Saturday, 31 December 2016

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Review

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 

Release Date: 30th November 1989 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures
Hughes Entertainment

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 97 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $71,319,526 

Plot Summary
As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife Ellen, and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie, and his family show up unplanned and start living their camper on the Griswold property.

Chevy Chase - Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo - Ellen Griswold
Randy Quaid - Cousin Eddie
Juliette Lewis - Audrey Griswold
Johnny Galecki - Russ Griswold
Diane Ladd - Nora Griswold
John Randolph - Clark Griswold, Sr
E. G. Marshall - Art Smith
Doris Roberts - Frances Smith
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Margo Chester 
Miriam Flynn - Cousin Catherine
Cody Burger - Cousin Rocky
Ellen Hamilton Latzen - Cousin Ruby Sue
William Hickey - Uncle Lewis
Mae Questel - Aunt Bethany
Sam McMurray - Bill
Nicholas Guest - Todd Chester
Brian Doyle-Murray - Frank Shirley
Natalia Nogulich - Helen Shirley
Nicolette Scorsese - Mary
Devin Bailey - Young Clark Griswold

Director - Jeremiah S. Chechik
Writer/Producer - John Hughes
Executive Producer - Matty Simmons
Producer - Tom Jacobson
Production Designer - Stephen Marsh
Costume Designer - Michael Kaplan
Director of Photography - Thomas Ackerman
Film Editors - Jerry Greenberg and Michael A. Stevenson
Music - Angelo Badalamenti 

Admittedly, I have never seen any of the VACATION movies including CHRISTMAS VACATION which I had the opportunity to view before Christmas Eve. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION is the last film of the series that was written and produced by John Hughes during the end of his tenure. It celebrates the holiday spirit, while keeping the movie fresh with slapstick comedy and a bit of crude bringing on the Yuletide laughter. A few actors from the two previous movies return, like Chevy Chase who portrays Clark Griswold once again - the loving optimistic father who frequently causes havoc to himself and his family instead of trying to have a good time together. He is frequently co-starred with the not-yet famous actress Juilette Lewis as his daughter and Randy Quaid who also returns as his hick cousin Eddie.

I could never resist a good laugh and CHRISTMAS VACATION is the comedy film of the holiday season and it'll be good to watch it again in the next December. For those of you who enjoyed the movie, have a Merry Christmas and happy new year!

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Friday, 30 December 2016

In Memory of Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016)

Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016)

Debbie Reynolds, the actress who was known for her pairing with Gene Kelly in 'Singin' in the Rain' has passed away of a stroke on December 28th 2016 at the age of 84, just one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher. It is unfortunate that we have lost both actresses and they were mother and daughter of Hollywood royalty. Debbie's career as an actress began when she was found by talent scouts at MGM and Warner Brothers after winning the 1948 Miss Burbank beauty contest. There she appeared in a few movie musicals where one of them was to be her breakout role in a film 'Three Little Words' starring opposite Fred Astaire and Red Skelton and the other had a top hit song "Aba Daba Honeymoon" entitled 'Two Weeks with Love'. By the time she portrayed the up and coming actress Kathy Selden in what would become her highest profile role in a musical satire 'Singin' in the Rain'. Debbie's career as an actress grew the more films she appeared in including 'Bundle of Joy' with singer Eddie Fisher (whom she later married). In 1964, she recieved her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' and two years later, she was eventually cast in a semi-biographical movie 'The Singing Nun' which would be the last for her contract at MGM. 

Reynolds broadened her career to include television and voice work in films, most notably for 1973's 'Charlotte's Web' and two television animations 'Rugrats' and 'Kim Possible'. She also did stage work on Broadway including appearing with her daughter in the musical 'Irene' and reprising her role in the stage version of 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown'. She was also noted for being a singer in film musicals, nightclub acts and recording albums.

Wherever you are Debbie, you'll always be our lucky star and to be with Carrie Fisher.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

In Memory of Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) 

It is a time of sorrow with the announcement of the passing of actress Carrie Fisher, who died of a fatal heart attack at the age of 60 on December 27th 2016. She was probably best remembered to all Star Wars fans as Princess Leia Organa and was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds whom the latter stood beside her at her deathbed.

Born in 1956, Carrie Fisher grew up in showbiz and when she reached the age of 15, she appeared onstage with her mother in a musical play on the Broadway stage called 'Irene'. Her film career began with her debut role in a comedy 'Shampoo' with Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, etc as her co-stars. Her big break in 1977 came when she starred opposite Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford (whom she had a real life relationship), in an unforgettable epic space adventure from Director George Lucas that would soon become the top-grossing movie franchise entitled 'Star Wars' as her iconic role of Princess Leia. Fisher would eventually reprise her role once again in the infamous 'Star Wars Holiday Special' as well as two more films from the original trilogy - 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi'. Thirty two years later, she would then return to the character that she originally portrayed in 'The Force Awakens' which was released in 2015 and at the time of her death, her work in the upcoming chapter of 'Episode VIII' was already finished filming and was scheduled for its release in December 2017.

Aside from her fame as Leia, Fisher had made some other film appearances in mostly cameos, small and supporting roles including 'The Blues Brothers', 'Hannah and Her Sisters' 'The 'Burbs', 'When Harry Met Sally...' 'Scream 3', 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back', 'Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle' 'Fanboys' and more. She had done television work outside of film, most notably in the animated sitcom 'Family Guy' as Peter Griffin's boss and supervisor Angela. She has also completed work outside her film and television acting involving doctoring film scripts and has authored semi-autobiography novels and her own autobiography.

My condolences go to her family and friends. All I can say is farewell Carrie Fisher, you gave us a strong iconic female character and may the force be with you.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: 15th December 2016 - Australia

Production Companies 
Lucasfilm Ltd

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 134 minutes

Budget: $200,000,000

Box Office Gross: $1,056,057,273

Plot Summary 
Jyn Erso has never been one to follow rules. She's been on her own since the age of 15, surviving in the galactic underworld by cultivating skills in both fighting and cunning. 

When Jyn is arrested by the Rebel Alliance, she is asked by Mon Mothma to retrieve information about the Death Star - a nearly constructed weapon with the power to destroy an entire planet. If the Death Star's construction is completed, the Empire will become unstoppable.

It's up to Jyn, Cassian Andor, Bodhi Rook, and their pragmatic droid K-2SO to form the Rogue One squadron and help bring peace to the galaxy by stealing a technical readout of the Death Star. They eventually join forces with assassin Baze Malbus and his spiritual partner Chirrut Imwe. They also meet Clone Wars veteran Saw Gerrara.

They're up against some stiff competition. Orson Krennic is an Imperial military director who will stop at nothing to see the Death Star's completion. All while Darth Vader maintains a watchful eye on the weapon.

Felicity Jones - Jyn Erso
Diego Luna - Cassian Andor
Alan Tudyk - K-2SO
Donnie Yen - Chirrut Imwe
Wen Jiang - Baze Malbus
Ben Mendelsohn - Orson Krennic
Forest Whitaker - Saw Gerrara
Riz Ahmed - Bodhi Rook
Mads Mikkelsen - Galen Erso 
Genevieve O'Rielly - Mon Mothma
Alistair Petrie - Gen. Draven
Ben Daniels - Gen. Merrick
Paul Kasey - Admiral Raddus
Stephen Standon - Admiral Raddus (Voice)
Spencer Wilding - Darth Vader
Daniel Naprous - Darth Vader
James Earl Jones - Darth Vader (Voice)
Ian McElhenny - Gen. Dodonna
Fares Fares - Senator Vaspar
Jonathan Aris - Senator Jebel
Sharon Duncan-Brewster - Senator Pamlo
Valene Kane - Lyra Erso 
Beau Gadsdon - Young Lyn
Dolly Gadsdon - Younger Lyn
Duncan Pow - Sergeant Melshi 
Jordan Stephens - Corporal Tenc
Babou Ceesay - Lt. Sefia 
Aidan Cook - Two Tubes
Daniel Mays - Tivik
Andy de la Tour - Gen. Hurst Romodi
Tony Pitts - Capt. Pterro
Martin Gordon - VaneƩ
Richard Cunningham - Gen. Ramda
Jack Roth - Lt. Adema 
Michael Gould - Admiral Gorin 
Rufus Wright - Lt. Casido 
Michael Shaeffer - Gen. Corssin
Geoff Bell - 2nd Lt. Frobb 
James Harkness - Pv. Basteren
Derek Arnold - Pao
Matt Rippy - Corporal Rostock
Nick Kellington - Bistan 
Warwick Davis - Weeteef Cyubee
Anthony Daniels - C3PO
Jimmy Smits - Senator Bail Organa
Ingvild Delia - Princess Leia Organa
Guy Henry - Grand Moff Tarkin

Director - Gareth Edwards
Based on Characters - George Lucas
Story - Gary Whitta 
Story/Executive Producer/Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - John Knoll
Screenplay - Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy
Executive Producer - Jason D. McGatlin
Producer/Unit Production Manager - Simon Emanuel
Producers - Kathleen Kennedy and Alison Shearmur
Co-Producers - Kiri Hart and John Swartz 
Co-Producer/Unit Production Manager - Susan Towner
Production Designers - Doug Chaing and Neil Lamont
Costume Designers - David Crossman and Glyn Dillon
Director of Photography - Greig Fraser
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator: Reshoots - Simon Crane
Stunt Coordinator - Rob Inch
Special Effects Supervisor - Neil Corbould
Creature Designer/Effects Supervisor - Neal Scanlan
Visual Effects Supervisor - Mohen Leo
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Nigel Sumner
Animation Supervisor - Hal T. Hickel
Film Editors - John Gilroy, Colin Goudie and Jabez Olssen 
Additional Editor - Stuart Baird
Music - Michael Giacchino

A new hope for STAR WARS began with Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm with the spectacular release of 2015's THE FORCE AWAKENS (click here) from J.J. Abrams. It relives the adventure, magic, thrills, and excitement that were missing in the divisive prequel trilogy. This film regained the interest of fans and proved that the series can continue without George Lucas' involvement. ROGUE ONE marks the first of an anthology of standalone spinoffs yet to be released. However, the film was finished with an extensive amount of reshoots and is said to have a darker, epic and melancholic tone similar to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (click here).

In ROGUE ONE, the characterisations isn't as strong as those in THE FORCE AWAKENS with a fewer exceptions like the droid with a smart alec personality named K-2SO. It's very intriguing that not only does the film set up the plot for the first STAR WARS movie (click here) which was released 39 years a go, but also manages to showcase some impressive action, drama and demonstrate what were the Rebels like before they scored their first victory against the Empire.

Some of the old characters like the ones introduced in A NEW HOPE returned in either a cameo or a supporting role. The first for instance was Grand Moff Tarkin who was facially reconstructed using computer technology to match the appearance of its late actor Peter Cushing, similar to how Paul Walker's role was finished with new scenes in FAST & FURIOUS 7 (click here). Also returning is our fan-favourite Sith Lord, Darth Vader and no longer is he the tragic character of the prequels, but instead shows a brutal side that was not seen in the originals.

Evidently, ROGUE ONE is a very organic byproduct of the STAR WARS series and definitely the closet thing you'll get out of a prequel. It also serves as a good entry level film for newcomers to the series, if there are any people out there that have not seen STAR WARS that is.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Santa Clause Review

The Santa Clause

Release Date: 24th November 1994 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Hollywood Pictures (in association with)
Outlaw Productions

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 97 minutes

Budget: $22,000,000

Box Office Gross: $189,833,357 

Plot Summary
On Christmas Eve, divorced 
father Scott Calvin and his 
son Charlie discover the 
current Mr Claus has fallen 
off their roof. When Scott 
dons Santas suit, he 
unwittingly triggers The 
Santa Clause and they are 
immediately whisked away 
to the North Pole to take on 
the role of jolly old St Nick.

Tim Allen - Scott Calvin/Santa Claus
Judge Reinhold - Dr. Neil Miller
Wendy Crewson - Laura Calvin
Eric Lloyd - Charlie Calvin
David Krumholtz - Bernard the Elf
Larry Brandenburg - Det. Nunzio
Mary Daniels - Miss Gross
Paige Tamara - Judy the Elf
Peter Boyle - Mr. Whittle
Judith Scott - Susan Perry
Jayne Eastwood - Judy the Waitress
Melissa King - Sarah the Little Girl
Joshua Satok - Larry the Elf

Director - John Pasquin
Writers - Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick
Executive Producers - Richard Baker, Rick Messina and James Miller 
Producers - Brian Reilly and Jeffrey Silver
Co-Producers - Caroline Baron and William W. Wilson III
Production Designer - Carol Spier
Special Makeup and Animatronic Effects - Alec Gillis
Animatronic Effects - Tom Woodruff Jr.
Costume Designer - Carol Ramsey
Cinematography - Walt Lloyd
Special Effects Supervisor - Robert Harman
Visual Effects Supervisor/Director of Photography - John E. Sullivan
Film Editor - Larry Bock
Music - Michael Convertino

THE SANTA CLAUSE was released in 1994 as a star vehicle for comedian Tim Allen after his previous role in the television sitcom HOME IMPROVEMENT. While this isn't the best holiday material of the season it has some merits, of launching Tim Allen's career in the movie business and plenty of fun to attract the family audience while lifting their spirits of Christmas. The movie's storyline is easy to follow and far too predictable. The shots of the North Pole scenery were a fascinating display and even the elves are remarkably portrayed by young children. I think Tim Allen has put the gift wrapping to himself as the average businessman/father who unwittingly becomes the mythological childhood figure of Kris Kringle a.k.a. Santa Claus.

The film is a Christmas comedy, fun-filled and joyous with cheer and laughter. The sequels are not as good as the original SANTA CLAUSE movie. I would recommend this movie for children and their families on every Christmas Eve before it has to be over in the morning. 

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 19 December 2016

The Muppet Christmas Carol Review

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Release Date: 11th December 1992 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Jim Henson Productions

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Family/Musical

Rating: G

Runtime: 86 minutes

Budget: $12,000,000

Box Office Gross: $27,281,507 

Plot Summary
The Muppet characters
retell their version of the
classic tale of an old and
bitter miser's redemption
on Christmas Eve.

Michael Caine - Ebenzer Scrooge
Steven Mackintosh - Fred
Meredith Braun - Belle
Robin Weaver - Clara
Jessica Fox - Ghost of Christmas Past (Voice)
David Shaw Parker - Old Joe (Voice)
Edward & Theo Sanders - Young Scrooge
Kristopher Milnes - Young Scrooge
Russell Martin - Young Scrooge
Ray Coulthard - Young Scrooge

Muppet Performers
Steve Whitmire - Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit/Various
Dave Goelz - The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens/Various
Jerry Nelson - Tiny Tim Cratchit/Various
Frank Oz - Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit/Various
David Rudman - Peter Cratchit/Various
Don Austen - Ghost of Christmas Present/
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Jessica Fox - Ghost of Christmas Past
Robert Tygner - Ghost of Christmas Present/Various

Producer/Director - Brian Henson
Based on Novel - Charles Dickens
Screenplay/Co-Producer - Jerry Juhl
Executive Producer - Frank Oz
Producer - Martin G. Baker
Production Designer - Val Strazovec
Costume Designer/Consultant - Ann Hollywood 
Costume Designer - Polly Smith
Director of Photography - John Fenner
Choreographer - Pat Garrett
Film Editor - Michael Jablow
Songs and Lyrics - Paul Williams
Music - Miles Goodman

Through every iteration that was based on one of Charles Dickens' stories, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is one of these examples of great classic literature adapted in film. Read in a million times than OLIVER TWIST and GREAT EXPECTATIONS, it remains as one of Dickens' celebrated works and one of his very best. One of the best movie adaptations of the novel I ever saw was THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. I haven't reviewed any movies that featured the Muppets (excluding the 2011 revival), my childhood memories are about to be rediscovered through this retelling of a classic story. Hilarious, jovial and heartfelt, it's exactly what a Christmas movie should be. Though this modern version of Dickens' classic tale doesn't change much in terms except for the cast and presentation.

Michael Caine's portrayal of Ebenzer Scrooge shows that he can instantly perform as a miserly old man who discourages Christmas and later learns the meaning of the holiday spirit and becomes a changed man. This was one of his finest hours of acting and even his interpretation could not be surpassed by Jim Carrey's and other actors' versions of the character. It's nice to see all the Muppet characters again, even Kermit the Frog who is Bob Cratchit with Miss Piggy as his wife and The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are the narrators of the story. The set design is flawless and the songs have a whimsical charm and an atmospheric quality that profoundly measures up to the yuletide magic of the movie.

This could have ended the Muppets' future after its creator Jim Henson's unexpected passing, it somehow lives up to many expectations. THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL is the best of the Muppet movies and certainly worth dusting off from your collection. It is firmly recommended for viewers that were familiar with both Dickens and the characters that inhabit the world of the Muppets.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 12 December 2016

Short Circuit Review

Short Circuit

Release Date: 26th June 1986 - Australia

Production Companies
TriStar Pictures (presents)
Producers Sales Organisation 
Turman-Foster Company

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Sci-Fi/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 94 minutes

Budget: $9,000,000

Box Office Gross: $40,697,761 

Plot Summary
In a one-in-a-million accident, the most sophisticated weapon on earth has escaped. He's called Number 5 and he's come to the conclusion that he's alive! 

Now the scientist who created him wants to take him apart. The company that owns him wants him recovered before the weapons he carries kill millions. And the ex-marine security chief simply wants to blow him up.

Then there's Stephanie who truly believes that Number 5 is alive...but can she save him?

Tim Blaney - Number 5 (Voice)
Ally Sheedy - Stephanie Speck
Steve Guttenberg - Newton Crosby
Fisher Stevens - Ben Jabituya
Austin Pendleton - Howard Marner
G.W. Bailey - Skroeder
Brian McNamara - Frank
Marvin J. McIntyre - Duke
John Garber - Otis
Penny Santon - Mrs. Cepeda
Vernon Weddle - General Washburne
Barbara Tarbuck - Senator Mills
Fred Slyter - Norman
Billy Ray Sharkey - Zack

Director - John Badham 
Writers - S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock
Executive Producers - Mark Damon and John Hyde
Supervising Producer/Second Unit Director - Gregg Champion
Producers - David Foster and Lawrence Turman 
Co-Producer - Dennis Jones
Art Director - Dianne Wager
Robots Designer/Consultant - Syd Mead
Director of Photography - Nick McLean
Robots Engineer and Robotic Effects Supervisor - Eric Allard
Animatronic Performance Supervisor/Puppeteer - Tony Urbano
Film Editor - Frank Morriss
Sound Designer - Frank Serafine
Music - David Shire

The SHORT CIRCUIT series were a favourite part of my childhood, unfortunately I missed the first movie when it first released on pay-tv. However I watched the sequel instead when a few years later it was shown on the Movie Extra channel. In recent years, the robot from SHORT CIRCUIT, Number 5 (aka Johnny 5) inspired another iconic robot character with mannerisms and image alike to No. 5's and his name was WALL-E. Hilarious and goofy is SHORT CIRCUIT a family comedy that not only it keeps the laughter ongoing for adults and young children, it pulls your heartstrings which in some cases feels like you're watching a Disney movie. John Badham was an underrated film director who was benevolently clever at helming this picture than he does to his other films like SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and WARGAMES (click here). Somehow he doesn't get enough credit for his contribution to the film industry.

Steve Guttenberg was convincing as the scientist who is responsible for getting the machine operational. The other cast members were all believable in their roles and created a very fun and heartfelt atmospheric movie. I would like to give a honourable mention to Fisher Stevens for his outstanding role as the offensive racial stereotype. The mechanical effects were not groundbreaking or revolutionary, however they were convincingly believable and really helps send the message that the robots can be made.

SHORT CIRCUIT is not your typical family feature, it's a little more unique and different what people usually expect. I think this was the attraction for this movie as it created a new style of film which was a light-hearted sci-fi comedy that suggests the possibility of a living robot who gains a spark of humanity. If have you seen this movie, you will know that it is a very touching and uplifting story and while the concept has been replicated with many following films. I think SHORT CIRCUIT still stands out the crowd as one of the best and nostalgic films of this genre.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 5 December 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: 17th November 2016 - Australia 

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures
Heyday Films

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: M

Runtime: 133 minutes

Budget: $180,000,000

Box Office Gross: $814,037,575

Plot Summary
The year is 1926, and Newt Schamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and the No-Maj worlds. 

Eddie Redmayne - Newt Schamander
Colin Farrell - Percival Graves
Ezra Miller - Credence Barebone
Ron Perlman - Gnarlack
Katherine Waterston - Tina
Samantha Morton - Mary Lou
Jon Voight - Shaw Senior
Carmen Ejogo - Seraphina Picquery
Dan Fogler - Jacob Kowalski
Faith Wood-Blagrove - Modesty Barebone
Jenn Murray - Chastity Barebone
Kevin Guthrie - Mr. Abernathy
Alison Sudol - Queenie
Johnny Depp - Gellert Grindelward
Zoe Kravitz - Lestrange
Peter Breitmayer - Mr. Bingley
Ranon Raftery - Langdon Shaw
Josh Cowdery - Henry Shaw Jr.
Ellie Haddington - Mrs. Esposito
Martin Oelbermenn - Heinrich Eberstadt
Gemma Chan - Madam Ya Zhou
Christian Dixon - Momolou Wotorson
Wunmi Mosaku - Beryl

Director - David Yates
Based on Novel "Fantastic
Beasts and Where to Find
Them"/Writer/Producer -
J. K. Rowling
Executive Producer/Unit
Production Manager - Tim Lewis
Executive Producers - Neil Blair
and Rick Senat
Producers - David Heyman,
Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram
Co-Producer/Unit Production
Manager - Michael Sharp
Production Designers - Stuart
Craig and James Hambridge
Costume Designer - Colleen Atwood
Director of Photography - Philippe Rousselot
Film Editor - Mark Day
Special Effects Supervisor - David Watkins
Visual Effects Supervisors - Tim Burke, Ferran Domenech,
Anthony Dunifer, Andy Kind and Christian Manz
Music - James Newton Howard
Composer: Theme "Harry Potter" - John Williams

The HARRY POTTER film series was thought to have been concluded when DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (click here) opened in July 2011 and put the future movies to rest before FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM was officially announced. Even after I had seen the prequel spin-off that is attracting a huge crowd while it is earning total income at the box office, I feel that FANTASTIC BEASTS should be another beginning of the franchise and was enough to expand the mythological aspects that glorifies the series of why they became such a phenomenon. J. K. Rowling is truly a writer who knows every spell of magic and is every step of writing a fantasy book or story to keep it treasured to all Muggles. David Yates returns to direct this feature, but you don't see many of the original actors around.

FANTASTIC BEASTS is a major assemblage of extraordinary visuals, bits of colourful laughter and an ensemble cast contained such celebrities as Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller whom all had a huge part to play with their characters. It is the noted English acting thespian Eddie Redmayne who gets the standout role of Newt Schamander, a misguided wizard who has to retrieve his magical creatures before they can unleash the dangers into both worlds. Redmayne was a generous actor who had just went through famous roles as Stephen Hawking and a transvestite and had the misfortune of being in an antagonist role in JUPITER ASCENDING (click here) was suited for the character with his awkwardness. Johnny Depp is featured in a surprised guest appearance of the film as the evil wizard Grindleward and I hoped to see more of his role in the upcoming sequels.

With the announcement of five more films in the series, I find that the first instalment is a great start and definitely worth-watching on its own merits. I look forward to seeing the magic again, if it greatly benefits the newborn franchise.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie