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November 18th, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, and more.

Directed by: David Yates Written by: J. K. Rowling Cinematography by: Philippe Rousselot Music by: James Newton Howard (Main Theme by: John Williams)

Premise: A socially awkward wizard from Brittain comes to New York on an errand. Unbeknownst to him, there is a lot of unrest in the city as various unexplained phenomena have the citizens growing ever more alarmed. This, in turn, has raised tensions amongst the wizarding world as they fear they'll be exposed to the no-mags (muggles) - something that could very well lead them to war. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Eddie Redmayne was adorable as Newt Scamander. Despite his awkwardness around people, it's fun watching him get pulled out of his shell by a most unexpected acquaintance - the muggle Kowalski. Dan Fogler does a great job as Kowalski. The audience shares his wonder and awe as he's shown the secrets of the wizarding world. Watching his relationship shift and change with Newt, Queenie, and the animals is a lot of fun. And he'll steal your heart when you're not looking. Katherine Waterston as Tina did a great job as well. Her focus shifts and changes as she follows her heart despite all she's done to do the exact opposite. Alison Sudol as Quennie added a lot of charm and a smile with a ton of wattage. Colin Farrell was slick and oily as the head Auror Graves.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects for the film were lovely. All the creatures were fascinating, and several tried to steal the show. :) Lots of creativity went into them. Some resembled familiar animals while others were different from anything seen before.

The inside of Newt's suitcase was a wonder all by itself. Somewhat like the owner, a shabby exterior holding endless wonders within.

Several cool sequences of repair magic. The cooking scene in Tina and Queenie's apartment was super neat and warm.

The rebuilt New York of the late 20's looked fantastic. And expect even more once you go into the wizards' government building!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The film contains all the things we've come to know and love about J.K. Rowling's universe. Loveable underdog characters, sinister plots, hidden social commentary.

The film explores multiple themes. The disappointing second child, social awkwardness, being taken advantage of, getting condemned without being heard or understood, and more.

A ton of red herrings and several surprises abound. Watching the chaos and funny antics by Newt's charges are half the fun.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Awesome work on all the locations real and imagined. Beautiful shots of the city, underground areas, central park and more. I loved the recreation of the New York Zoo. The shots inside the wizarding building were also quite amazing. The varied fake worlds inside Newt's suitcase, even more so.

5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The hair styles, the clothes were all very 20's. Great job with the look and feel. The makeup work on Credence Barebone and Grindelwald were very apt and creepy as well. :P

Conclusion: Fantastic Beasts and Where They Come From is a great addition to the Harry Potter Universe. Strong enough to stand on its own as well. Very enjoyable.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

I would also highly recommend the movie "Arrival" - got super dizzy from a bad case of sinus so didn't get to post a review! Great SF!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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