CONCUSSION (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

Who doesn’t love Will Smith? Dude’s a jack of all trades and many of us grew up on his movies. He’s a 90’s icon and, oh let’s cut the bullshit, he’s an icon no matter what day and age we’re in. We don’t (kinda) care that you are into Scientology, Mr. Smith, we still love you. To boot, he’s often considered a really good guy. But enough about what we already love about him. This is about his latest doctor-sports movie. Although I was planning to see this movie anyway, did anyone else get the feeling that this was Oscar-bait too? I mean, Smith’s got an accent that he seems to be flaunting rather well and the trailer made it out to be pretty damn atmospheric. I guess it didn’t matter, I was sold on this movie and had pretty high expectations. Did it measure up?

Starring: Will Smith (COLLATERAL BEAUTY [2016], I AM LEGEND [2007], MEN IN BLACK [1997], and upcoming films BRIGHT [2017] and ALADDIN [2019]), Alec Baldwin (THE BOSS BABY [2017], SUBURBAN GIRL [2007], THE JUROR [1996], and upcoming film M:I 6 – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE [2018] and TV movie A FEW GOOD MEN [2018]), Albert Brooks (THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS [2016], THE SIMPSONS MOVIE [2007], and TAXI DRIVER [1976]), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST [2017], BELLE [2013], LARRY CROWNE [2011], and upcoming films A WRINKLE IN TIME [2018] and an untitled Cloverfield movie [2018]), and David Morse (HORNS [2013], DISTURBIA [2007], CONTACT [1997], and the upcoming THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS [2017]).

Support: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (SUICIDE SQUAD [2016], CONGO [1996], and TV show LOST [2004 – 2010]), Richard T. Jones (A QUESTION OF FAITH [2017], WHY DID I GET MARRIED? [2007], and KISS THE GIRLS [1997]), Paul Reiser (I DO… UNTIL I DON’T [2017], FUNNY PEOPLE [2009], and ALIENS [1986]), Luke Wilson (BRAD’S STATUS [2017], 3:10 TO YUMA [2007], SCREAM 2 [1997], and upcoming films MEASURE OF A MAN [2018] and BERLIN, I LOVE YOU [2018]), and Stephen Moyer (PRIEST [2011], 88 MINUTES [2007], and TV show THE GIFTED [2017 – ongoing]).

Director: Peter Landesman (MARK FELT [2017] and the upcoming THE LAST BATTLE [2018]). Writer: Peter Landesman (MARK FELT, KILL THE MESSENGER [2014], and the upcoming THE LAST BATTLE). Composer: James Newton Howard (ROMAN J. ISRAEL. ESQ [2017], THE GREAT DEBATERS [2007], MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING [1997], and upcoming films RED SPARROW [2018] and FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD [2018]). Cinematographer: Salvatore Totino (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING [2017], PEOPLE LIKE US [2012], and THE DA VINCI CODE [2006]).

This is my honest opinion of: CONCUSSION

(SUMMARY)

Based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, Bennet (Will Smith) is a Nigerian doctor, eager to be an American citizen, and happens to be a talented pathologist, even though his methods are considered odd. Unbenownst to the good doctor, a series of horrible events are about to unfold. Famed football star Mike Webster (David Morse) has suffered through hard times, becoming a paranoid psychotic and eventually commits suicide, despite the valiant attempts of his doctor, Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin). When Webster’s body is brought to Bennet for examination, he soon discovers that football might have been the reason why the star became crazy, not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of the game itself causing severe brain trauma over the course of the man’s entire football career. While his findings are ignored or ridiculed, Julian believes that Bennet is right and as the NFL tries its hardest to discredit Bennet, more football players begin to suffer the same tragedies and the truth becomes harder to hide.

(REVIEW)

Fun fact: I actually kind of saw this movie twice. The first time I saw it was after I saw JOY (2015), but I was way too hammered and fell asleep a couple times, missing a healthy chunk of the movie. Deciding that sobriety was king, I saw this movie again… still kind of fell asleep (fatigue this time from working six days a week), but caught up on everything I missed.

You know what, this story had some serious potential, but then Peter Landesman (director and writer of the movie) got his hands on it and proved that maybe he should have stuck with just directing because the writing is… all over the damn place.

What do I mean by that? Well, Bennet’s opening scene. He’s in a court room doing… I don’t know what, but someone asks him what Bennet can add to their case. I shit you not, he goes on and on and @#$%ing on about where he went to school and all the different degrees he has. The dude literally spoke exposition. It was painful.

For those of you who remember the trailer, where at the end he is giving an off-screen character the business, saying, “tell the truth. Tell the truth.” Yeah, he says that four times in that entire scene. It’s kind of awkward.

There’s a random sub-plot of how Bennet wants to have a family with Prema, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the plot didn’t come out of nowhere. I understand that Prema must have been a huge factor in Bennet’s attempts to expose CTE to the NFL, but there’s no build-up to their desires for this family they want. Prema got pregnant, has a miscarriage… and then two scenes later, it’s three years later in the story and they have one child and a second on the way. If you want to tell the story of a husband and wife struggling to have a family after a miscarriage, then leave out the story of how the man is a doctor and wants to enlighten the nation about a horrible condition the players face. Or put a lot more emphasis on the desired-family instead of just hammering it in JUST to show what else Bennet had to go through. It was an unnecessary plot-point.

UPDATE: Granted, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen this movie, but I think it’s wrong of me to say Bennet’s personal life isn’t necessary, the loss that that he experienced. This is Bennet’s story and both his professional and personal life need to have equal exposure. Having said that, based on what I’m reading, my issues come from how poorly written his relationship with Prema is. It sounds like their relationship wasn’t built up properly. Furthermore, it also seems like the miscarriage wasn’t very impactful or necessary to the overall story presented here. Maybe a few more scenes of him and Prema struggling with the decision to try again, as I’m sure after one miscarriage, there’d be a ton of fear for a couple to try and make another baby.

Don’t even get me started on how pro-‘Murica this movie is. It’s giving such a patriotic handjob that even Michael Bay is looking away in embarrassment. I can’t count how many times Bennet mentions how great America is and how great the opportunities are despite the fact that the movie seems to portray Americans as ignorant and uncaring about Bennet’s research into the problems the players of the NFL are facing. The movie does a better job telling how America sucks rather than why it’s so great and how that has anything to do with the plot. We get it dude, you want to be an American citizen, bully for you, please keep your shit focused on what’s really important.

I know we Americans suffered a big tragedy when it came to the San Bernardino shooting and, similar to what happened in France, we need to feel united. We need reasons to keep our heads up and show our enemies that we are still standing in the face of their threats and maybe a movie like this could be great propoganda to ourselves by nearly comparing this country to Heaven, but… @#$%, there was less obnoxious ways of pulling that off. If this is the movie that gave you hope that America will survive in the face of death and destruction, then don’t let anyone take that away from you, but I think if we need to pep talk ourselves, we can do better than this.

Let me say something good about the movie. Yes, Smith delivers a damn fine performance. Unlike Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano, whom I thought was trying to play the role, I believe that Smith is Bennet. I felt like he put in some great effort into bringing this man’s life to the big screen and it pays off. Baldwin does a fairly decent job. Mbatha-Raw’s character was dull, but I believe she can act. Prema just wasn’t very interesting to me.

The acting is fine, the story is interesting, but it goes about it in such a self-absorbed way that I just can’t find myself liking the movie as a whole. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but it’s pretty hard to see myself watching this a third time.

My honest rating for CONCUSSIONa weak 3/5

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DETROIT review

Man, I really should have paid attention in history class. I assume it’s a racially charged film. No duh, 1967 white cops in a black neighborhood, that goes without saying. But I suppose what sets this film apart is the star-studded and fairly interesting cast. I’m mostly referring to Will Poulter, who seems like he’s playing a cop who is in charge, even though he looks like he’s in high school. No offense to the man of course, he’s twenty-four years old, but just the way his face is structured, I almost don’t buy him as someone giving orders. But it’s not like I’ve seen the film and for all I know, his performance overshadows his baby face. To be fair, he is a great actor, so I’m sure that’ll be the case.

Well, here’s the cast. Starring, we have John Boyega (THE CIRCLE [2017], STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS [2015], ATTACK THE BLOCK [2011], and upcoming films STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI [2017] and PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING [2018]), Will Poulter (THE REVENANT [2015], THE MAZE RUNNER [2014], and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER [2010]), and Anthony Mackie (TRIPLE 9 [2016], CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER [2014], PAIN & GAIN [2013], and Marvel’s upcoming AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018]). In support, we have Algee Smith (EARTH TO ECHO [2014]), Jacob Latimore (SLEIGHT [2017], COLLATERAL BEAUTY [2016], and THE MAZE RUNNER [2014]), Jack Reynor (FREE FIRE [2017], SING STREET [2016], TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION [2014], and the upcoming JUNGLE BOOK [2018]), John Krasinski (THE HOLLARS [2016], 13 HOURS [2016], TV show THE OFFICE, and upcoming TV show JACK RYAN), and Kaitlyn Dever (video game UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END [2016], and TV shows LAST MAN STANDING and JUSTIFIED).

Now for the crew. Directing is Kathryn Bigelow, known for ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012), THE HURT LOCKER (2008), and POINT BREAK (1991). Penning the screenplay is Mark Boal, known for ZERO DARK THIRTY, THE HURT LOCKER, and IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (2007). Composing the score is the always amazing James Newton Howard, known for FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (2016), THE HUNGER GAMES (2012), M. Night Shyamalan’s LADY IN THE WATER (2006), and the upcoming FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (2018). Finally, the cinematographer is Barry Ackroyd, known for JASON BOURNE (2016), THE HURT LOCKER (2008), and UNITED 93 (2006).

Overall, yeah, this looks like it’s going to be good. Some great talent in front of and behind the camera, so I’m thinking we can expect a quality film here. Let me at it.

This is my honest opinion of: DETROIT

(SUMMARY)

Set in 1967 Detroit, Michigan. Racial tension between the black community and law-enforcement is at an all-time high and the city has become a war-zone, with officers gunning down black people in the streets for little to no cause and covering their tracks with lies and false evidence. Within the local Algiers Motel, a black teenager, fed up with the police and the mistreatment of black, fires a few blank rounds at the police to scare them, but the result is the police thinking it’s a sniper attack and the motel is raided and so ensues a night of humiliation, beatings, and murder.

(REVIEW)

I feel a little conflicted. It’s good, but I’m not sure just how good I feel about it. Definitely, the one thing I will say is don’t see it if you’re expecting a story with a happy ending. It’s not sad, or anything, but my buddy whom I saw it with said it best, “It’s depressing.”

I can’t say how long this review will be, but let’s see how I do.

First and foremost, the acting is spectacular. On the villainous side, Poulter threw me to the ground, shoved a pole in my back, and wiped the floor with me because he was so despicable, so fucking monstrous that he quite possibly stole the show. Not that I have a mind to catch on to “themes” of movies all the time, but one of them was just how low and depraved these men could get in this time period and what they managed to get away with. They will even take an act like praying, a symbolic gesture of peace, clarity, and hope, and use it to traumatize and horrify, forcing them to recite a prayer at the threat of death. And their behavior and attitude isn’t just reserved for the people of color. No, they’ll mistreat the white women too. It’s incredibly hard to watch. But the act of threatening alone isn’t enough if the victims aren’t scared out of their minds and boy howdy did I believe they were. Man, I hope shooting on that set that things were chill between everyone because even though it’s acting, I can see things getting out of hand and someone decking each other simply out of reaction, but I highly doubt that ever happened. Stories like Shia Lebeouf knocking out Tom Hardy are pretty isolated incidents. Either way, everyone did amazing and you could cut the fear in their eyes with a chainsaw and not make a scratch. If you wanted a real horror film to watch that features no monsters, this is well worth that experience.

I suppose another aspect that I can appreciate is the restraint that this movie had to not have Julie (Hannah Murray) or Karen (Dever) raped by the cops. While I’m sure that didn’t happen in the incident anyway, I can definitely see some studio big-wig trying to throw that “creative liberty” in there all in the name of “added dramatic effect.” You can’t convince me it hasn’t happened before. It sure looked like it was going to go that route what with the constant close-ups of the two women’s backsides and the animalistic men ogling over them. Hell, I was ready to rip my hair out after Julie’s clothes were ripped off. I was calling it, that’s where it was going to happen. But nope, the humiliation and the implication in the men’s eyes was more than enough, and honestly, a lot more effective.

Other than there being a great deal intensity and visceral stress and fear that you feel alongside the victims, there’s not a whole lot of praise to be spoken. It’s just holding a magnifying glass on an incident which perfectly captured the tension between two sides of a conflict and what the law was clearly there to protect at the time, and it wasn’t always its citizens.

Although, having done no real research, and certainly not having the resources that the crew had while putting this movie together, one element did bother the crap out of me. Carl (Jason Mitchell) used a pistol with blanks when he wanted to scare the cops. When the cops raid the place looking for the gun, they keep shouting for it, but… why don’t they explain that it’s not real, or didn’t have real bullets? They spent hours getting questioned and it’s like they honest to God didn’t know anything about a real gun. Is a real gun so indistinguishable from a fake one, or a real one with no real ammo? I don’t know, I grew up with paintball, airsoft, and cap guns, as well as watching a whole ton of action movies. I think I could tell the difference. These people, scared or not, really didn’t say anything?! Maybe this is a weird detail overlooked by the movie, but… yeah, that seemed off to me.

Overall, this movie isn’t for the feint of heart and it certainly shouldn’t be seen if you’re looking for a crowd pleaser. But it’s the 1960’s in one of the most crime-ridden cities in America, even to this day. This movie’s setting alone was an indication that a happy ending was never going to be in the cards. But it’s worth watching. It’s a powerful piece that will stay with you. I think a detail or two can be questioned, but it’s a good film. It’s no “must see” of the year, but if you have even a passing interest, I do recommend it.

My honest rating for DETROIT: 4/5

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FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM review

Like most kids of my generation, Harry Potter was everywhere. It was the next Lord of the Rings… er, for kids anyway. I doubt they waited a year until Hollywood made a movie on the first book. Naturally, the movie was both profitable and popular, despite opening side-by-side with the THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001).

Of course, as a kid, I loved Harry Potter like the rest of them. I stopped reading the books after Azkaban, but I always kept up with the movies. While I’ve seen all of them, I can’t say that I’m the biggest Harry Potter fan. Not on the same level as those that buy the merchandise or get tattoos. Star Wars wins over in that field (still no tattoos though). But I will always be interested in the fantasy genre and Harry Potter is most definitely a fantasy.

I truly thought if there was ever going to be a continuation of the film franchise, it’d be sequels, not a prequel of sorts. Again, I won’t claim to know anything about the characters presented in this film, I can safely say that I am excited for the star power alone.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at that star power. Eddie Redmayne. Ever since THEORY OF EVERYTHING (2014), I’ve been going nuts for this guy. He’s incredibly talented. Even when he’s in a movie that’s not so good (I’m looking at you, JUPITER ASCENDING [2015]). My respect for the man only escalated after THE DANISH GIRL (2015), and became that actor. You know, if his name is attached to anything, I have to see it. That effect. Colin Farrell. Yes. Just yes, yes, and yes. Please, keep ’em coming. Say what you want about DAREDEVIL (2003), I thought he was a thousand flavors of fun. But he is a genuinely good actor. IN BRUGES (2008), SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2012), SAVING MR. BANKS (2013), THE LOBSTER (2016), he’s such a great talent. And… well, that’s all who I’m familiar with, based on what I saw in the trailers.

Now for the crew. Directing is Harry Potter veteran David Yates, who directed ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (2007), HALF-BLOOD (2009), and both Deathly Hallows, as well as THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (2016). He will also return for the planned sequel to this film. Penning the screenplay is… *double take* J.K. Rowling herself?? Well… damn, girl. I guess if you’re going to do Harry Potter right, might as well do it yourself. But you know what? A lot of writers have adapted their novels lately. Look at the amazingness that was ROOM (2015). Emma Donoghue wrote both the novel and the screenplay for the movie. I guess Rowling doesn’t want this tampered with. Composing the music is one of my favorite film composers on the market, James Newton god damn Howard! Aside from being the only really good thing about Shyamalan’s movies, Howard’s compositions are always gorgeous to listen to. He co-composed THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) and BATMAN BEGINS (2005) with Hans Zimmer, and BLOOD DIAMOND (2006), which is probably one of the most beautiful scores in the last ten years. I still find myself listening to it from time to time. This man’s a giant as far as I care. Finally, the composer is Philippe Rousselot, known for THE NICE GUYS (2016), both Sherlock Holmes films, and CONSTANTINE (2005).

I think I’m more excited for the talent than I am the addition to established lore and universe that is Harry Potter. It does look like a fun adventure flick and I’m sure I’ll like it just fine. Probably not nearly as much as the fanbase, but a good movie is a good movie, so let’s see how it holds up.

This is my honest opinion of: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

(SUMMARY)

Set during 1926. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is a traveling wizard, writing a book about the many creatures of the world to educate the wizarding community and to also protect them from those that would otherwise harm them in his magical briefcase. His travels take him to New York in America where things are already off to a rocky start as he accidentally runs into Jacob Kowalski (Don Fogler), who has the same briefcase and get them switched. One of Newt’s creatures escape and while he gets their respective suitcases back, Jacob is exposed to the magical sights. But before Newt can wipe his memory, Jacob hits him with his briefcase and runs off. This causes Newt to be caught by a former witch police officer type, named Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), who takes him to her headquarters for using magic in front of a No-maj, non-magic users. But when told to open the briefcase, it’s revealed that it’s full of pastries, as opposed to Newt’s magical creatures. When the realization of a second mix up happens, Newt and Tina must relocate his briefcase from Jacob, who is about to accidentally unleash those creatures upon New York.

(REVIEW)

It’s… alright. I think I have a friend who suddenly hates me now. Unfortunately, I did have quite a few problems with this movie.

First of all, its title is pretty misleading, as have been the trailers. If you’re anything like me and your only window into the plot of the story is the title or the trailers, then you should expect something very different from the final product. What do I mean? When you hear the title, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” automatically, you think Newt Scamander is going to be something of a benevolent hunter, finding magical creatures and putting them in his suitcase for study and safeguarding. However, there is… literally none of that in this movie. Yes, you get to peek inside his suitcase and it’s a big ole zoo in there, and it’s awesome. But the supposed creature you’d think he’d be hunting down in the film is revealed to not be a creature at all, but pure magic that’s kinda pissed off. But fine, that can be a nitpick. Jacob opens Newt’s briefcase and he has to hunt down the ones that escaped. That’d be a fine enough plot for the story… except it’s only half the story and not the intended focus.

You see, there’s a second plot to the movie… which is composed of a hundred subplots. A big bad wizard named Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has disappeared from the magical authorities, which is a big deal to its leaders who constantly reference him. There’s also this organization of No-majs that try to spread awareness of witches and the danger they pose. It’s ran by a woman who adopts children of witches and wizards that she beats. The magic authorities are trying to track down a destructive force that’s tearing its way across New York. One in particular, Graves (Colin Farrell), has visions of a little girl who is linked to this destructive force, and JESUS CHRIST ENOUGH ALREADY!!! And the worst part of all this: these plot lines have nothing to do with Newt, and none of Newt’s activities have anything to do with all this. He’s not there to track down the Obscurus or anything. He’s there on his own agenda and I feel like his involvement is pretty forced and not organic to the story.

Yes, the point is that Newt gets wrapped up in everything. Plenty of stories do that. Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. But the difference here is that Frodo’s involvement in the destruction of the One Ring is very early on the story. Luke’s involvement in taking on the Galactic Empire begins early on in the story as well. Newt’s involvement in hunting down this Obscurus thing doesn’t really happen until the middle of the story, and even that may be pretty generous to say.

Now let’s look into the core characters, which are the ones that I had the most problems with.

I do not understand Tina at all. I understand that she used to be the magical equivalent of a detective in her job, or something more respectable than what she is now, but something happened and now she’s in her lowly position… whatever that is. I also kind of get that she’s constantly trying to bring Newt in for his crimes in order to get in good with her superiors. The problem is, since she is one of the protagonists, we need to feel for her personal struggles and… we don’t know what they are. Context is needed. We need to know what she did, why she did it, and why it’s so important that she regains her more prestigious position and why it’s worth bringing Newt in, who is otherwise a good guy and eventual friend. But because none of this is explored, it comes across as that she’s just being a bitch. And it’s hard to see her as a bitch with her sad puppy eyes that constantly get close-ups.

But if she was the worst of it, then this movie would be downright good. Instead, I don’t think even the established world knows what to do with itself. Throughout the story, there’s a worry that the No-majs will discover the wizarding community and cause a war between the two sides. First of all, THAT’D BE AWESOME!!! Second, if there’s a big fear of it, why isn’t there more of an urgency to track down Newt’s escaped creatures? When the Niffler (a furry platypus creature with a penchant for kleptomania) escapes the first time, setting off this chain of events, does this movie honestly expect me to believe that no one in the entire bank ever saw it?! And I don’t care how well-trained your dog is. If your dog sees or smells something unnatural, it’s going to go berserk. But even if I let that one go, how does a dragon-like thing go completely unnoticed? How does an invisible monkey thing that’s always holding something not make a bigger impact? And how is there no zoo staff that sees a giant glowing rino-hippo creature trying to mate with a petrified hippo?! Why are the big-wig wizards not scrambling more to locate these missing creatures when Newt is arrested? And speaking of Newt, why isn’t he taking this stuff more seriously? Why is he sitting in that house, laying in the guest bed instead of, you know, finding his creatures!? I know he’s there to help Jacob with his bite, but as soon as he applies the… “cure,” “ointment,” or whatever the hell he did, he has no reason to stay in the house. Let Jacob stay there to fully heal while he attempts to stop the magical community from being exposed. Instead, he’s in their bed. I don’t recall a spell being cast to keep him locked in. And even if there was, that teleportation technique seems pretty handy throughout the movie. Why wouldn’t he just escape?

Speaking of Newt, never mistake me. I love Redmayne. He is one of the finest actors I’ve seen when given good material to work with. But his performance here is a little too… DANISH GIRL for my taste. He’s quiet and soft-spoken. Shy and rarely makes eye contact. While in DANISH GIRL the performance makes sense for the character, here it doesn’t. Newt may not need to be bubbly and highly energized, nor does he need to be a smartalick bad-ass with one-liners, but a deviation from shy and quiet would be a tad welcomed. I’d really like to see him develop into a stronger and more assertive character as the movies progress.

Now before anyone starts thinking that I hate this movie… which… would definitely seem that way, I think it’s time I start talking about the things I did actually like. Since I’ve been talking about the characters, let’s go on record and say that I absolutely loved Jacob and Queenie (Alison Sudol). Both are fantastic comedy relief and have probably one of the most precious romances that I’ve seen in a long time. I also have to give props, usually the “hooker with a heart of gold” character annoys me, but Queenie is written very well and is very likable. Yeah, I know she’s not a “hooker,” but she’s supposed to be a bombshell, really hot.

Oh and Ron Perlman as a gang boss troll? I never thought that’d be something I needed in my life, but… thank God I lived to see something so insanely awesome.

There’s also some really cool ideas. Like I said, a looming war between the No-Majs and the wizarding world would be amazing to see and that we’ll actually get that realized in the future. The action is fast-paced with high energy from the performers. The creature designs are fun and imaginative, and by extension, the special effects are top-notch. We’re finally given a reason to go out and explore the world of Harry Potter outside of Hogwarts and visit real locations. I’ve always been curious what wizards are like in America and I definitely got my wish here. I hear the next one will take place in Paris, so it seems like I’ll be seeing these films to the end if this trend of seeing other countries continues.

Overall, I was disappointed, but I won’t go so far as to say that I dislike the film. It has merit and is worth seeing if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter franchise. Also, some of teased ideas are phenomenally exciting and I don’t mind seeing the inevitable sequels. But as a pilot story, it’s not great or even very good. The story is unfocused, character choices got to be annoying, all lead by characters that are underdeveloped, excluding the supporting cast. I hope to see in the future Newt get some serious development and become a little more assertive, we see more of the extended world that’s been established, and maybe some actual hunting down and protecting of fantastic beasts. There is some wonderful potential here and I’ll be following this franchise, but as is, not the best start.

My honest rating for FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: 3/5

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