By: Sara Abbazia
Winter is the time of year where we have a ton of days off from school because it barely snowed an inch and the buses won’t run, or the power went out for a couple of hours but was back on by 8. It is a terrible time for learning, but a great time to unwind a little. After you’re done staring at the ceiling, imagining scenarios and conversations that will never happen, baking cooking just to eat the cookie dough, and screaming at your sister because she won’t stop drop-kicking your phone, you might feel a little bored. Why not spend a couple of hours at the movie theater?
Now, I know that the snacks are ridiculously overpriced, and you’re mostly there to watch the previews; however, going to the movie theater can be a rewarding experience- as long as you choose the right movie to watch. I have seen plenty of movies recently, and I know all of you want nothing more than to hear my completely biased opinions of them (because let’s face it: objectivity is not nearly as entertaining as blatant favoritism)- so without further ado, here are four movies I have seen recently!
*Note: These are relatively spoiler free, but read at your own discretion*
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I saw this movie with a group of friends, and let me tell you, they did not want to hear any criticism of the movie. They loved it, and had already seen it twice or something. As we exited the theater, one friend asked me, “So, how did you like the movie?”
“Well, I have some complaints…”
*Cue instant groaning from everyone and some shouts of “Why are you like this?!” *
Don’t get me wrong, the movie was nice. The set design was amazing (like most Harry Potter movies), the costumes were classy, and the beasts looked- dare I say it- fantastic (okay, I’ll stop, you don’t have to yell).
However, I didn’t love the movie. I think a major part of this was that I guessed most of the plot twists prematurely, which made the suspense and drama of the movie less enjoyable. Also, for me, the two main characters, Newt and Tina, were not nearly as memorable as most of the secondary characters- Jacob, Queenie, the creepy family, the director of Magical Security, and so forth.
Finally, there were a ton of loose ends that were not tied up, which made me quite upset since those aspects were the parts of the movie that I actually cared about. I later learned this was because they are making five more movies, but I think that these missing plot points would have made the first movie more satisfying.
If you are a huge fan of the lore of Harry Potter, you will probably love this movie and enjoy sitting through ten more hours of the series. I myself am not completely enamored, but I am curious about what is to come in the future.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
An important fact to know before I start the review: I had never read the book series that this movie is based off of before seeing the movie.
The movie starts out like most teenage dramas: the mopey main character doesn’t fit in, he finds his grandpa dead in his backyard, he goes to England and finds a boarding school filled with strange kids… you know, the usual.
Despite this boring introduction, the movie actually does pick up. You meet a variety of kids with really cool character designs and personalities- a teenage girl with an airy voice and steampunk-esque lead shoes who can float, an invisible boy who is dressed quite dapperly, a kid who is the literal embodiment of a PowerPoint projector, and so forth. Miss Peregrine, played by Eva Green, is perfection- her voice, leather clothing, and handiness with a crossbow made her my favorite. Also, time travel and time loops were a huge focus of the movie- and I absolutely loved the bizarreness and thought process the movie uses to explain this. My only complaint was that the actor who plays the main character, Jake, is not exactly… good. During the scene where he finds his grandpa in the woods, the lack of emotion and general concern in his voice was a bit laughable. Who knows – maybe the kid was having a bad day, and the director was like, “Yeah, good enough, let’s get to the part where kids start shooting flames out their hands and stuff.”
However, before you jump out of your seat to rent this DVD from Blockbuster, let me remind you of two things: one, Blockbuster does not exist anymore (which is a real shame), and two, my sources tell me that this movie is almost nothing like the book. Usually I am the one who complains about movies, but this time, it was my little sister. Apparently, the movie completely switched two character’s roles, drastically changed the abilities of a couple of kids, edited the plot points of multiple books together, and changed some of the mechanics of the time loop. As a result, while I found the movie engaging, my sister found it a bit confusing and distracting. Oh well!
I was never too deeply involved in the Star Wars franchise before The Force Awakens came out. I might have seen a couple of the old movies, and I knew the basic storyline, but nothing beyond that. Then, The Force Awakens change my point of view. Action! Suspense! Actual representation and diversity! Space shenanigans! Cute little robots! Tears! Laughter! Adventure!
Rogue One kept all of these elements to make a dramatic, suspenseful, and hopeful prequel to the Star Wars series. The characters were well developed, the storyline was complex but not impossible to follow. The only bad part is when you see Leia onscreen and remember that the talented and inspirational Carrie Fisher is no longer with us…
If you are hesitant to watch the movie, just remember that I went in not knowing that much about Star Wars and still had a good time. Of course, just remember that this is a prequel to the original series, or something like this might happen to you:
My Mom: “Honey, why is Darth Vader back? I thought he was dead? Is there a new one?”
My sister, probably: “No MOM these events take place before the original 1977 film, so Darth Vader would still be ALIVE, UGH you’re so UNCULTURED.”
Alright, it’s time for a story.
I kept bugging my mom to take our family to see this movie, because I saw potential – but she gave me the look where she just smiles and nods and has no intention of following up, because it’s just a movie about singing animals, we could just watch literally all the other movies with anthropomorphic animals who behave like humans (seriously, there are a ton).
Then, when I finally managed to get us to see the movie, everyone was like, “Oh my gosh, that was such a good movie!” and I was like, “Yeah, I know.”
Do you like singing and music? Of course you do. Do you like characters that struggle with the expectations of their parents and want to follow a different path? Do you like seeing people overcoming emotional neglect and a lack of self-confidence? Do you like seeing people from completely different worlds bonding together over a common cause? The answer is absolutely yes. Just trust me.
Of course, these movie reviews are simply my opinion, and are just meant to help you make an educated decision whenever you need to watch a film to escape the confines of reality. Feel free to send me a strongly worded letter if you disagreed with my opinion. Now, go watch some marvelous movies!