Posts Tagged ‘eddie redmayne’

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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)

November 28, 2016

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell
Director: David Yates (Harry Potter 5-8, Legend Of Tarzan)

Bottom Line: I thought this Harry Potter spin off film from author J.K. Rowling was… okay. This story takes place seventy years before Harry Potter’s and finds noted wizard author Newt Scamander (Redmayne) and his suitcase of mysterious creatures setting foot on American soil for the first time. There was a huge difference between this story and the one we all know and love – and perhaps this will change as they unveil sequel after sequel – but the characters in Fantastic Beasts aren’t half as memorable as the ones in Harry Potter. Newt is charming and whimsical and the NoMaj/Muggle he befriends, Jacob Kowalski (Fogler), is the heart and soul of the entire film. There’s also Alison Sudo’s Queenie, who seems like she could be Luna Lovegood’s grandmother. The rest of the characters are totally forgettable. There’s no Voldemort here. Not even a Professor Quirrell. I’m not even sure I really understood what the big threat was.

You’d think the American version of the wizarding world might offer up some interesting comparing and contrasting, but the big difference pretty much comes down to calling nonmagical people “NoMaj” instead of “Muggles.” That’s about it. Also, I found it interesting how racially diverse the magical community is in 1920s America. Apparently the wizarding world is about 160 years ahead of its NoMaj contemporaries – not only are minorities integrated, they can be President. I would have liked to see how a witch of such prominence interacted with NoMaj under the guise of her perceived social standing: a segregated black woman. Alas, we don’t get such a sequence despite the fact that prejudice (think “mudbloods”) plays such a huge role in Voldemort’s rise to prominence decades later.

I don’t want to give off the perception that I thought Fantastic Beasts was all bad; in fact, I found it enjoyable. You just can’t help but compare it to the quality of the franchise that spawned it. The creatures in the film are great and unique. It seems as though Rowling spent all her time thinking up fantastic beasts instead of developing interesting characters! The best parts of the film all feature Newt interacting or chasing the creatures in his suitcase.

I think fans of the Harry Potter series mostly won’t be disappointed with Fantastic Beasts, but I felt like it paled in comparison. It’s definitely not as kid friendly as its predecessor – if I was wondering what the heck was going on with the bad guys, there’s no way young kids are going to be able to follow it. Fantastic Beasts was enjoyable, but far from great. There could be hope on the horizon as the first Harry Potter was the worst one in the series, in my opinion. Still, I’d rather see the filmmakers adapt Harry Potter & The Cursed Child than make four more Fantastic Beasts movies.

Replay Value: Not itching to see it again.
Sequel Potential: Four sequels are announced, first one is in development already.
Oscar Potential: The last three Harry Potter movies were nominated for six Oscars total – mostly for Visual Effects, which would be this film’s most likely nomination.

Grade: 5.5/10 (Watchable/Recommended)

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Theory Of Everything (2014)

June 22, 2015

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
Director: James Marsh (Man On Wire)

Bottom Line: It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what didn’t sit right with me about The Theory Of Everything, but I just can’t say I loved it. It’s a biopic about the relationship between renowned scientist Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde – and maybe that’s my problem. This is a movie about falling in and out of love, while Stephen’s remarkable achievements in science and his impossible fight to stay alive with ALS feel like background music. That’s not to say the story isn’t interesting or touching – the performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are nothing short of remarkable – I just wanted the movie to help me understand what makes Hawking so important to scientific theory, how he defied the odds of ALS, and how he was able to author what is arguably the most notable book of science in our history despite all his physical limitations. The Theory Of Everything skims over all this, at best. What we are left with is two great performances in a mildly moving romcom about a man that is noteworthy for so many other reasons. For 2014 biopics about historic scholars, The Imitation Game is much more my speed.

Replay Value: Feels like a one and done film to me.
Sequel Potential: Biopic, so no.
Oscar Potential: Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor and the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, as well as Felicity Jones for Best Actress.

Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)