TV News – Iain Glen On Game of Thrones

After waiting since 2017 for Game of Thrones to return, we are just days away from the premiere of Season 8 which will be the final season of this fantasy TV series. One of the cast members who has been a part of this HBO television show since the beginning is Iain Glen who plays Jorah Mormont. In an interview with Collider, Iain Glen had the opportunity to talk about Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones

Here is what Iain Glen had to say on what it has been like to be part of one of the biggest TV shows ever made:

It’s been fantastic […] I did a head count, and there’s only between 12 or 15, who were in the pilot and every single season. There are not too many of us, which is good, and even less who were a part of every season, through this season [..] It’s been a really joyous journey.”

It’s now perceived as a massive, global hit, but I remember the days when we thought, ‘What the hell are we doing?!’ We were half-way through the first season thinking, ‘Are we just making a pile of poo?’ […] And then, over the seasons, the belief and faith in it grew, and our faith in ourselves grew. It was probably half-way through Season 3 or 4 that we thought, ‘We’re actually onto something here.’ It’s been an amazing journey to go on.”

As an actor, every job that you do, you give it your best shot, but you have no idea how it’s gonna get received. So, when you end up with something that is received incredibly well, is universally critically approved of, and is a massive commercial hit, then you better friggin’ enjoy it because it doesn’t get any better.”

The fact that it’s not just for a film that’s there and gone, but for a drama that’s kept coming back for almost a decade, it’s been a very special time, for us all.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Film/Movie Review) – Trash of the Highest Order

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a fantasy film directed by David Yates with J. K. Rowling returning to write the screenplay for this sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It is the second instalment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the tenth in the Wizarding World franchise that began with the Harry Potter movie series.

The Crimes of Grindelwald features a large ensemble cast that includes Kevin Guthrie, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Callum Turner, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne.

The story of this movie focuses on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). He is instructed by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to help take down the escaped dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

My Expectation For Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The mixed reviews for The Crimes of Grindelwald were a real disappointment to see. I wanted to go into this film full of confidence that it was going to be good but I could not muster any optimism. My pessimism was also influenced by the fact that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did not hold up on a repeat viewing.

I still think the first Fantastic Beasts film is a decent movie but it was not as good as I remembered it to be when I first watched it in 2016. Consequently, my expectations for The Crimes of Grindelwald were pretty low. Still, surely the film could not be as bad as some of the reviews made it out to be.

My Thoughts On Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is absolute trash. A bad and boring first and second act are topped by a gigantic turd of a third act that had me crying with laughter at its absurdity. The whole cinema was silent and I could not contain myself; I was streaming tears with how ridiculous the last half-hour of the film was.

In its defence, there are things in The Crimes of Grindelwald that I thought were positives. No one gives a bad performance and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore is the standout. He is very good as Dumbledore and everything in the first and second act that had to do with him and Hogwarts was enjoyable to watch.

Indeed, the best scene of the film is when Dumbledore solemnly looks into the Mirror of Erised. This was a great link to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the Dumbledore/Grindelwald relationship. It was a great piece of visual storytelling.

The Negatives Of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

However, there is more bad than good in this film so let us move on to everything else in The Crimes of Grindelwald that ranges from bad to atrocious. For one, the film is woefully paced. I mentioned earlier that the first and second acts are boring and this was all down to how sluggish this film feels. For a lot of the time, it was a real struggle to be engaged with what was happening in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

I also thought that a decision made by Queenie (Alison Sudol) came out of absolutely nowhere. The reasons for this decision being made were not established well and it was one of many examples of the overall poor storytelling in this film. Still, the biggest crimes that The Crimes of Grindelwald commits is how, firstly, the universe is made smaller by ridiculous twists and connections between characters that contradicts established canon.

Indeed, it was a certain exposition scene which explained a mysterious part of the plot that started off my uncontrollable laughter but I was already laughing at parts of the film prior to this. The other huge crime is that this movie is not fun and for a Wizarding World film to not be fun is an utter disgrace in my opinion.

I also thought the lighting was awful. I was straining to see what was going on at various times during the movie. All of these overwhelming negative aspects absolutely establish Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as the worst film I have seen in 2018.

Fantastic Beasts 2 The Crimes of Grindelwald Film Movie Review

 

The Shape of Water (Film Review) – Well-Made But Not Best Picture Worthy

The Shape of Water is a fantasy drama directed by Guillermo del Toro which stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins. The story of the film takes place in Baltimore in 1962 and focuses on Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), a mute who works as a custodian at a government laboratory where experiments are being conducted on a humanoid-amphibian named The Asset (Doug Jones). Elisa befriends the creature and their relationship develops into something much more than a friendship.

My Knowledge and Expectation of The Shape of Water

I would consider myself to be well above what a casual film fan is. I have seen a lot of films over the years but even I will acknowledge that I have a lot of gaps when it comes to films I need to see. This is certainly the case when it comes to films made by Guillermo del Toro. Before seeing The Shape of Water, I had never seen a Guillermo del Toro film. While this is a shocking statement for those of you who are die-hard fans of this director, this reality only increased my excitement to see this film. I treated The Shape of Water as an event because it would be the first Guillermo del Toro film I would see.

Moreover, the unanimous praise The Shape of Water had been getting from film critics and fans quickly made this film one of my most anticipated films since Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I could not wait to see what looked like a highly original story in a film which has been nominated for and won numerous awards. Indeed, it won Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. The cast for The Shape of Water looked great on paper too which cemented my belief that everything was in place for this film to be amazing.

Doug Jones as The Asset and Sally Hawkins as Elisa in The Shape of Water

My Thoughts on The Shape of Water

My expectations were high and, sadly, not fully met. I liked The Shape of Water but it is one of a vast number of good films that I have no real inclination to see again. I was not as emotionally moved as I wanted to be by the story. Still, I would be lying if I said that you cannot admire many things about this film. The truth is that you can, especially from a technical level.

Certainly, technical elements of The Shape of Water such as the production design and cinematography were absolutely fantastic. The score by Alexandre Desplat was very good too and it felt like its own character within the film. All of this made The Shape of Water feel very atmospheric which I appreciated.

The Performances in The Shape of Water

The performances were another stellar quality of The Shape of Water. Sally Hawkins gave a unique lead performance and made it look easy when it came to communicating without speech. One scene she had with Richard Jenkins’ character about The Asset and her connection to him was a real highlight in this regard.

Richard Jenkins as Giles and Doug Jones as The Asset in The Shape of Water

Still, my favourite performances in the film were given by Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon. Jenkins provided needed moments of levity with his character’s dry sense of humour and I really liked his relationship with Sally Hawkins’ character. Michael Shannon gave a completely different type of performance to Jenkins but he was incredibly captivating nonetheless. Make no mistake, Michael Shannon is terrifying in The Shape of Water, especially as the film progresses to its conclusion.

My Final Thoughts on The Shape of Water

Thanks to the technical qualities and performances in The Shape of Water, I was never bored during my viewing experience. The film always had fluid momentum and purpose. Yet, at the same time, I was not blown away from an emotional viewpoint when it came to the story.

As such, I have to put The Shape of Water in the same group with other films such as Phantom ThreadCall Me By Your Name and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as films not worthy of their nominations for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. I appreciate The Shape of Water more than I actually like it. In the end, it is a good film but I was not as emotionally affected as others were by it and I am not in a huge rush to watch the film again.

The Shape of Water Film Review Pin

Game of Thrones: Season 7 Episode 1 (Television Review) – A Brilliant Start

After what seems like an eternity, HBO’s Game of Thrones is back with its seventh season. Since the pilot was released in 2011, this fantasy show has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. I started watching Game of Thrones after the third season had ended and, since then, I have become obsessed with it. Without a doubt, this is the most cinematic show that I have ever watched and I love the lore, the story, the characters, the world; pretty much everything. Even the weakest seasons of Game of Thrones are still fantastic television to watch.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Season 7 Episode 1 of Game of Thrones

With all of this in mind, I could not wait to watch the next instalment in this brilliant TV show. ‘Dragonstone’ was the title of the premiere episode of Season 7 which itself would only have a total of seven episodes rather than the usual ten. As a result, I felt that, as this season progressed, the pacing would be much quicker than we are used to. Additionally, I believed that there would be more action too as the War for Westeros would be the primary focus of Season 7 of Game of Thrones.

Indeed, Season 6 of Game of Thrones finished with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) sailing across The Narrow Sea towards Westeros in a bid to reclaim The Seven Kingdoms. We also saw Jon Snow (Kit Harington) being proclaimed the King of the North although his focus is on the wider picture. Indeed, the looming threat of the White Walkers is what will ultimately shape the fate of Westeros and he is well aware of the danger that they pose.

White Walkers in Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone

I could not wait to see how ‘Dragonstone’ would play out and to be reunited with characters that I love. Jon Snow is one of my favourite characters but others such as Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), The Hound (Rory McCann), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and, obviously, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) all rank very highly for me. I was eager to see their stories continue in Season 7 and I was expecting the consistent brilliance of Game of Thrones to continue.

My Thoughts on Season 7 Episode 1 of Game of Thrones

I was not let down. ‘Dragonstone’ was a brilliant way to re-introduce us to Game of Thrones and setup the rest of Season 7. Obviously, the opening scene of this episode got us right back in the groove and gave us a fantastic moment that, I would argue, is a sign of things to come (It’s death, by the way). Moreover, it gave us a great character moment with a certain Stark who I feel will play a big role in Season 7.

Jon Snow and Sansa Stark also had important moments in this episode that signalled the tension that is brewing between them. They both want the same things but have different methods and I believe that, unless they can unite over the threat of the White Walkers, then they will slowly become more at odds with each other. Additionally, it does not help when you have Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) around at Winterfell to scheme and make things even worse in order to help his own agenda.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone

While doubtful, I hope that Jon and Sansa will still be united as Season 7 progresses. I have to say that Kit Harington and Sophie Turner are brilliant in their respective roles and their performances have got progressively better as Game of Thrones has gone from season to season. Their characters have been well-developed too and I still have no idea how their arcs will come to an end.

The Humour

An element of ‘Dragonstone’ that was a wonderful surprise was the amount of humour in this episode. Clearly, whenever The Hound is in an episode of Game of Thrones he is going to deliver some amusing moments due to his blunt and unforgiving nature. Still, he also went through a lot of great character development in this episode. The Hound has come a long way since Season 1 and I hope that we see more of him in Season 7. I also loved the montage scene that Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) was the unfortunate victim in. The comedic nature of the editing in that scene was brilliant but I did feel for him because he was in the shit (Literally). Still, the moment that had me in stitches was the moment between Tormund and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie).

In Season 6, we had brilliant moments between these two characters such as this:

Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane and Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones Season 6

And who can forget this:

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth and Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane in Game of Thrones Season 6

And now we have this to add to the wonderful collection:

Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane and Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone

I pray that the “blossoming” relationship that these two have will be developed much more in Season 7. A relationship that seems to be on the decline, however, is the one between Jaime and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). All signs are pointing towards a split between them. We can see that Jaime is unimpressed with Cersei’s plans and attitude. Meanwhile, Cersei seems entirely devoted to revenge, no matter the cost. I could see a situation where history repeats itself with Cersei descending into madness and Jaime killing her to save scores of innocent lives, effectively becoming the Queenslayer. We will have to wait and see what develops in this particular story-line of Game of Thrones.

No Negatives

Honestly, I cannot fault ‘Dragonstone’. While I have seen some criticism about how this was a slow, setup episode, you need this at the start of a season of television to re-introduce us to the characters, the world and lay the foundation for what is to come. The only criticism of this episode which I can fully understand was a certain cameo which could have taken one out of the episode. For me, it did not because the scene, which involved Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), was a nice, human moment and it was refreshing to see.

Dragonstone in Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone

Additionally, I thought that the way this episode ended was perfect. We see Daenerys return to Dragonstone, the home of House Targaryen, which brought us something that we have been waiting for since the beginning; her return to Westeros. I loved the quiet, atmospheric nature of this scene and it closed out an episode which sets the stage for a great season of Game of Thrones (Let’s be honest, every season of Game of Thrones is at least great).

Beauty and the Beast (Film Review) – A Wonderful Adaptation

Beauty and the Beast is a musical fantasy directed by Bill Condon and is a live-action remake of the 1991 Disney animated version. The film stars Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Dan Stevens and Emma Watson. The story of the film is based on the 18th century fairy-tale and focuses on Belle (Emma Watson) who is imprisoned in an enchanted castle by the Beast (Dan Stevens), a cursed prince. Belle is also pursued by Gaston (Luke Evans) who wants her hand in marriage.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Beauty and the Beast

This film is continuing the recent trend of Disney remaking their animated classics into live-action films. The only one I have seen is The Jungle Book which I really enjoyed and I expected the same from Beauty and the Beast. Now, I do not have the same emotional attachment to the animated version that a lot of people do, simply because I only saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago (I know, I know). I really liked the animated film but I do not see it as the masterpiece that a lot of people do which meant that I did not expect this live-action remake to be a masterpiece either.

Emma Watson and Kevin Kline in Beauty and the Beast

My Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

I know I am in the minority, but this live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, to me, is better than the animated film. That’s right, better. The main reason why this is the case is down to the way in which this film vastly improves on a major part of the animated version. This was the building of the romance between Belle and the Beast.

One of my issues with the animated film is that the romance between Belle and the Beast in that film felt very rushed. In the live-action remake, Bill Condon adds new story elements to develop both the characters and their romance which makes their budding love more natural and believable. Condon take his time with telling the story in this film and, for me, this was something that the live-action remake improved on the original.

The production design on Beauty and the Beast is phenomenal. The costumes and the sets were awesome and the way that the practical effects blended with the CGI was brilliant to see. While that was brilliant to see, the new songs were brilliant to hear. While the classics songs such as ‘Be Our Guest’ and ‘Tale as Old as Time’ will always be the best, I really liked the new songs.

Luke Evans as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast

The Cast

The cast were great too. While Emma Watson’s singing in the film is not as good as Paige O’Hara’s from the animated film, she is good as Belle but my highlights in Beauty and the Beast were Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as Lefou. Their chemistry was great, they embraced their roles and they were a joy to watch as were Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor as Cogsworth and Lumière.

To be honest, I cannot find anything that I did not like in this film. Truly, Disney has continued where they left off with The Jungle Book and created another great live-action adaptation of one of their classic animated films which, for me, is better than the animated version. If you have not already seen Beauty and the Beast, then see it as soon as you can because you will not be disappointed.

A Monster Calls (Film Review) – Decent Yet Disappointing

A Monster Calls is a fantasy drama directed by J. A. Bayona and stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson. The story is centred on a young boy called Conor O’Malley, played by Lewis MacDougall, who has to deal with the fact that his mother, played by Felicity Jones, is dying from cancer. Additionally, Conor is struggling with being bullied at school. Conor comes across a monster, voiced by Liam Neeson, who tells him stories and aids Conor in fixing his unhappy life.

My Knowledge and Expectation of A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls has been receiving a lot of buzz since some critics were able to see it as early as the summer. As such, this was a film which had pushed itself to being one of my most anticipated, especially when you consider how talented the cast involved in this film is. Certainly, Felicity Jones is getting stronger and stronger as an actress and when you have Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson involved in any film, it will only increase your expectations.

Sigourney Weaver and Lewis MacDougall in A Monster Calls

My Thoughts on A Monster Calls

Sadly, the high hopes I had for this film were not met. While I believe that it is a decent film, it failed to emotionally captivate me as it has with other people. Still, there were some things I liked. What I really appreciated about A Monster Calls were the impressive visuals. The monster looks stunning in this film and the animation they use to tell the monsters’ stories are also very impressive.

The performances in A Monster Calls were also good. MacDougall is impressive for a boy of his age, Neeson’s voice work is solid while Felicity Jones plays the supporting role she has to the best of her ability. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have seen more of Sigourney Weaver and Toby Kebbell as I was intrigued by their characters the most and I felt they were underused in the film which is a negative aspect of the film.

The Monster and Lewis MacDougall in A Monster Calls

However, my biggest gripe with A Monster Calls was that it tries to tug at your heartstrings to an extent where it feels really forced. It was like the film was screaming “CRY NOW!!” and it felt very unnatural for my liking. This will not be an issue for a lot of people but I have to give my honest opinion about how I felt about this film. At what was supposed to be the film’s most emotional moments, the majority of them fell flat due to how it tries too hard to manipulate the audience which really disappointed me, especially as I had such high hopes for this film.

Consequently, I have no intention of re-watching A Monster Calls. While I would encourage you to see this film to form your own opinions, I myself only consider this film to be decent. While it is visually impressive and the performances in this are good, certain characters were under-utilised and the film tries too hard to showcase its emotional core and force it onto the audience. This left me very disappointed but, like I said, I think you should go and see it for yourself as I also believe the problems I have with A Monster Calls will not be issues for a lot of people.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Film Review) – A Great Film That Expands Star Wars Lore

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a space opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker and Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. Rogue One is the first stand-alone film in the Star Wars universe and takes place just before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. The story centres on Jyn Erso and her journey to obtain the plans for the Death Star which was unwillingly designed by her father Galen Erso, played my Mads Mikkelsen.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Rogue One

It is fair to say that this has been my most anticipated film of the year. In fact, every year that a Star Wars film will be released will automatically make it my most anticipated film due to my love of the franchise. I grew up watching the Original Trilogy on VHS (yes, the version of the Original Trilogy before it was ruined by the Special Editions) and that was really the basis for my love of film in general.

I owe this franchise a lot of gratitude even though it went through a very rough patch with the Prequels and the constant and unnecessary tinkering to the Original Trilogy with the Special Editions. For a time, that did leave me in a state of uncertainty about how Lucasfilm could recapture the glory days.

However, my faith has been restored in recent years. Under the ownership of Disney and the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm delivered a great film with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They have also been gradually giving hardcore fans such as myself with new canon material that is finally coherent and on an equal level of importance as the theatrical films. They have done a good job of paying homage to the Original Trilogy while setting up exciting new narratives.

Death Star firing on Jedha

Consequently, I was really eager to see if Rogue One would continue the great work that Lucasfilm has been doing so far. Going into this film, my experience would already be enhanced due to the fact that I read Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, a book which came out a month before Rogue One was released.

The book is set before and ties into Rogue One by focusing on Galen Erso, his relationship with Orson Krennic and the Republic’s, and later the Galactic Empire’s, project to develop the Death Star. It was a really good book and I learnt a lot of back-story to Rogue One which I hoped would enhance my appreciation of what would be a great film.

My Thoughts on Rogue One

My hopes were realised. Rogue One is a great film that really expands the lore of Star Wars. Truly, this film ties in really well to A New Hope while giving us new information and a greater perspective of the wider universe. For instance, seeing the Empire and the Rebel Alliance be fleshed out was great to see. We get to see the extent of the Empire’ s control over the galaxy while also seeing that the Rebel Alliance are not the altruistic good guys we always thought they were. The way in which this film enhanced our understanding about the Empire and the Rebel Alliance was a really strong point about the film.

Another great thing about Rogue One was the ensemble cast who gave really good performances. Felicity Jones and Diego Luna are great as Jyn Erso and Cassian Endor respectively. But, the standout characters for me were the droid K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk, and Chirrut Îmwe who was played by Donnie Yen. K-2SO provides some really humorous moments with the dry delivery of his lines while Chirrut was an absolute boss in some of the action scenes while having a spiritual connection to The Force.

Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe on Scarif in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I also liked Ben Mendelsohn’s portrayal of Orsen Krennic and his strained relationship with Tarkin which, if you read Catalyst, was established in that book and developed in this film. And yes, Tarkin is in this film and I thought the use of him was necessary given his connection to the Death Star and A New Hope. At the same, it was organic as it could possibly be given the fact that Peter Cushing, who played Tarkin in A New Hope, is no longer alive.

Tarkin is played by Guy Henry whose face is digitally manipulated to resemble Peter Cushing and, for me personally, the CGI used to accomplish this is the best I have seen in a film so far. True, it is not flawless but it never took me out of the film. In fact, it enhanced Rogue One for me and the same can be said when the technique used to bring Tarkin back to life was used on another character towards the end of the film. Again, it was another example of how successful Rogue One was in tying into A New Hope.

Darth Vader

Still, while Tarkin is a great villain and was used well in this film, one villain will always stand head and shoulders above the rest. Of course, I am talking about Darth Vader whose role in this film, while small, was very impactful. Certainly, I was captivated whenever he was on screen with one scene in particular instantly becoming one of my Top 10 scenes in Star Wars history.

Additionally, James Earl Jones came back to voice Vader and he did a really good job too. Selfishly, I would have loved to have seen more of Vader in this film seeing as he is my favourite Star Wars character and the greatest villain of all time. Still, his role made sense within the film. Moreover, it was another great way in which Rogue One tied into A New Hope.

Darth Vader and Orsen Krennic in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Additionally, the use of cameos of characters from A New Hope in Rogue One was also a nice nod to the fans without feeling forced. Still, there is plenty of stuff within this film that has never been seen in a Star Wars film. For one, the variety of locations we got to see in this film was great to see, the cinematography is the best we have ever had in a Star Wars film and the action in Rogue One is fantastic. Certainly, there is great action throughout but it reaches its peak in the final act, especially with the space battles which are stunning.

As well as being a great action film, Rogue One is also quite emotional when it matters, especially in relation to Galen Erso and Jyn Erso. It is even more emotional if you read Catalyst. Indeed, hardcore fans of Star Wars who are immersed in the new canon will appreciate this film to a much greater degree due to the references and links to the wider material that is available.

A Great Film…But Not Perfect

As you can see, I think Rogue One is pretty great but I do feel that, like every film, there are some minor flaws. For one, I thought the text used in the title for Rogue One at the beginning of the film could have been much better. I’m not sure why they could not have used the same text for Rogue One as they did for the other films in the franchise. Also, I thought the score, composed by Michael Giacchino, was just okay. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad and at certain moments it is very effective but I struggle to think of a memorable piece of music from it.

I would have also cut out one scene involving a CGI creature which I thought was unnecessary but these are my only issues with Rogue One and they didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of it. Moreover, I might not see these as issues upon multiple viewings of the film. One thing I will mention though is that I can completely understand if people are upset with the lack of an opening crawl. I respect the fact that some will have an issue with it but, for me personally, it never held the film back from being as great as it is.

X-Wing in Battle of Scarif in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Overall, Lucasfilm has once again given us another worthwhile entry in the Star Wars franchise with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While there are minor issues, there are plenty of great things in Rogue One to help it achieve the tough task of expanding the lore of Star Wars while making sure it both ties into A New Hope and enhances it in the process. The great action, the cinematography, the strength of the ensemble cast, the characters, the use of Tarkin and the CGI used to bring characters like him to life as well as the added bonus of Darth Vader make this a great film which you need to see as soon as you can.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Film Review) – Wonderful and Vibrant

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fantasy film directed by David Yates and stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Colin Farrell and Eddie Redmayne who plays the lead as Newt Scamander. The story follows Newt, a magizoologist who journeys to New York City with a briefcase full of magical creatures, some of which have been accidentally set free which causes havoc across a city which is no stranger to magical disturbances. This film is a spin-off prequel of the Harry Potter films. It is the first instalment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the ninth instalment in J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

My Love of Harry Potter and Expectation of Fantastic Beasts

I have to say, Fantastic Beasts had a lot to live up to. This is due to my belief that the Harry Potter film series is, in my opinion, the greatest saga ever. All eight films in that series are, at the very least, very good and this consistency of greatness is quite a remarkable feat considering how other franchises struggle in this regard.

Dan Fogler, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston in Fantastic Beasts

For instance, Star Wars has the Prequel Trilogy (and the Special Editions but that’s another discussion), the Middle-Earth film series has the Hobbit Trilogy and Indiana Jones has Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to diminish the quality of their respective franchises. Harry Potter had no films which were bad. They were all quality films and, going into Fantastic Beasts, I hoped that this streak would continue.

My Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts

I am absolutely thrilled to say that I had a fantastic time with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is a wonderful film that has great characters. Certainly, Eddie Redmayne is brilliant as Newt Scamander who fitted into the world seamlessly and his little quirks in the film made his character really likeable. Still, while Redmayne is great, the character of Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler, was my favourite part of this film. He is really funny in Fantastic Beasts and gives the film a lot of genuine heart.

Additionally, the strength of the script, which was written by J. K. Rowling herself, is also a standout in Fantastic Beasts. Rowling successfully expands on the lore of the Wizarding World she created and crafted a story which is able to stand on its own two feet while, at the same time, able to set the foundation for future instalments. I also liked how the different stories within Fantastic Beasts all linked well with each other once the film had ended.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Moreover, I thought that David Yates did a great job directing this film. He is no stranger to this franchise. Indeed, he directed the last four Harry Potter films and was able to continue his great work by creating a vibrant film in Fantastic Beasts. Certainly, the visual effects were really good and none of the CGI took me out of the film. I was captivated throughout.

Fantastic Beasts had a tough task on its hand to follow the brilliance of the Harry Potter film series and be a film which sets up a franchise while still being able to stand on its own two feet. For me, it succeeds on all levels. An entertaining story supplemented by great characters and great visual effects makes Fantastic Beasts a film which continues the greatness of the Harry Potter film series and makes me really excited for future instalments which can really build upon what was established in this film.