Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Review

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If you are as much of a die hard Harry Potter fan as myself then you have undoubtedly already seen Fantastic Beasts. Hopefully, you were not as disappointed as I was. In hindsight, perhaps I was expecting too much. It was a passably entertaining movie but certainly did not instill in me a need to see its sequels.

Set in the late 1920’s Fantastic Beasts follows young wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he enters NYC to release a rescued magical creature. However, Newt’s plans go awry when several of the magical creatures in his care escape, inadvertently exposing the magical world. This exposure threatens a city already on the brink thanks to a mysterious evil plaguing the streets.

The movie had two highlights for me. Firstly the incredible CGI that fully had me expecting to see a niffler the next time I walked down the street. The creatures were wicked cool and crazy realistic. The second was the character Queenie (Alison Sudol) who was like a breath of fresh air and actually far more likeable than her sister, Tina (Katherine Waterson) who had more screen time.

The plot didn’t build satisfyingly and as a result the ending fell flat. It felt a little like the movie was trying too hard to build the foundations of the next four movies and didn’t have enough depth in its own right. I’m actually having trouble identifying why it didn’t click for me the same way as Harry Potter but I think the plot was the main issue. It’s safe to say I’m in the minority with such opinions as the movie has been hugely successful.

If you are a J.K. Rowling fan you probably owe it to her to give this movie a go and judge it for yourself – lets face it the woman is incredibly talented. Personally though I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars by keeping in mind I may have enjoyed it more had my expectations not been so high.

The Expanse – Review

The Expanse had all the right ingredients to be something I adored yet somehow fell a little short of the mark.

Set hundreds of years in the future in a colonized solar system a cold war exists between Earth and the independent military nation of Mars. The first season follows the lives of Detective Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) and Captain Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and his crew as they attempt to solve the mystery of wealthy heiress Julie Mao’s disappearance. A disappearance which has left a trail of death and destruction in its wake and which threatens to ignite a war. It is set against a backdrop of bleak survival in increasingly harsh conditions. The show explores the growing dissent among the oppressed Belters who essentially live to serve the needs of Earth.

Strong plot – check. Wicked cool setting – check. Solid acting – check. Suspense – check.  I think the major issue was that I didn’t care enough about any of the characters or feel as though there were any meaningful friendships or relationships. I watched the first seven episodes in one night, drawn along by the hope that something would click for me and I would start to become invested in the people carrying the story. It was three weeks before I made myself sit down to finish the series.

The last three episodes were by far my favorite and the reason I will give the second season a watch. I finally started to feel involved. Let’s hope season two builds on the strong finale of season one. Although not everything I was hoping for, I do feel like The Expanse has enormous potential and rate it 3 out of 5 stars.

If you’re excited about fresh sci-fi definitely give it a shot. I’m off to read the books.