PPS Four sequels (to this prequel) are planned.


Review by Joshua Yehl


Spoilers skimmable? Not at all.

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Bottom line: It’s dull. We’ve seen the special effects before-in the Harry Potter movies. The movie does shine, however, when the fantastic beasts are in the spotlight:

“Please, could we just spend our two hours in the briefcase with the beasts?”

Nonmaj Jacob walks through the movie with his eyes wide open, mouth agape in astonishment–he reacts that way after every single feat of magic, says Yehl, although you’d think he’d get used to it after a while.

The director’s fault:
Critic Yehl blames it on the director, David Yates, who actually has directed FOUR Harry Potter movies!

What went wrong:
“static shots [the camera stands still, so the scene doesn’t change], dead air [screen is blank] and obvious  use of green screens [people superimposed over a fake background].”

There will be a quiz on these and other movie terms after the holiday break.

On the other hand–

COS (Consequence of Sound)

Review by Allison Shoemaker

Spoilers skimmable? with care.

Bottom line: B+. It’s a good movie, the special effects are awesome, the directing fantastic. Full of “terrific shots…a delightful adventure…a terrific piece of visual storytelling.”

Adult analogies: Samantha Morten heads a muggle supremacy group; Colin Farrill is a Hitler in the making.

Makes too much sense in today’s world: Shoemaker notes that the fantastical beasts “escaped and must be recaptured, not because they’re a danger to humans, but because we’re a danger to them.”

Only problem: the ending is not so good, which is the director’s fault.

Oh, what to do–to see it or not to see it?

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