Friday, November 25, 2016

I ain't got the brains to make this up.

I was definitely late to the party the first time. Very late.

I wasn't even sure what the Hell the big deal was, honestly. A series of beloved books being turned into an epic film anthology? Uh, I'll take the one with Samwise Gamgee, thank you very much. Who needs a bunch of wee British wankers wankering about with wands and brooms, when the fate of Middle Earth was in the balance? Dumbledore's a fine gent, sure, but he ain't got shit on Gandalf,

But this new party? The one firmly out of the shadow of Mordor? I refused to be late. Hell, I might have even got there early.

Maybe too early, in fact.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a film that many people were counting the days till its release, but one I was counting the minutes till its conclusion. Impossibly long and unnecessarily dull, J.K. Rowling's latest entry in her Wizarding World is (hopefully) the Phantom Menace of a new series of epic adventures: brimming with lame exposition that will ultimately pay off years from now.

Instead of the Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter constantly brooding through his time at Hogwarts, Beasts gives us Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, awkwardly shuffling through the streets of early-twenties New York City. The title and trailers may lead one to believe that Newt's on a mission to gather up, um, fantastic beasts, but he's actually there to leave one behind. It's when he accidentally loses the world's shittiest briefcase that the few creatures actually get out and wreak havoc. The quest to collect them all!, howeverseems oddly secondary, as Newt inadvertently wanders in the plot of all the X-men films instead. We're more focused on politics, equality and us vs. them than as Jay from Life Vs. Film puts it: Newt Scamander playing Pokemon Go. Which is totally what I thought I was signing up for...dammit.

It's not all bad, frankly, as the beasts, when on screen, are rather fantastic. Also on the good side of my imaginary T-chart, would be main bad guy Graves, played by an extra-handsome Colin Farrell in an extra-extra handsome coat and scarf ensemble. Tasked with keeping the uptick in magical tomfoolery under wraps, Graves the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (with a specialty in Muggle waterboarding, one could only assume), isn't exactly fond of all this beast collecting nonsense. It's up to him and his gaggle of spooks to make sure the No-Majs (Yank version of Muggles, apparently) get to live a life with dogs and cats, not hairless, tentacle monsters and double hawk-eagle-owl things. Not to mention keeping an eye on some anti-wizarding orphanage, whatever that is.

What's the spell that makes Colin Farrell love you back?
Whenever Newt and Kowalski (Dan Fogler, straight-up the best character in this film) are tracking down some critter, or making time with Queenie (Alison Sudol, magically cutting off the bloodflow to my brain) and her snooze-fest of a sister, Tina, I was all in for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But when we shifted gears to the political side of things (I mean, who gives a flying Hippogriff turd about Baron Von Newspaper, Bad Haircut Guy, or the Magical Congress Lady? ), I struggled to keep my wand straight. Maybe this will all pay off in November of 2020, sure, but I'm assuming Skynet will have long since enslaved us by then.

I wanted the good times now.

Speaking of current disappointments that may never get the chance to pay off in the future, here are the Yays and Boos. We caught this one at a 9:00 am showing on a Sunday morning, so looking back on this years later? Well, we might have a little egg on our face...

You've got some real nice yams, Queenie.
*chomps on cigar* Real nice.
(I'm not even sure what that means, but I'm sure it applies)
  • Man, CF looks like a young Andy Garcia, right? Now that's a fantastic beast...
  • I really, really was stoked to see Dan Fogler all classed up as an early-era New Yorker, see. Glad he wasn't the Obnoxious Fat Guy for a change...
  • Dude, whatever that little platypus thing is. I want one for Christmas, okay? Though it is a bit disconcerting how much loot that sucker can hold. I don't want to know where he stores it. No, really. Don't tell me.
  • Okay, fine. Platypus Jewelry Thief Creature might be too expensive. Can I get a couple Paper Mice instead? They'd have plenty of company at my desk.
  • Scamander's briefcase, which should probably have a better lock (just a thought, no?) is pretty frickin' cool inside. It's like all of Zootopia [review]is in there, minus the weird sounds Shakira makes).
  • Groot's little cousin thingy was my son's favorite creature. While that dude was pretty rad, I'm a little more partial to Tiny Albino Chewbacca Who Can Partially See The Immediate Future. Not only is he delightful and helpful...he also looks incredibly delicious, too (in snack form, you monster! In snack form!)
  • We've all been there, right? A monkey's got your wand and you've only got a twig to barter with. *sigh*
  • Even if it's only in passing, I almost squealed like a small girl at the mere mention of Dumbledore. Yeah, I know...I'm pretty much a badass.
  • That was a pretty magical Mos Eisley Cantina speakeasy, right? Might want to get few gigglewaters there after work some time...or when it opens at Universal Studios next summer.
  • Your mother's dead. There's your reward. Ouch.
  • And finally, even if I didn't really enjoy it, there's something to be said about seeing a Harry Potter film, if I can call this, uh, that, theatrically. And to take my son? Pretty cool.
Where's George and Fred when you need them?

  • There was a point where I actually thought Newt was blind or something, as the only thing this unblinking goofball makes eye-contact with is the sun (with his dodgy half-grin, no less).
  • Can we finally put a nail in the coffin of the ol' briefcase switcheroo? Please?
  • What the Hell is with that Murtlap thing? Good God, that thing was made exclusively out of fully-shaved nightmares.
  • Jon Voight's Mr. Shaw was bad, but his little Eric Trump sidekick was even worse. Good thing, like forty-five minutes of this film, they didn't really matter in the least.
  • What the Hell is with all the times someone says What the Hell is this? C'mon, guys. Isn't this a kids show? 
  • Just kidding. Of course it isn't. This is for people in their mid-twenties that grew up with Harry Potter. You know, joyless a-holes, who like movies about magical bureaucrats and fantastic conversations, entirely void of basic human emotion.
  • Had there been something rusty and jagged in the auditorium that day, surely I would have jammed it in my eye during that ridiculous magical rhino mating ritual scene. Somehow that's the way I imagine Redmayne enters the room when it's business time, and it makes my soul hurt.
  • It turns out suppressing magical powers is lot like suppressing The Force, or like, not masturbating. You grow up to be super angry and not very fun to be around. Me? Life of the party!
  • Speaking of awful visuals, what's up with the Suicide Pool. That thing was a little messed up, right? Goodness. We go from getting a lady Rhino a boner to ritualistic suicide like that. Oh, and you might want to jump sooner, just saying...
  • Imagine Pig Pen from Charlie Brown gets pissed and grows to twenty feet tall. That's what we're supposed to be scared of here. And we just might be, you know, assuming we knew what the Hell we were looking at.
  • That big cameo kind of thudded across the sticky floor, didn't it. Why, in the twenties, does he look like a computer hacker from the nineties? The only thing that missing was if he had whisked himself away on a pirate ship made of Matrix-style binary code yelling, I'll get you next time, Scamander. Next tiiiiiiiiiime!!!
  • And finally, it's totally fitting that I've mentioned Lord of the Rings here, as this was yet another movie that refused to end. I think I put both hands on the cup holders more than once, assuming that we were getting released into daylight, only to let go and sink back into my seat dejectedly. I'm telling you, we knock a half an hour off of this movie and I'm changing my tune big time. Or, fine, keep it the same length. Just have less talking, more fantastic b(r)easts. 

Eventually, way after the fact, I would go on to read all the Harry Potter books in a row (I said I was reading it to be a more informed teacher, yet I have never had a student who read the novels - no lie) and my favorite one to this day is Goblet of Fire. The Triwizard tournament (and that dreamy Viktor Krum) is still my favorite thing from the universe.

I then went on to watch all the films. Except one, honestly.

I'm still dying to know who plays Krum. We should totally have a party and watch it.

Show up...whenever.


  1. I love the Harry Potter books, they mean everything to me, but even I'm not rushing to see this.

    1. Yeah, I imagine they came out during prime time for a young Brittani, right? My sister was the same way.

      Damn kids.

  2. Wait you haven't seen goblet of Fire? It's my favorite Harry Potter movie, watch it is awesome! I had a much better time with this one than you probably because this was the first movie I've seen in the cinema in 2 months (the last time was new Bridget Jones which was hysterical). Farrell was hot as hell and almost made up for Redmayne - Jesus Christ this man has no lips.

    1. Nope. I think that's when I got off the Hogwarts Express and fully embraced adulthood. Or, more likely, I was at home just playing the shit out of some videogames (as my wife/girlfriend wept quietly). I eventually started seeing them all theatrically, but yep, that's the one I somehow missed.

      YESSSS! I always feel like the first movie back is the best movie ever...even if Dr. Strange was the one that ended my months-long hiatus.

      Hahaha...Redmayne. I don't know why I find that guy to be such a mess onscreen. I'm sure he's incredibly talented, but the few films I've seen in? He's been laughable (Jupiter's Ascending, anyone?).

    2. That Oscar thief ain't incredibly talented he is barely convincing as a human being :/ I still cannot believe they nominated him for that Danish Girl mess last year

    3. I'm not sure I can bring myself to actually watching that one. And you know my standards...

  3. Totally on the same page man, I couldn't get into this one at all and I'm a huge Potter fan. Those books were a huge part of my youth y'know? I just don't see much point going through all of Grindelwald's stuff - even more so that he is played by Depp.

    1. I definitely didn't get into this one at all, but I'm assuming the more time that goes by, and the more films they make, this one will eventually wear me down.

      Ugh. Grindlewald's whole bit was half-cooked. Hopefully Depp does something cool with him. Fingers crossed.