Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spoiler-Free Fantastic Beasts Review

So just when we all thought JK Rowling was done she decided to roll out “The Cursed Child” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (and two more movies to come). So now I’m gonna go ahead and give you, as best I can, a spoiler-free review on this new addition to the Harry Potter world. As I’ve said in previous reviews, I’ll avoid spoilers, but if you’re super sensitive to spoilers, just know that this movie is very recommended to any Potterhead out there, no matter which house you belong to. #Gryffindor #Thunderbird

Side note for Whovians: Picture Newt Scamander
as the Doctor as you watch the movie. I'm partly
convinced he's a future incarnation of the Doctor.
I really liked how this movie made a clean introduction to the American wizarding world. Taking this movie from the perspective of Newt Scamander, we got the same British perspective that we’ve had since the first Harry Potter book. Slowly we were introduced to the American wizarding world, drawing comparisons between Muggles and No-Majs (I still don’t like that term), Hogwarts and Ilvermorny, and the Ministry of Magic and MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America). A lot of these details were revealed previously on Pottermore (a good summary of the difference between British and Amereican can be found here). However, you don’t need to read Pottermore or that article to understand what’s going on. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, you’re well on your way. Just get ready to learn some new vocab.

Also, for not knowing any of these characters beforehand, they did a good job of developing so many characters. It’s uncertain how many of them will reappear in the second movie, but I’m hopeful that at least some will return. Based on some information from Pottermore, I’m confident that at least a few will return, so that we can see some relationships play out.

Can we just talk about how cute the Niffler is?
Perhaps it was because this movie takes place in the Harry Potter universe, but I kind of expected the movie to be unresolved at the end, leading into a sequel. However, this movie was tied up wonderfully. If this had been the only movie, instead of a trilogy, I’d be satisfied. However, I could still see a couple loose-ish ends that could be pulled at and fleshed out for another movie. I have a hunch as to where the third movie will end, but that would involve spoilers regarding the end of this movie, so I’ll refrain. Feel free to message me if you want hear my theory.

Basically, as I said at the beginning, this movie is well worth watching for any Potterhead and possibly for non-Potterheads (I can’t say, because I’ve been a Potterhead for most of my life). Go and see it and then let me know what you think. What are you looking forward to seeing in the next Fantastic Beasts movie?

Just one of the "Fantastic Beasts"

PS: In the meanwhile, while we wait for movie #2, you can buy a copy of Newt Scamander's book (complete with doodles and notes from Harry and Ron) and learn about some of the magical creatures that may appear. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Spoiler-Free Doctor Strange Review

It’s been a “strange” weekend already. And that’s also the fourth time I’ve used that pun, so I won’t do it again. Doctor Strange was amazing and just like with Civil War I’ll try to keep this review spoiler free. If you are super sensitive to spoilers, don’t read past this paragraph. Overall, this is a great movie for big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s also a great movie for someone who’s never seen another Marvel movie before. As far as Marvel movies go, this one could be its own standalone movie as well as part of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, I’d recommend it to anyone, Marvel fan or not. Side note: There are two credits scenes, so don't leave until you've watched both bonus scenes.

As far as more specifics, I liked the comedic timing of this movie. There were a few times that the confusion about the mystic arts set up for some awkwardly funny situations. Just the fact that magic was about made it easy for some comedy to pop up occasionally. Comparing it to other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies on a scale of seriousness-silliness (from The Incredible Hulk to Guardians of the Galaxy), I’d put it around the same kind of humor as Ant-Man. And I loved Ant-Man.

It was interesting to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s character development throughout the movie. Previously I’d only seen him in “Sherlock” and “Star Trek Into Darkness”, so his characters were pretty one-sided in my opinion. Without going into much detail, it was cool to see him play such a spectrum of personality in one character. When I do my MCU post about this movie I’ll go into more depth, but suffice it to say that it was well done.

The movie also had some other great actors. Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer) and Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One) were amazing. Like Cumberbatch, McAdams has proven to be a versatile actor, having played vastly different characters from Christine in “Mean Girls” (as Regina George) and “Sherlock Holmes” (as Irene Adler).  I’d also only seen Swinton in “The Chronicles of Narnia” (as the White Witch), so it was nice to see her in a different kind of role. These two women were probably my favorite characters in the movie. Deep and developed, despite not being the main character.

What was your favorite part of Doctor Strange? If you haven’t seen it yet, go buy your ticket and go see it. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Costumes of Halloweens Past

I’ve written before about my hobby of cosplaying. It started mostly with Halloweens and then it kind of evolved more into a Comic Con thing. Starting when my buddy Garrett got back from his mission in Chile, we started dressing up together. After he got married, I started dressing up with David. So here’s a glimpse of my past for you, to see what we’ve done over the past five Halloweens.

2012: Super Mario Brothers
Fake mustaches (though Garrett could have grown a real one), overalls, long sleeve shirts, and the hats. One of my favorite costumes I’ve done. Now if I could just figure out a better way to do the mustaches, I’d be good to go. We’ve reused these costumes for Mario Kart parties and for Comic Cons.

2013: The Two Doctors
After getting into Doctor Who, Garrett and I began collecting pieces for our Doctor costumes. Since he could grow sideburns, he got to be the Tenth Doctor and I lucked out finding the tweed jacket for the Eleventh Doctor. The Eleventh Doctor costume is one that I love reusing for Comic Con. We also used these costumes for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special when we saw it in theaters. Garrett’s girlfriend (now wife) joined us as a Dalek. Later, for a Comic Con, David joined me as the Ninth Doctor.

2014: A Charming Bromance
I had the inspiration after getting David into Once Upon a Time and growing to love Hook as a character. David and I premiered it at a Halloween party that year and had to show off a little at the Disney Store as well. We reused these costumes for FanX that spring, but I haven’t used it much, since I don’t like going through all the trouble of getting my makeup done.

2015: The Spirit of Adventure
David and I had the idea for this costume after meeting Dug at Disneyland a month before FanX and it wasn’t too hard to put together after that (I already had Carl’s tweed jacket from my Doctor costume after all). We premiered it at Comic Con and reused it for Halloween that fall. Best part was visiting some friends and my friend Julie was dressed as Kevin… so Kevin is a girl?

2016: Team Cap
We’d already done our Team Cap costumes for FanX this year and for the Comic Con screening of Civil War, so it was perfect to use for Halloween this year. Of course, since Marvel is owned by Disney, this warranted a trip to the Disney Store for the third year in a row.

Besides these, I’ve also dressed as Matt from Digimon for Comic Con. Now I’m already brainstorming what new costume I can debut at FanX in a few months. What do you think I should dress as for FanX and/or Halloween next year?