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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore | Breathtaking Visuals, Ensemble Cast and a Masterful Score

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Warner Bros. Pictures Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the newest and third instalment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise that truly recaptures the magic of a globetrotting adventure throughout the Wizarding World.

This magical adventure sends a team of unlikely heroes, led by Newt Scamander, on a mission that could spell their only chance to save both the wizarding and non-magical worlds. Each has a role to play in the covert operation devised by the ultimate wizarding mastermind, Professor Albus Dumbledore.

Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows that powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts in Newt (Eddie Redmayne) to lead this intrepid group of wizards, witches, and one brave muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore focuses on Albus’s past and answers questions we didn’t know during the Harry Potter films such as about himself and his family. Dumbledore has been one of the most major figures and a beloved character in the wizarding world for over twenty years. In the Potter books and films, Albus is charming, knowledgeable, mischievous, and all-knowing. These films showcase Dumbledore in a formative period, a period that will ultimately define the person he will eventually become.

Jude Law reprises the role of the wizard destined to be Headmaster at Hogwarts. He portrays the young professor perfectly and embodies the character and his flaws. With a glint in his eyes, there were a few nods to Harris and Gambon, especially the fatherly mischief each actor brought to the role. With Law, we’re able to unveil more of Dumbledore’s past and delve into his connection with Grindelwald as a young man and at the point where their relationship started to shift. Dumbledore is someone who encourages people to excel in their potential and abilities, but within him, he lives with dark secrets.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Many of the themes throughout the film focus on loyalty and misplaced loyalty, and also the ability to correct the errors one has done in the past and move on.

Grindelwald however is a wanted man due to his radical beliefs and violent tactics. In Secrets of Dumbledore, the powerful dark wizard has emerged from the shadows and is ready to implement his plot to gain control of the entire wizarding world and ultimately wage an all-out war on the Muggles. However this time he is not operating outside the law but within the system while twisting it to his own advantage, which makes him all the more dangerous.

Mikkelsen brings different elements to the table but is able to slip into the role quite naturally. He portrays Grindelwald with suave, charming charisma which certainly would convince viewers that anyone would be seduced by this alluring wizard.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Dumbledore is the one wizard with the power to thwart Grindelwald’s ambitions, however, there remains a physical manifestation of their previous relationship that stops him. The Blood oath is the embodiment of the bond between Gellert and Albus, an oath made through youthful passion and shared beliefs. Both wizards are each having to use others as means to opposite ends. Grindelwald cannot make a move against Dumbledore, but Albus is in the way of Gellert gaining absolute power.

Dumbledore formulates a plan that involves his friend and former student Newt Scamander, reprising the role of the Magizoologist Eddie Redmayne. We get to see Newt where he’s at his best and happiest- out in the wild, tracking beasts. Eddie is such a transformative actor and conveys Newt’s social awkwardness in contrast to his dexterity when he’s in the field.

Newt is joined by some familiar faces, including his older brother, Theseus (Callum Turner), Newt’s long-suffering assistant, Bunty (Victoria Yeates), Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) and Muggle Baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). A new witch to the group is Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, a charming charms professor at the American wizarding school Ilvermorny, played by Jessica Williams. It is Lally who must convince the reluctant Jacob to venture back into the wizarding world. Willams’s charismatic performance as Lally is why her character steals every scene. She is forthright and moral but also funny and honest and really just brilliant, would definitely love to see more of her character.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

These five disparate wizards, witches, and Muggle seem no math for Grindelwald and his entourage, which sadly now includes the love of Jacob’s life, Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) and the young man known as Credence whose real name was revealed in Crimes of Grindelwald to be Aurelius Dumbledore.

The ensemble also includes Richard Coyle as Albus’s brother, Aberforth Dumbledore; Poppy Corby-Tuech as Grindelwald’s loyal acolyte Rosier; Fiona Glascott as Minerva McGonagall; Oliver Masucci as Anton Vogel, the outgoing President of the International Confederation of Wizards; Maria Fernanda Cândido as Vicência Santos, running to replace him; Aleksandr Kuznetsov as Helmut, the head of the German Auror office; and Katherine Waterston, who briefly appears as Tina Goldstein.

The Secrets of Dumbledore also features a variety of magical creatures, both new and familiar such as the all-seeing Qilin, a mythological creature that is deer and Elk inspired. The Manticore is another beast that explores the fine line between comedy and horror. It resembles a cross between a crab, lobster, and a scorpion.

Newt is once again joined on the Adventure by Pickett, his brave and resourceful Bowtruckle, and the incorrigible Niffler, called Teddy is always the scene-stealer.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Fantastic Beasts continue the series’ tradition with the action taking place throughout new continents in the wizarding world. This globetrotting chase takes Newt and the rest of Dumbledore’s army from Great Britain to China, from New York to Germany, and from the Austrian Alps to Bhutan. We also return to the beloved Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and to the nearby village of Hogsmeade.

My favourite sequence is set aboard a luxury train car with a large interior of a first-class carriage.

The final screenplay was also written by Steve Kloves, who has a long tenure in the Wizarding World, having also written the screenplays for seven of the Harry Potter films. He’s a welcome addition to Fantastic Beasts as he course-corrects this franchise back to its original magical roots. Composer James Newton Howard has once again created a phenomenal soundtrack that underscores each of the characters’ adventures.

VERDICT

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was a FANTASTIC! globetrotting adventure through the Wizarding World. With breathtaking visuals, ensemble cast, & masterful score. Full of heart, humour, & plenty of magnificent creatures all deliver a Magical experience.

 

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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fantasy

Wonka Review | Delectable And Delightful

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Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Plot

Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

From Paul King, writer/director of the “Paddington” films, David Heyman, producer of “Harry Potter,” “Gravity,” “Fantastic Beasts” and “Paddington,” and producers Alexandra Derbyshire (the “Paddington” films, “Jurassic World: Dominion”) and Luke Kelly (“Roald Dahl’s The Witches”), comes an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor.

Starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Movie Review (no spoilers)

This movie is an adaptation of both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stories written by Road Dahl. The story takes Wonka on his journey into the world to start a chocolate business, but with all new ventures comes challenges, new friends and the obvious foes who will stand in the way of your dreams.

Timothée Chalamet delivers an excellent performance as Wonka alongside an energetic cast. I really enjoyed and appreciate the passion and energy Timothée brought to this movie. The choreography and the costumes was creatively done and on another level.

Wonka combines a feel-good story with musical elements, heartfelt messages and occasional humoristic elements from Hugh Grant. The story is as sweet as the chocolate and I hope that the factory will keep going as the story ends in such a way that it gives hope and the possibility of more stories and adventures of Wonka. 

No post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The movie trailer doesn’t spoil much of the main storyline. The movie has a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes.

I give this movie a 4.5 out of 5!

This movie made me feel like singing, and I leave this song adaptation for you:

“Oompa loompa doompety doo,”
At the movies I hope to see you,
“Oompa loompa doompety dee,”
Wonka’s movie, you must see!

Wonka Official Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)

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fantasy

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Part 1 Review: An Epic and Riveting Adventure Continues

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In 2019, Netflix struck gold with the epic fantasy series ‘The Witcher’ and viewers started thinking that the streaming platform might be close to getting a show as massive as ‘Game of Thrones’. The first season turned out to be successful, but it was the second edition that made everyone realize how the live-action series had laid the perfect foundation for something special. Almost two years after getting a glimpse of what Ciri could do with her powers, ‘The Witcher’ is back with another action-packed season that will captivate viewers with its masterful storytelling, thrilling battles, and impeccable performances.

Season 3 of ‘The Witcher’ picks up where the previous season left off, with Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), the enigmatic monster hunter, embarking on a new set of adventures, along with Ciri (Freya Allan) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra). This season, Geralt finds himself caught in a web of political intrigue as he navigates the treacherous world of the Northern Kingdoms. From the royal intrigues of Nilfgaard to the exploration of the elven past, the show seamlessly weaves together multiple narratives, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats and adding layers of depth to the already intricate plot. Apart from that, Geralt and Yennefer continue to do anything and everything to keep Ciri safe from the bad people.

Henry Cavill (Geralt), Freya Allan (Ciri), and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

However, one of the standout aspects of Season 3 is its exceptional character development. The fantasy series continues to explore the complexities of its main characters, especially Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. All the aforementioned characters undergo significant transformation throughout the season, allowing viewers to connect with them on a deeper level. Kudos to the writing team of ‘The Witcher’ who have done an exceptional job in fleshing out the backstories of all these characters and making them feel more relatable. Themes like destiny and the consequences of one’s choices are prevalent throughout the season. Some moments will make people realize the thin line between right and wrong by looking deep into the moral ambiguity of its characters.

Once again, the show is packed with epic action sequences that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From extraordinary sword fights to magical showdowns, the battles are nothing short of thrilling this time around. Visually, it’s stunning, and storytelling-wise, it’s more riveting than ever.

As far as performances are concerned, Freya Allan delivers another remarkable performance as Ciri and strikes a perfect balance between vulnerability and resilience. Meanwhile, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer displays how much she has grown as an actor. Season 3 explores the emotional depths of her character most effectively and gives Chalotra the bandwidth of showing her range. However, it is Henry Cavill who takes your breath away with a scintillating performance as Geralt of Rivia. From the very first season, Cavill has successfully embodied the larger-than-life character and this time around, he just knocks it out of the park by effortlessly embodying the brooding yet compassionate nature of The Witcher.

Also, the chemistry between the three leads drives the emotional core of the show.

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

All in all, Part One of ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 raises the bar, and every aspect of the show has improved significantly from its predecessors. Season 3 proves to be a worthy addition to the beloved series and if you are a fan of the fantasy series, ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 is a much-watch.

Come and immerse yourself in the magical world of Geralt of Rivia.

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