7 THINGS THAT I’D LIKE TO SEE IN AN UPCOMING FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM FILM

So here it is. The first Fantastic Beasts was a good effort for a first screenplay and a crowning achievement for the CGI team, but as a film it was… fine. It went on too long and wasn’t bad, but lets face it if it didn’t have the Potterverse brand it would be pretty much nothing. And yet we’re getting a load more of those films. So, what could help bring them up to scratch? Well here’s my top 7 things I’d like to see in the upcoming films. Warning, spoilers for Fantastic Beasts ahead.

1. A LOT OF COLLABERATION WITH OTHER SCREENWRITERS

Yeah, JK Rowling knows how to created a brilliantly set up mystery and well executed mystery, but cinema is a very different beast and though FBAWTFT was pretty good for a first screenplay, her lack of experience really shows. The aid of a more polished screenwriter would have gone a long way.

2.PAY FULL ATTENTION TO THE WORLD ENDING THREAT

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The biggest problem with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them was that it didn’t focus on its main plot. It had one of the darkest moments in the entire franchise- the cruel death of an abused kid with learning difficulties- yet I felt nothing for him because the movie didn’t build that moment up. The main plot was relegated to the sidelines and seemed superfluous until the end of act three where we learnt it was the main plot.

Instead we got endless hijinks with magical creatures which went on for far longer than it needed to. Seriously, the film was less focused on the main quest less than I am when I’m playinjg The Legend Of Zelda. In fact, that’s what this film felt like! It was basically Scamander pissing around trying to round up all the Cucco’s and then thinking ‘oh yeah, Ganondorf Grindewald is trying to take over, better actually do something! Dubious deus ex machina away!’ At the last minute. I bet she could have made that work as a novel, but in the tighter confines of a screenplay it felt unfocused.

3. A SAVAGE EDITOR

Yeah, at least 10 minutes could have been cut from the gotta catch em all magical creature league. A really harsh editor would help. Maybe the lady who edited Fury Road? She did an excellent job and it sounds like she had her work cut out for.

4. BETTER FEMALE INCLUSION

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Poor ol’ Hermione. She really was the only female in class worth our attention.

Females often get sidelined in mainstream media (although this is greatly improving), so when you see female writers like Meyers , Rowling and Cassandra Claire create such lackluster female characters, you can’t help but think ‘why’?

Don’t get me wrong, Hermione was great (though mainly because the movies toughened up her character and transformed her from the nag who puts a damper on the boy’s fun to a badass whose friendship is valued equally to Ron’s). But she was the only central female until Luna came along. In the Harry Potter series, if you named the 10 most plot central characters (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Voldemort, Snape, Sirius, Hagrid, , Draco, Neville), the only female you would get would be Hermione… okay and maybe Professor McGonagal, though all her importance comes from being Dumbledore’s 2IC. In Fantastic Beasts our two female leads included basically Scamander’s sidekick and another beauty who gets paired with an unattractive guy (because you shouldn’t judge on looks… if you’re a woman. Men get to choose mates based on looks all the time, but if women hold men to the same standard, they’re vain).

To be fair, all of the leads felt a bit one note throughout the film- except the muggle. But in future films I hope we have more active and complex female leads who are on par with the complexity of characters like Snape and Sirius Black.

5. MAKE UP FOR ITS LACK OF POC CHARACTERS

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The only thing even more abysmal than her track record for female characters is her track record for POC characters. While if you named the top 10 most plot vital characters you would get one female, you would not find a single POC on there. In fact, I’m not convinced that you’d find one on the top 20 most plot vital characters- as although Shacklebolt became Minister of Magic, lets face it, he was the least prominent Auror and didn’t make too much of an impact by himself. In FBAWTF we have a euthanist and an incompetent Black Boss, as well as some random background characters, and you really can’t pretend to say your series that tackles prejudice if your cast list is whiter than Trump’s cabinet picks. It sounds harsh, but true; allowing the audience to sympathise with the victims of prejudice only when its happening to someone like you does not challenge a damn thing.

Rowling, you are such a good ally on Twitter. Lets see that reflected in your films. Be the change you advocate. Give your POC fans the chance to finally see themselves in your universe, and give POC actors the chance to prove shine alongside their white counterparts. Who knows… perhaps we could have a daring Indian/ middle Eastern guy who could be a jerk with a heart of gold who one day could be future Aladdin.

6. TREAT DUMBLEDORE THE SAME AS YOUR LEADING STRAIGHT CHARACTERS

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Yoda once wisely said ‘do, or do not. There is no try.’

Either make Dumbledore’s sexuality a vital, represented part of his character the same way sexuality is important to every straight character in the Harry Potter and FBAWTFT series- or just say flat out it’s not going to happen.

If she doesn’t want to do that, then fine, stop giving LGBT fans false hope and stop with vague statements and taking credit for something that was scribbled on the character notes which failed to make it into the main story (which is what Word of God is).

7. KEEP UP THE BRITISHNESS

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With everything centred around North America and having to listen to the words ‘white picket fence’ over and over again (most boring fantasy ever), Hogwarts always was a breath of change and fresh air. It was just so British, and even if we’re with the North American wizarding world, a parallel world where the Americans are the grounded, level headed ones (come on, Americans, you know you deserve a bit of ribbing after voting in your new Commander In Tweet!) I hope it remains so.

TRAILER REVIEW: THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

Okay, so here we have the trailer for 2017s Oscar bait- a feel good film set in World War II about the actions of One Good Woman who shines a candle of light in the darkness of the worst time in European history.  Cinematically, it looks pretty crisp; bright colors and beautiful visuals that keep it uplifting in spite of its subject matter and its operatic choir tells us how important it is. It’ll probably be a good a film- these kind of films usually are, even if we all would secretly be watching The Avengers.

This is an interesting time for the film to come out; only a few years ago- no, everyone a few months ago-   would be in agreement saying ‘yup: internment camps, concentration camps and the holocaust was shit, thank God we’re all past that’. But not at the moment. Now we live in a time where the rhetoric has gotten so nasty, that it’s given licence for people to indulge in the worst of human nature- the KKK is no longer just a fringe relic, swastikas are now beginning to emerge again.

In this climate, even a film as innocuous as this will be controversial, and it wouldn’t surprise me if its inevitable academy award wins will be deemed as ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’. We’ll just have to wait and see how the traditional Oscar Bait will be recieved in this climate

FIRST LOOK: Full Metal Alchemist The Movie (2017)

It’s a great year for anime adaptions. Ghost in the Shell is getting a movie, there’s another Death Note film being made in the USA, where hopefully the monsters will look less like they came from a low budget PS2 game. Now, Full Metal Alchemist– the series that spawned two of the most beloved shounen anime of all time- is getting a live action film.

I like the look of Edward Elric, who has hair of a true anime hero which must take hours each day to do; however, I am suspicious why we didn’t see him use his Alchemy and just got a load of cutting from Edward to the alchemy symbol. The huge cast of fleshed out characters and the nuanced portrayal of conflict where even the big bads seemed somewhat humanized, can’t make a mark in just an hour- but they could at least make with the cool battles we loved to watch? This better not be like ATLA where it was just a bunch of guys fusing their mind powers to fling rocks around which made you wonder why they didn’t just throw the things. Hopefully its budget will be better than this trailer suggests, so I shall move forward sceptical but not without hope

Also, is it somewhat weird that Attack On Titan and Full Metal Alchemist were set in Europe (or vague European land) and its made by and filled with a load of Japanese people (though this is accurate for Mikasa), while Ghost In The Shell and Death Note  are Japanese but filled with white people?

 

FIRST LOOK: Ghost In The Shell Full Trailer

 

Another trailer and we’ve got a clearer idea of what the film is going to try and do. Rather than going for say, The Laughing Man storyline from the anime, or looking into the original manga for some good storylines, it seems like a straight up remake of the amazing original film.  That could be a problem- because its setting itself against an impossibly high bar. The film was groundbraking in its use of animation, and it was a film that was subtley harrowing, a film you felt rather than saw. I think that this version is going to be very Hollywood and lose its depth.

First off, the Americanism really, really shows. We’ve got a clearly Japanese setting, full of Japanese cyberpunk visuals (more reminiscent of Western works like Bladerunner or Neuromancer than anything from Japan), and yet we have a white woman running around speaking in an American accent, a bunch of white and black people with Japanese names blasting things in the most Hollywood style possible. The Japanese visuals they do show- the Geisha and the Carp- seem pulled out of Japanese culture rather haphazardly with little thought to their meaning or context aside from ‘ooh, this looks cool and Asian’. While the original Anime subtly emanated Japanese culture through its world (or Hong Kong in the case of the original movie), this feels more like a Tourist Shop vision of Japan. Beautiful, but ultimately lacking meaning behind the Geishas and kimonos.

Second, it looks like we’re getting a more emotional- and very human, very feminine-Major. Part of the conflict of Ghost In The Shell was that with all that remained of her human biology being a few brain cells, was she even still human or had she become more machine. A very cold, detached Major was more profound because it really made her question of whether her humanity was lost in all the wires, all the shells, all the more real. As for gender, Major Kusanagi, a female in the highly male dominated Japanese police force, was the most powerful and the most traditionally masculine one there; it asked questions like ‘was Major always a woman, or did she have the brain of a man?’ ‘Without hormones or a male and female body, which you could chose at whim, what did gender even mean anymore?’

A more emotional, vulnerable Major is perhaps more human and easier to emphasise with and more accessible to a mainstream audience, but it loses so much of the point and the conflict of The Major’s character.

All in all, it is still just a trailer and I will reserve judgement on the film, but so far it looks like it will be a very cool Hollywood film that copies the look of the original, but doesn’t quite capture what made it more than just another sci fi action.

 

FILM REVIEW: ZOOTOPIA

Zootopia is the perfect animated film; funny, smart, gorgeous, full of likable characters and containing a clever message about prejudice and stereotyping that makes it a film for children and adults alike. The story begins with Judy Hopps, possibly a contender for world’s most adorable bunny (and new queen of the furries, but that’s something I try not to think about). She is determined to overcome the stereotype of ‘dumb bunny’ and become the first rabbit officer in Zootopia, a place where any animal can be anything they want to be. Or so she was brought up to believe. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: ZOOTOPIA

Did you know Shere Khan had a Disney Villain song?

Oh the things you find on the internet…Shere Khan was one of Disney’s finest villains and even though he only showed up for a tiny percentage of the film, he was built up to be such an object of fear that when he appeared, by God, was he magnificent in all his foppish, British gloriousness.

Yet, this great villain never had a Villain song-  Even Evil Winnie the Pooh got one, but Shere Khan? Nada. Apparantly, Jeremy Irons is the only evil feline that’s allowed to express his evil intentions through the medium of song. At least, until this happened:

Continue reading Did you know Shere Khan had a Disney Villain song?