Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Prequel to: Harry Potter
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan FoglerAlison Sudol, Colin FarrellSamantha Morton, Ezra MillerFaith Wood-BlagroveJenn MurrayCarmen EjogoJon Voight, Ron PerlmanZoë KravitzJohnny Depp 
Seen on: 26.11.2016

Plot:
Newt (Eddie Redmayne) studies and keeps magical creatures. But the political situation in the UK is becoming more and more difficult for them, so he makes his way to the USA where he hopes to find them a new life, even if it means hiding the creatures from immigration in a magic suitcase. But magical creatures aren’t the only one affected by politics – in fact, there’s only a very tentative peace between the non-magical and the magical world. Everything could be going easily, but Newt takes the wrong suitcase and it’s baker – and decidedly non-magical human – Jacob (Dan Fogler) who walks off with the creatures, while Newt gets arrested by the recently demoted auror Tina (Katherine Waterston). Chaos ensues – chaos that is more closely connected to the political uproar than it first appears.

I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan myself (read all the books and saw all the films though), so the news of Fantastic Beasts didn’t leave me very excited – and neither did the film itself. It’s sweet and I was entertained, but if it wasn’t connected to the Harry Potter phenomenon, I doubt that it would be a film that stays with people.

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The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Writer: Adam CozadCraig Brewer
Based on: Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ short stories
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot RobbieSamuel L. JacksonChristoph WaltzDjimon HounsouSimon Russell BealeJim BroadbentBen Chaplin
Seen on: 7.8.2016

Plot:
Years ago the man known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) became John Clayton once more and returned from Congo to his home country of England with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie). Now he’s trying very hard to leave his wild past behind him. But then George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) turns up in London, accusing a Belgian/Congolese mining company run by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) in the name of King Leopold of slave trade. He needs John’s help to prove it, so reluctantly, John agrees to return.

I didn’t expect Tarzan to be very good and it wasn’t. But it did surprise me in some of the ways that it was bad. That’s… an achievement, I guess.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last movie in the Harry Potter series originally written by Joanne K. Rowling. The film was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and starring pretty much every British actor ever Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Ciarán Hinds, Julie Walters, Kelly Macdonald, John Hurt, Helen McCrory, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Robbie Coltrane, Jamie Campbell Bower, Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) slowly uncovers the final secrets surrounding his life while his fight with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) draws to an end. After pretty much everything has gone to hell, things – and people – are finally coming together for the final battle while Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) try to destroy the remaining horcruxes.

After HPatDH:1 2 pretty much had to be a cinematic revelation (I still can’t believe how boring 1 was), just in comparison. And that worked out. Is it the best movie ever? Well no, David Yates is still its director. But it’s a decent and fitting ending to the series.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is – as you all probably now – Number 7 in a series of seven books by Joanne K. Rowling. It was made into two movies, this here is Part 1, which was directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, (continuing in no particular order) Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Jamie Campbell Bower, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, John Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis and Michael Gambon.

Plot:
[Hell, if you don’t know what Harry Potter is about, you might not want to start here. Anyway.]
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) leave school to find and destroy the horcruxes that keep Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) alive. But the search is more difficult and dangerous than they anticipated.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I think both the books as well as the movies have reached their peak with number four (though The Prisoner of Azkaban is a close second). HPatDH1 did nothing to change my point of view on that. The pacing’s bad, the direction is worse and there’s no reason to drag this out in two films, since nothing really happens in this one anyway.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

[Somehow this film, too, slipped through the cracks in my trying to get this blog up to speed. I saw it in July, I think.]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the 6th movie in the Harry Potter series based on J.K. Rowling‘s book of the same name. It was directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael GambonAlan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, David Thewlis and Jim Broadbent.

[SPOILERS for the WHOLE SERIES after this point.]

Plot:
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is in his sixth year at Hogwarts (school for wizadry). He finds a mysterious book that belonged to the half-blood prince and the notes in it help him star in Prof. Slughorn’s (Jim Broadbent) potion class. At the same time he works together with Prof. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) to find out more about Lord Voldemort and his weaknesses.

The Half-Blood Prince is definitely the weakest of all the Potter movies so far. The plot’s all over the place, things happen you can only understand if you’ve read the books and HOLY SHIT! they spoil the seventh book/movie. What the hell?

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