Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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I went to see Fantastic Beasts last Friday, and I absolutely loved it, so of course I had to make a review of it. My friend told me she spend half of the movie looking at me because my reactions (fangirling, swooning, getting excited… you know the feeling) where so entertaining. So you can say I absolutely enjoyed it. I honestly have nothing to complain about here. You know how they say, some stories stay with us forever… Well this one will most certainly stay with me forever! I really want to watch it again, but I will probably have to wait a bit. And I can’t wait for next November, obviously, because you know, the next movie is coming out!

First let’s talk about Newt. We all know him because he is the author of the Fantastic Beasts book, which was mentioned in Harry Potter, and then released as part as the Hogwarts Library. I read this book last summer (right before I started my blog, actually), and enjoyed it a lot. But this movie is not a book to movie adaptation, it is more of a movie about how this book came to be, and I really love the concept. Newt Scamander is a unique human being, who enjoys the company of magical beasts, though he is not so good in the company of humans. (I have seen some people mentioning that he reminded them of Hagrid, and that is an interesting observation. I have to say that I agree to some extent). So Newt, former Hufflepuff, thrown out of Hogwarts because he was taking care of a dangerous beast who harmed one of his classmates (see the resemblance with Hagrid here) arrives in New York with a magical case full of beasts, but we don’t really know what his plan is at first.

First thoughts:

* Finally a story about a Hufflepuff, my pride and joy!
* Thrown out of Hogwarts? That’s interesting. I had no idea. I want to know more… And see how far you can go without school!
* We’re up for some magic, I can’t wait!

We soon see that the protection of the case is not actually that good, and beasts go loose in the city. City which seems to be under attack by an invisible monster, threatening to reveal to No-Majs the existence of the Wizarding community… So Newt’s timing is not exactly the best.

Soon, we meet the rest of the characters, Jacob who gets hilariously entangled with Newt, Tina Goldstein the ex-Auror who spots trouble as soon as she sees Newt for the first time, and her sister Queenie who possesses an unusual power (I have to say that from the trailer, I thought I wouldn’t like her, but she was actually one of my favourite characters!)

And it doesn’t take long to realise that the dark matter at hand will be blamed on Newt, to hide the guilt of the true culprit, and the dangerous ambitions of some.

Before I continue let me say that this movie was full of magic and surprises, and I absolutely loved it. The music was also excellent, as usual with the Harry Potter franchise. And as a huge fan of Eddie Redmayne and Ezra Miller, I may be a bit biased, but their performances were absolutely excellent, as well as that of the rest of the cast!

I know some people didn’t like the movie for various reasons, but honestly, I totally enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I didn’t want it to be over.

Now I’m going to mention spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you can stop here.

If you carry on reading, don’t blame me later!

I could go on for hours on how cute, beautiful, incredible the beasts were, but what was even more incredible was the inside of Newt’s case! I think that we see him disappearing into it at some point in the trailer, but oh the wonders inside! So many beautiful settings! If I had a case like this I would never go outside again. (And Jacob trying to get into the case was a very welcome moment of comic relief.)

I really loved this movie because it was full of things I didn’t expect. It was so much more than what appeared in the trailer. And that was brilliant. I know from the posters that Ezra Miller was going to be in the trailer, but I hadn’t quite understood his role would be. Credence and his “mother” were for me an unexpected and incredible part of the movie. It is interesting to see the presence of witch hunting, which is something America has always been known for (Salem anyone). And it is interesting to see it still present in the 20s. Now, Credence’s mom (sorry I didn’t catch her name) is bat shit crazy, but she is at least right on one thing: wizards do exist. However she is a bad person, an awful woman, and I just want to punch her. She was an interesting addition to the story though… But not as interesting as Credence, obviously. When we learned that Graves was looking for a young person, I immediately thought it might be Credence. But then he called him a squib, and I was like?? What’s going on?? Though it explained his relationship to the magical world. But then, the truth was unveiled in the most amazing way… Though his ending was tragic, I really liked Credence (and I really appreciated the mention of the Deathly Hallows).

We know from the beginning that something is up with Graves, he tries to blame all the crazy stuff on Newt, and always seems to know more than he lets on. He even tries to get both Newt and Tina killed (a whole new level of crazy). I suspected he might be a disciple of Grindelwald, but I have to say, I totally didn’t expect him to actually be Grindelwald, so that was an interesting plot twist. And I know a lot of people complained about it, but I have to say, Johnny Depp is not the perfect cast as Grindelwald. I would have expected a younger actor, a charming young man… I totally didn’t picture him like this so I am a tad disappointed… But we will see more of him in the next movie, so I will have to wait and see to make my final judgement.

What else did I want to mention? Aside from the ending, obviously. Well this movie was much darker than I had expected, it had some interesting political stakes that I hadn’t suspected at all, and that were very welcome. It’s a change from what we saw in Harry Potter, but also a very pleasant return to the magical world.

And finally, the thing that broke my heart the most: the ending. First, we have to let Credence go. Then, in the most heartbreaking scene ever, Jacob says goodbye to his newfound friends – he is probably Newt’s only friend or almost, and his relationship with Queenie was the most adorable thing, why would you do this to me?! And then, we see Newt leave America after saying goodbye to Tina in the most cute and awkward scene ever… My heart was broken into a million pieces by this ending. This movie made me feel so many things, I am now even more in love with the Wizarding World than I ever was.

5 out of 5 stars, obviously ♥

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts? Please, let’s talk about it in the comments!

(Ps: I have so many things to say about this movie, I could honestly talk about it for hours, but I think this is already the longest article I have ever written, so I will just stop here…)

Discussion: Read the book or watch the movie first?

I had this discussion the other day with my family and I decided to make a blog post out of it because I find it is an interesting topic to discuss, especially as a book lover.

We were talking about The Giver since my little brother had to read it for school. His teacher advised him to watch the movie first, so he did. My grandmother believes it is better to watch the movie first, and then read the book. However, I don’t agree, and I think it’s better to read the book first (and this has nothing to do with the fact that the movie did not exist when I read The Giver back in 8th grade.)

As a matter of fact, watching the movie before reading the book is something that happened to me more often than I wish it did. (Some examples are The Hunger GamesThe Perks of being a Wallflower, and The Silver Linings Playbook, which I saw in the cinema, while I only read the book recently.) Now that I think of it, it also happened with TV Shows, since I watched Game of Thrones and The 100 before reading the books (and I have completed neither of those book series).

However, I regret it now, and I think reading the book first is best.

I think movies are usually a great way to complete the book, helping the viewers put images to the stories they read (I hope I am making sense here…) This is something that really struck me when I read, then watched Room, by Emma Donoghue. The movie really helped me picture the story, how small, and crappy the room was, and how awful a person can look after living like this for years. This is not something that felt really clear in the book, and the movie really helped. But I think it was better to watch the movie afterwards. In general, I think the movie is a kind of bonus, to bring you more magic, more elements. But book adaptations are not things of their own.

You can argue that watching the movie first will allow you to go deeper into the story when you read the book afterwards, but to me, that is not the best solution. I think that since the book was there first, it should be read first. I know that many people have watched the Harry Potter movies and never read the books, for example, but I think that’s a pity. Watching the movie first is like reading spoilers before finishing the book.

Again, there are lot of good points to book adaptations. Like, it can help promote the story. And then people will read the book. People hear that the movie will be coming out soon, and decide to read the book before the movie (that’s the reason why I finally read Miss Peregrine’s). The movie can help the book get more audience. I personally have heard of some books through their movies (The DUFF, for example, which I still haven’t read, shame on me.)

But overall, I still believe that reading the book first is better. To some extent, it is because of my love for books. But it is too because the movie is an adaptations. Isn’t it better to know the “real story” first?

Anyway, that’s my opinion, and I would love to have yours! Please, share your thoughts in the comments!

Room: Book vs. Movie

Room

I read Room by Emma Donoghue last month (or rather, listened to it on audiobook), and then I watched the movie, and I still haven’t talked about it on here, so I thought it was finally time.

Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Book rating: ★★★★☆
Publication year: 2010
Author: Emma Donoghue
Movie rating: ★★★★☆
Release year: 2015

The story:

Jack is turning five, and he has never left the room he was born in. He lives with his mother, who has made everything possible for him to be satisfied with this small world they cannot leave. Every night, Jack goes to sleep in the wardrobe, and Old Nick comes to so his mom. However, as he grows up, Ma feels that soon, it won’t be enough, both for him, and for her.

My thoughts:

I thought that Room was an absolutely incredible and unique story. It was a “serious story” but it was allso very moving. It is told through the eyes of Jack, which was in my opinion a really interesting take. The audiobook was narrated by a child, and it was really easy to get into the story. The only thing that frustrated me is the fact that since Jack has never seen anything outside of Room, he doesn’t want to leave, and can get really whiny about it, and as a reader – and of course someone who knows the world is big and incredible – this can get a bit frustrating. But I guess it also makes sense, even if it’s hard to imagine not knowing about the world.

I had only heard good things about this book, and I can confirm it was amazing. My only regret is that I would have loved to get to know Jack’s mom a bit more, and to know what she thinks.

I think the movie was great as well. It gave some visual contents to what I found hard to picture sometimes, like how small the room was, and how terrible the conditions were. The movie stayed true to the book most of the time, even if some things were missing, and I missed them, but of course this is part of making a movie adaptation. If you have read the book, I really recommend watching the movie as well.

Beware, the next paragraphs may include spoilers!

I really loved how Jack’s relationship with Leo (step-pa) developed. I think it was really interesting, and somehow allowed him to have another role model than his mom. In outside, everything is new to him, and Leo and his grandma are really welcoming, and it’s hard to bond at first, but I really liked how their relationship evolved.

One more thing I missed in the movie is the fact that Jack’s uncle and his family were completely absent, and that was a pity. We also missed all the time where people were mistaking him for a girl, and all the fuss about his hair which was, I thought, an important part of the book. Also they added a friend at the end of the movie, which was, I thought, a really great touch! Though maybe it was a bit quick, but I thought the movie did a nice job. They appropriated the story to themselves, and did something a bit different, maybe, but good all the same.

End of spoilers!

Overall, it was a really interesting story. It is not funny or anything, and somehow different from what I usually read. But it was a really great story and I definitely recommend it.

The Little Prince: Movie Talk

The Little Prince is a great part of my childhood. My mom read us the book several times with my brother when we were kids, and my grandma loved talking about it. I even did a dance show based on the story!

I used to think it was a serious book, and I didn’t like it that much. I guess I couldn’t understand it fully. As I grew up, I discovered how important it was. It’s beautiful, and yes, part of it is serious, but in a good way. It makes the reader think, and dream, and that’s what makes it beautiful.

I recently saw an exhibition about The Little Prince and its author, Antoine de Saint Exupery, who led a fascinating life between the sand and the stars, between life and death, as he was reckless. (I talk about it here)

This made me want to watch the recent adaptation by Mark Osborne (it was released in 2015) and I finally did…

“What’s essential is invisible to the eye.”

I really need to reread the book someday, I think I’ll finally be able to fully appreciate it…

But first of all, here is the trailer:

This movie is actually some kind of retelling of the story, where the main character is a little girl with an ambitious mother who moves out next to an aviator, who wrote the story. They meet, and he brings her into his magical world…

What I liked the best is probably how beautiful it esthaetically was. Really, you can see it just from the trailer.

I also like the turn they took on the story, it was rather smart and original, and this way it did feel like more than what we knew, and I liked that.

My rating: 4,5 stars

The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because I didn’t like the little girl’s mother… But I had such an amazing time watching this, I really recommend it to anyone! It’s the perfect thing to watch with your family, because it’s a story that brings something to everyone…

It was also lovely to see how it was after the actual story of the little prince, and learn more about him, even if it was a complete other fiction… That’s why I love retellings so much.

Feel free to ask questions and share your opinion below!

Allegiant: Book vs. Movie

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Okay, brace yourselves because I’m going to talk about the Allegiant Movie!

First of all, I read the book last summer, and I was not entirely satisfied with it, so some parts of the movie didn’t please me obviously because of the same reasons. Some things changed, and I did not really like them. And some other things changed which I really liked!

You can read my review of the book here. Now let’s get to business and talk about the movie!

WARNING: SPOILERS

First of all, I’m still mad because Uriah is not in the movie. Okay, maybe we saw his face once or twice. But what’s the point, really? He’s such an important character in the book. First of all, because he is Tris’s FRIEND. Okay, that’s important. And second of all because he is also Divergent and it was an important issue for him in the books, and it’s really a pity they didn’t put that in the movie. Yes, I know they can’t put everything in the movie. But they separated it into two parts so they could have made an effort (or put him in the story as an important character from the beginning…) It’s also a pity they took Cara out because it showed that (apart from Caleb) there were also other (ex) factions willing to go beyond the wall. But I don’t think her character was that important so I’m not going to complain too much about it…

Aside from that, I really liked the dynamic of the group going beyond the wall. I don’t know, they had something, and it was really enjoyable to watch. (Except that Tori died, which was awful, but I knew that would happen… *cries silently*)

Something that struck me is that they didn’t talk about the Allegiant before going beyond the wall (or did I miss something) which was weird because it was part of the reason why they left…

What else did I want to complain about? Yes, the fact that the world was not the way I pictured it at all. But that’s my problem and it’s not important.

They also suppressed more characters and changed the way they escaped the city, but it was pretty badass, so I won’t complain either.

One thing I liked for sure is the moments between Tris and Four (because they didn’t fight as much as in the book, which was terribly annoying). And you can’t deny that they have an amazing chemistry. It’s lovely to see a great YA story without a love triangle!

I also wanted to add that overall I really loved the cast! I obviously love Shailene Woodley and Theo James, but I also love Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz and Miles Tyler, I think they are excellent in their jobs, and I love those characters, probably even more in the movie than in the book (even if they’re flawed, they feel so human). Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer are also excellent (I really like Johanna, and I think I have never mentioned it so you definitely needed to know it!) Bill Skarsgard was also an excellent choice for Matthew, I think he really turned out well in the movie! Jeff Daniels also does an excellent job as David, who appears trustworthy at fist and then not such a good character (and I’m staying polite there). Finally Nadia Hilker does a perfect job as a ruthless Nita, and I liked her better than in the book.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say. I really liked the last 20/30 minutes of the movie because it started having a lot of action. I loved the beginning too, actually, my favourite parts are definitely when they are in Chicago.

Overall, I like the changes they made, and I’m definitely curious to see how the last movie will turn out! Hope I won’t get disappointed!

Rating: 3,5 stars

I know I’m not so good at writing reviews, but I still wanted to give my opinion… Feel free to share yours in the comments!

The Giver: Book vs. Movie

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I know there was a lot of hype when the movie was realeased, but I never actually got around watching it until yesterday. However, I read the book when I was in middle school (for school actually) and it has left its mark on me. I read the other books of the quartet, but they didn’t leave such a lingering feeling on me. This one really did make me think. It was a truly amazing book, and interesting, and fascinating, even if some parts were a bit disturbing – but dystopias usually are.

Warnings:

Might get a bit spoilery!

This is as much of a book vs. movie article as it is a general talk about the story and my opinion on it. If you have read/seen it, feel free to share your thoughts!

Genre: Fiction, Dystopia, YA

Book publication: 1994

Movie release: 2014

Book Rating: ★★★★☆

Movie Rating: 4.5 ★

Yes, I actually did like the movie more than the book!

Why, I hear you ask? Because first, the actors are excellent. But that’s not all. We get to see things in the movie that weren’t made clear in the book, and I thought it was a nice take. The book is mostly centered on Jonas, but in the movie we get to see more about the Giver, about the Elders, and the situation in the community. I think that was really interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, but this completed the story in a way, and turned out rather well.

The only thing I regretted is that they didn’t show that much pain in the memories of the movie, while in the book, I remember reading more about pain. But everything cannot be put on screen, and I know screenwriters have to make choices: striking choices here, and therefore great choices.

I also noted the fact that they made Jonas and his friends older, and I know they often do this in movie adaptations (i.e. Percy Jackson). It may be criticized, but I found it rather fitting. It makes things more plausible, and gives a more mature turn to the story. So once again, nice choice.

Visually, the movie was really beautiful. The image of a black and white world slowly becoming colorful was really nicely done on screen, I really loved that aspect. I thought it was powerful, and really left an impact. It really showed the dystopian aspect of the story, and how much the society was changed.

What else can I add? Yes, I cried at the end of the movie. I watched it with a friend and she was like WTF girl? But I thought it was really beautiful and emotional.

The ending too, was really good. It was a kind of schock for me in the book, even if I could understand. What I regretted was the fact that we didn’t know what would happen to the community. And this was not the case in the movie, which I really appreciated. We still don’t know what happens to Jonas and Gabriel, but I think the movie’s ending is more hopeful, and I really liked that. Of course, we only see colour coming back, but this means that memories/emotions are most likely back as well, and even if we don’t know how the community will deal with it, or if Jonas actually made it alive, I thought it was more positive, more hopeful in the movie. Yes, this probably has to do with the fact that society needs its happy endings in story, but what can I say? I like to have my hopes up.

General opinion on the story:

First of all, I like the fact that even if the story is about 20 years old, it doesn’t age at all, and still feels actual and/or relatable, in a way that the problematics it arouses still feel very actual. A world without pain and suffering seems really tempting, and so does a world were no one is sad, and everyone is equal. But is this really the solution?

Some people might answer yes. I wouldn’t, and this book is trying to prove that this fake world doesn’t make us happy. It doesn’t allow us to be whole, to be human. Because humans are supposed to have feelings, to have emotions. Even if it’s not always pleasant, they should be able to feel love and pain. They should be able to get happiness without a medicine making their feelings asleep.

I think this story is really poweful, and really believe everyone should read it! I know there are more and more dystopias today, but I believe this one is different. It really makes the reader think, and meditate about our values, in a way that will always seem actual. Because everyone feels concerend when it comes to happiness and equality. And this is exactly why you should give it a try.

The Hunger Games series: Books and Movies

Rather than a Book vs. Movie article, this is going to be more of an ode to the great series that is the Hunger Games. Yes I finally saw the last movie today. (And yes, my eyes are swollen, I should probably rather by lying in the dark rather than sitting in front of my computer screen, but of boy, it was worth all the crying.)

I am a big fan of The Hunger Games, if you didn’t know that already. However, I was a bit late on the train. I first watched the first movie, and then I wanted more. I borrowed all the books from a friend when I was in senior year of high school. Catching Fire got me crying at 2am and texting her to bring me the last book the next morning at all cost. (They all got me crying in case you were wondering, but the ending of the second book was such a schock!)

And I have to admit, the movies are pretty good adaptations.

Truth is, I don’t really know what to say here, except that I love this series a lot. The Hunger Games introduced me to other dystopian YA such as the Divergent series, and made me love the genre. I am so glad I read those books, they are absolutely brilliant (and a sadly rather good reflection of our society). The Hunger Games is also what got me into tumblr. Whithout this series, I would probably not be writing a bookish blog today, and much less having a bookstagram. I owe a great deal to these great books. (And I need to re read Mockingjay in January absolutely, I have been meaning to do that for months, which you may have seen on my TBR posts…)

Anyway.

My favourite book of the series is Catching Fire, and it’s also my favourite movie because it is such an amazing adaptation. It really struck me as so.

Special mention to Mockingjay part 1 though because I saw the premiere in Paris last year, and even if the actors were not there, it was such a great experience!

And I almost forgot to mention how great the soundtrack of all the movies is. I can’t get enough of it. (And don’t say I’m biaised, it’s amazing!)

To go a bit further in my opinion. I’m not a big fan of Gale, but I have to say Liam Hemsworth portrayed him amazingly! (Which means that he annoyed me just as much in the movies as he did in the books, but I still love him as an actor.) I’am a big fan of all the actors, what more should I say?

This series is something that changes you, that makes you think. At least, that was the case for me, and I believe that was the point too. It’s a bit traumatizing, but it should not be seen as bad. Yes, there are teenagers killing one another in an arena. But there is more than this. Why? First, because they don’t have a choice. It’s a reflection on society, on how to live correctly in a society. It’s a reflection on reality shows, and human beings in general, and all of it makes it immensely precious.

Through the books we can see how Katniss evolves. It’s clearly visible in her narration, and overall her reactions and decisions. Yes, she sometimes has a bad temper. But doesn’t she deserve it after all she goes/went through? She is definitely one of my favourite characters ever. And so is Peeta by the way, I barely talked about him. He is so precious, and I share Katniss’s opinion in every way when she says she wants to protect him. Cinna is also one of my favourite characters. And I love the evolution of Haymitch, Effie and Primrose (loud crying in the background). And of course, Finnick is amazing, his death was such a schock. Like, I didn’t even realise it. I carried on reading and then I was like, wait, where is Finnick and I went back and realised he was actually dead…. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SUZANNE COLLINS HOW DARE YOU

Nevertheless, it was an amazing trilogy with amazing characters, and it’s a bit sad that this adventure is over, but as the saying goes, some stories stay with us forever, and this one sure will. And I will most likely reread the books and rewatch the movies, and make my kids read the books if I ever have kids. I truly hope the world never ends up so messed up. (It’s enough of a mess right now… I wish people were smarter, but ranting about our messed up world is not the point of this article).

One more thing: I heard a lot of people complain about the ending (both in the books and the movies, since anyway it stayed true to the book). But personally I believe that Katniss and Peeta deserve a happy ending. And I do believe they are a perfect match. A display of peace and happiness doesn’t hurt anyone, and I’m so glad Suzanne Collins had her series end like that!