Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

The most positive thing I can say about this film? They tried. They really tried hard. They tried to build off the amazement of the first film, create their own story, set up a universe, and tie it into the Harry Potter universe. They really tried. The trouble is; they failed. Badly.

It’s like they didn’t really care that much, to the point where it seems like bad fan fiction. They didn’t care about carrying on the legacy of the first film, the ending of which was slightly heartbreaking and sweet and wonderful and completely undone within the opening 5 minutes of this film. Let’s remind ourselves of what happened at the end of the first film: Grindelwald is captured, and Dan Fogler’s character has his memory wiped. Opening of this film; Grindelwald escapes, and Fogler’s character didn’t actually lose his memory (this is explained in the worst bullshitty way possible, that’s so bad I won’t spoil here, but needless to say there is no way it was planned).

They didn’t care about creating their own story, a lot of issues people have bought up about this film have had people respond with “but it might pay off in a future movie”. No, fuck that. It’s okay for a film to be part of a series, but it needs to stand on its own two feet to be considered worthy. It’s fun to bingewatch a movie series, but if bingewatching it is the only way the movie is good, then you’ve failed as a writer.

They didn’t care about setting up a universe. As mentioned before, so many of the moments which are intended to set up the universe, just end up being annoying and frustrating the audience.

They didn’t care about tying into the Harry Potter universe. They messed around with McGonagall’s age so that she’s middle aged and working at the school before she should even be alive. They made Nagini human, which kind of makes Neville Longbottom a murderer, and COMPLETELY changes the nature of Voldemort and Nagini’s relationship, makes a it a lot creepier. It’s a bit odd really as both of those things didn’t need to be done. McGonagall being there didn’t add anything to the plot and nothing would have been lost if they just made her a completely different character. Nagini, also, never really came into the plot. They also don’t seem to understand the Mirror of Erised, treating it like a magic flashback machine.

There are other issues with the film too. A lot of the action scenes aren’t really very cinematic, and consist of people waving their arms about as pretty lights go around. It’s not an action sequence, it’s a light show. It also has an ending that’s so bad I’m not going to mention it.

 

 

Actually you know what? Fuck it I’m mentioning it. It turns out Ezra Millers character is Dumbledore’s brother, no, not the one who got caught doing things with goats, the other one, you know, the one that has NEVER been mentioned or even alluded to at ANY point. Yes, it surprises me, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. If I ordered a pizza and got a piece of shit, I’d be surprised, but I’d also be annoyed and feel cheated. And that’s how I feel about this movie, I expected pizza and got a turd.

I feel it has to be said that Jude Law does make a GREAT Dumbledore in the extremely few moments he’s in this film. If it was focused more on him, I’d have enjoyed it a lot more. Also, the set design is BEAUTIFUL, the whole universe looks fantastic. It also has just enough charm to carry it through the worst parts. And finally, whenever I type the title of this film into my phone it autocorrects it to “Fantastic Breasts”, which makes me laugh as it sounds like something from Wallace And Gromit.

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“Cracking breasts”

I know it seems like I’m being overly harsh on this film, and I am. But it should be better. I’m not expecting it to be the best film of all time, but I’m expecting internal logic and consistency. People have been following Harry Potter for years now, and it deserves a lot better than this.

How We Got Through…January 2017

Let’s face it, this year has not got off to a good start. Not even a month in and we’ve already lost John Hurt, our governments have been so devastated by that news that in tribute they’ve decided to turn the world into a fully interactive version of 1984 running 24/7  . In times of crisis we have two options; we can either 1) Help solve the problem. 2) Ignore the problem and lose ourselves in film, television, video games and music. Obviously we did number two. So here’s how we got through the first month of this year

Film

A Monster Calls

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This is not an easy film to watch on an emotional level, one of the few films I’ve seen lately that seeks to emotionally blackmail the watcher. Definitely the best looking film I’ve seen at the cinema this year (note: it’s the only film I’ve seen at the cinema this year). One of the few downsides is Sigourney Weaver’s English accent, which is slightly uneven throughout. Reminiscent of a mix between Pan’s Labyrinth and a Neil Gaiman book, can be best described as a modern day fairy tale. Bayona did a fantastic job of directing this, whilst the Liam Neeson tree is telling stories (it’s an odd film) the film switches visual styles so it almost becomes a living watercolour painting, it’s awe-inspiring and genuinely new, never seen anything that was done like this (the closest is when Hermione was telling the stories of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter and the style switched to a weird animated one). The only previous film I’ve seen of his was The Impossible, and that was in 2012 so can’t remember too much about it, but I can remember being really impressed with the way he directed certain moments in it and was really good at creating visual tension, which is a good sign for his next film; the Jurassic World sequel.

Tyrannosaur

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Whilst A Monster Calls is bleak, it cannot hold a candle to this. A film which begins with someone kicking a dog to death, gets progressively bleaker, and then culminates in the lead character decapitating a dog and sitting there with it’s head in his lap, with tales of domestic abuse and rape in the middle. If you know someone who is annoyingly optimistic and happy, show them this film, you will break them. Still a major disappointment that Olivia Colman didn’t win a BAFTA for this, didn’t even get nominated which is a shame as I truly believe she’s one of the best British Actresses around at the moment, nobody can wring emotion from a story like she can.

The Lego Movie

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This was mainly to recover from Tyrannosaur. Brought for £5 from Morrisons and I feel like I cheated them somehow by getting it so cheap. The film equivalent of a rainbow emanating from a bowl of skittles and raining sunshine and joy onto people below. One of the few films this year which has made me genuinely laugh out loud multiple times, which takes some doing as I’m a miserable bastard.

Books

Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

Slightly too anvilicious in it’s environmental message, but otherwise it’s fantastic literature. Brilliant characterisation as well, the series is basically about somebody becoming a hero over the course of 8 books, and he was very evil in the first book so it was a long journey. A tale of growing up, a tale of greed, and a tale of humanity. One of the the best children’s book series I’ve ever read, it’s basically Die Hard with fairies, if the lead character was Light from Death Note. A film adaptation directed by Kenneth Branagh is hopefully on the way, and he’s a director who I feel can really do it justice.

TV Shows

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

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I know, I go on about this all the time, but there’s a reason for that; because I love it so much. Funny, heartbreaking and with songs so catchy it’s almost suspicious.

Insert Name Here

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An odd panel show on BBC (previous episodes available on iPlayer) about people. Basically they answer questions about historical figures and celebrities who all share the same name. Each episode focuses on a different name, so, for example, the episode this week was based on Charlie, so you had the teams answer questions about famous people called Charlie. Hosted by Sue Perkins, with Josh Widdicombe and Richard Osman From Pointless (to give him his full name) as team captains. A show which I can’t imagine working on any other channel than the BBC, and which wouldn’t be made by any other country than this one. Very very funny, and you learn a lot too.

 

 

Music

Lonely Daze – Kate Tempest

Completely different from what I imagined Kate Tempest would sound like, but oh so good. A wonderful piece of lyrical storytelling that you can just put on and lose yourself to.

Stars – Nina Simone

I first heard it in Bojack Horseman, and it has stuck with me ever since. Beautifully emotional, like proper tears and angry shaking emotion. The kind of song you’d drink yourself to death to.

 

So that’s how we got through this month, what did you use?

The 5 Best HBO Shows

The American television industry had shockwaves running through it this week as president Michael Lombardo left after 33 years at the network, 9 of them as network head. Lombardo has spearheaded some of the networks most loved programming, notably he was responsible for guiding Game Of Thrones into development. The future for the network is now somewhat uncertain, not in a “they’re going out of business” way, but in a “wonder what’s happening next” way. Longtime collaborator Terence Winter quit halfway through development of the second series of Vinyl, Westworld had production halted when it was decided it needed retooling, and Game Of Thrones is suffering from rumours that it will end after another two seasons (or in other words; the time it takes George R.R. Martin to decide on a verb). So let’s celebrate the network with this, a look at the best work they’ve produced. This isn’t ranked by order of popularity, or critical success, just personal preference, so statistically nobody will agree with this, if that’s the case, comment and tell us where I went wrong.

5. Sopranos

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One of THE shows of the 2000’s. It was almost like they saw Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and said “Awww, Britain thinks they can make gangster related media, how adorable” and reclaimed America as the centrepiece for gangster films and television shows. I said “almost like”, the pilot was actually ordered in 1997, so it’s just a coincidence. But meh, still an awesome show. The effect it had on television cannot be understated, it could easily be argued that it was this, not Breaking Bad that legitimised television as an artform, not as a stepping stone on the way to film. If it wasn’t for this there wouldn’t be Six Feet Under, there wouldn’t be The Shield. It was this, more than anything, that legitimised HBO as a network that provides high concept dramas, a network that will produce content you wouldn’t get anywhere else. This was a show that could only really be done on this network, it was too brutal, too uncommercial to be made by anyone else.

4. Game Of Thrones

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A show so good it deserves its place here despite me having never seen an episode. A show once described (not by a critic, or anybody important, but by a woman behind me on the bus) as like “Merlin with muff”. Everyone knows roughly when Harry Potter was published, and it’s the same with a lot of book adaptations, but I think a lot of people would be surprised to discover the first book was published in 1996, yet most people weren’t aware of it until the TV series (the series didn’t really pick up until A Feast Of Crows in 2005). Without the show the book series would be highly regarded, but with it? It’s become a cultural phenomenon, and shown that you can do not just high concept, but high budget adaptations too. If the show was made sooner then the chances of Harry Potter being a TV series instead of film would be much higher, and we might have got Rik Mayall as Peeves, AS WE DESERVE!

3. Veep

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A show so good that it’s replaced The Office as evidence that American adaptations of British sitcoms can occasionally work out. Is this better than The Thick Of It? Not quite, but is it worthy enough to be discussed on its own? Definitely. It wasn’t really the easiest show to adapt, ABC attempted it in 2007 with Michael McKean (of Spinal Tap and Better Call Saul fame) and Oliver Platt in the leads. They made the pilot, and by all accounts it was pretty awful, they turned it into a conventionally shot sitcom, removed all improvisation and swearing, and then were surprised when it didn’t work. It would be like if you remade Transformers and took out all references to any robots, removed baking from Great British Bake Off, or added jokes to Joey. So when a second adaptation was announced, people were kind of worried. Then it was announced that Armando Iannucci would be directly involved and people were excited again. Then it was announced that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the lead and I became very excited as I was a massive Seinfeld fan. I was slightly concerned how an American version of this would be, but it’s just as sweary and brilliant as the original. The original was good, but it didn’t have the line “That’s like trying to use a croissant as a fucking dildo, it doesn’t do the job, and it makes a fucking mess”. It’s probably helped not just by Iannucci as showrunner (at least until the 5th season when David Mandel took over almost seamlessly), there’s other talent behind the camera too. The list of director’s is like a who’s who of British television comedy: Chris Morris, Chris Addison, Tristam Shapeero etc. This show is a mesh of British and American talent, and is all the better for it. Long may it continue (still needs Peter Capaldi though)

2. Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Seinfeld is undoubtedly one of the biggest American sitcoms of all time (sadly, one which has never really got the love it deserves over here) so it was always going to difficult for the creator, Larry David to pull off that greatness again. Yet he managed it, this show not just matches his previous show, at many times it beats it. Seinfeld had a weak period, the last two seasons in particular are nowhere near as good as the earlier seasons, but Curb hasn’t suffered that problem. The first season is a little off as the show is still finding its feet, but the second one is just all kinds of brilliant and details the character attempting to make a show after the success of Seinfeld, so lots of meta-comments and the media, lots of in-jokes, and a season long story arc. Basically, all the pretentious stuff that film students love. Oh yeah, the cameos. Because Larry David plays himself, and he konws famous people, there’s a lot of celebrity cameos; Ricky Gervais, John McEnroe, Mel Brooks all send themselves up beautifully. The Ricky Gervais one is important because he also made a cameo-heavy sitcom: Extras. There’s one major difference between the way the cameos are handled thought: Extras is defined by the cameos, episodes can almost be titled after them. People think “oh, that’s the Samuel L Jackson episode”, or “that’s the Orlando Bloom episode” and that’s how they’re defined, in Curb, the story comes first, and it’s all the better for it. The best one is probably Michael J. Fox, where he uses his Parkinsons as an excuse to be a bit of a dick in one of the best “I shouldn’t be laughing at this” moments, of which the show has plenty (a highlight is the episode where a holocaust survivor has dinner with someone from the TV series Survivor, and they argue over which one is the true survivor).

1. Last Week Tonight

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An odd choice for number one, I know. Not the funniest, not the best made, but definitely the most important. Like a surprisingly high amount of American political comedy, this owes its existence to The Daily Show. When Jon Stewart took a break from the show in 2013 to make Rosewater, he handed the show over to John Oliver, who filled the role admirably. That’s not an easy role to fill, as anybody who has been on the comments section of the facebook page of the show since Trevor Noah took over can attest (for the record, I think he’s doing an excellent job). John Oliver’s stint was so successful HBO offered him a series. Unlike the Daily Show this only has one episode a week, so isn’t really suited for extremely topical stuff. But what this does mean is the areas they do focus on, they REALLY focus on, aiming for them like US Military planes aim for terrorist training camps, only unlike the military, this show usually hits what it’s aiming for. Whether he’s creating Jeff The Diseased Lung in a segment on tobacco companies, or starting Our Lady Of Perpetual Exemption to show how televangelists should by all rights be told to go f*ck themselves with that knife-penis from Seven, this show constantly creates amazing segments which are perfect for sharing on social media. His reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris last year was particularly fantastic, basically telling ISIS “if you gigantic arseholes are hoping to win a war of culture with France, good fucking luck”. To me, a personal highlight will alway be his war of words with former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, which led to the corrupt former executive to respond, calling him a “comedian fool” in a really badly made video. It’s weird, you’d think a guy who (allegedly) diverted relief funds from a Haiti earthquake appeal, and illegally sold black market tickets (not allegedly, this definitely happened, and he was punished for this million dollar making fraud by being made to pay back $250,000) would have enough money to make sure his videos were of a better production quality.

Musings On Marvel: Day Eight (Thor: The Dark World)

Director: Alan Taylor (Terminator: Genisys)

Budget: $170million

Box Office: $644millions

  • This is the third movie to feature Thor, and the eighth in this universe, do we still need to open with narration?
  • “before there was light there was darkness” narrated over a black screen. First year film students everywhere go “woah, that’s so deep” and use it in their next shitty films about how hard it was to grow up on the mean streets of Henley On Thames.
  • Dr. Who is that?
  • “through the power of the Aether”, is that anything like the disembodied voices in the ether as featured in our award winning short film Three Words?
  • I appreciate that was the cheapest of cheap plugs, but meh.
  • This movie really wants to be Lord Of The Rings.
  • Second movie in a row where “turning your insides into fire” counts a superpower”
  • “and the aether was no more” oh great, this film’s over then? Woohoo.
  • “bury it deep, so deep that nobody can ever find it”. That’s what she said.
  • Odin is annoyed that wherever Loki goes there’s war and death, yet the introduction to both of these films have included Odin fighting wars on different planets.
  • “next time we start with the big one”, but he didn’t run up until halfway through the fight.
  • “human lives are fleeting, they’re worth nothing” wait, but weren’t you bitching at Loki for not treating humans well. In fact, the entire reason you’re imprisoning him is for attempting to rule the earth. So if humans are worth nothing, then why are you punishing him so harshly? I’m beginning to think that maybe Loki is right, and you’re kind of a dick to him.
  • If I had a choice between a badass warrior woman, and Natalie Portman, I’d go with the warrior.
  • Hey it’s Chris O’Dowd.
  • You know he’s probably seen the news about the Avengers thing in New York so he knows abut the existence of Gods and aliens etc. None of that “he went away” cryptic bullshit.
  • “Maybe you should stop saying Sea Bass”, why? It’s still better than some of her dialogue.
  • Now you’re thinking with Portals.
  • Did the pointy eared evil dude just say “Rush al dente a fanta”?
  • “the Universe hasn’t seen this marvel” well I hope it’s better than this Marvel.
  • How much time do you think he wastes watching people as they shower?
  • “they are mortal” so are you. That was the entire point of your argument with Loki earlier, that you’re not gods, you are mortal too. Damnit Odin get yo shit together.
  • “humans do not belong here any more than a goat belongs at the banquet table” That’s racist.
  • “Protector of the nine realms”. Well aren’t you doing a great job with that?
  • How on earth does the infection know what will harm her? More importantly, why does it care? Even if she comes to harm it can just go to someone else. A parasite doesn’t care if the hosts dies if there’s hundreds of other hosts nearby.
  • Wait, did she accidentally fall into something that was supposed to be well hidden and never to be found again?
  • “the Bifrost was destroyed” you still could have called, or at least visited instead of eating Shawarma
  • Couldn’t this and the opening narration be condensed into one section? Do we really need two history lessons in this movie?
  • “every five thousand years the worlds align perfectly, during this time the borders become blurred, it’s possible you found one of these points”. No it’s not, as it’s been talked about as a future event even after she “fell”.
  • “don’t let him hear you say that” how on earth did she hear that from all the way over there? He was doing his low-volume sexy voice too.
  • So they don’t check these people for explosives? Have they not seen The Dark Knight?
  • Everybody swings axes yet nobody gets decapitated.
  • “I need you to do everything I ask, no questions”, yet when I tell women that I get called a pervert and to get off the bus.
  • That ship is invisible right up until the point where somebody touches it? Well that’s pointless.
  • Why are all these ships now visible? Is it just so we can see them get shot down?
  • Why didn’t he raise this shield in the first place?
  • That ship actually dropped it’s trajectory just so it could crash into the forcefield. Whoever is piloting it doesn’t deserve to live.
  • Ship crashes through a shitload of columns, building remains standing. Magic!
  • So the colour of all weapons in the first phase was blue, this seems to be red.
  • It’s amazing the amount of aliens who look just like humans but with prosthetics.
  • Was there something cut out there? Her being captured etc didn’t really work visually.
  • “where is the aether?” I thought you could sense it.
  • Even if it was invisible the ships can still be attacked, we saw this earlier.
  • “we are all but defenceless” you could probably try giving Hulk, Iron Man etc a call. Have you even tried that?
  • Didn’t they already see this in the news earlier?
  • Thor is told not to go somewhere and fight someone by Odin who orders the Bifrost closed. Thor does it anyway. Isn’t this exactly what led to him being banished in the first movie?
  • Loki gets slapped by Jane and his response is “I like her”. Well, whatever turns you on.
  • Movie just rubs it in our face that the rest of the avengers aren’t in this movie.
  • Loki is definitely the best part of these movies.
  • Turns out to fix anything you just need to hit it hard. Reminds me, I must get my cats fixed.
  • Why was that guy laughing at being attacked and buried under strange men?
  • “I wish I could trust you”, movie gets closer to Brokeback Mountain than it probably intends to.
  • Ian would be a lot better if played by guy who played Rory in Doctor Who. He’s practically the same character anyway.
  • A woman is levitated and put into a christ-like pose in mid-air. Holy Harry Potter Batman.
  • Pfft, like they’d really kill Loki.
  • A giant spaceship with a glowing red light appears and destroys a small part of Greenwich University. Still less destructive than the Conservative party.
  • “your universe and your family will be extinguished” You couldn’t say “exterminated” could you? Just for the giggles.
  • “I thought you’d hit harder”. Me too. Supposed to be an all-powerful being yet all he can do is knock someone over slightly.
  • Thor is sexually harassed by a woman on the tube. This is apparently funny. Plus, no trains go straight from Charring Cross to Greenwich,
  • Wait, so Loki killed Odin? So the film killed Anthony Hopkins off-screen? Isn’t that illegal? And I know what people will say when I say this “oh, but you have to wait until the next movie”. Bullshit, if you include the MCU as all containing one narrative as the studio wants you to, then there’s been four (hah, Thor) movies since this one, and none of them have mentioned it. There’s another four (hah, Thor) movies until the next Thor one. So that’s eight movies you have to wait to find something out. Now if you include only the Thor ones, then that’s from 2013 to 2017, which is a four year wait for one plot point. I mean, yeah it’s a kind of ok plot twist, but it makes no sense once you think about it for more than thirty seconds.

5 Reasons People Love Zombies

Last week I saw Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (as detailed here) and it got me thinking; if Catholics really do drink the blood of the Christ, aren’t they technically vampires? I then thought about zombies, not in a sexual way, more in a “how do these zombie films keep getting made?”. I don’t mean that in an insulting way, but they have been consistent throughout horror films over the last few decades. Vampires have waned and come back, yet zombies refuse to die. Everytime we think they’re dead they rise back up and stumble the earth, like, hmmm, what’s the word I’m looking for here?

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“70’s rock band?” nope, that’s not it

But why is that? Why is there a zombie film made almost every month yet there hasn’t been a flesh eating mermaid film made in forever?

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Besides this one

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that many times. Don’t you wish you could find a well researched and brilliantly written article about the subject? Well until that happens, enjoy this inarticulate blog.

1. Scary

Well this seems obvious but in this modern “every horror film needs to have comedic elements” age it’s easy to forget. Zombies can be very very scary.

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Okay maybe not this guy

We can mock zombies and claim that Shaun Of The Dead and their ilk made them not scary any more. But then we can put on a good zombie film and still be terrified. Part of that is down to the “other” nature of them. Film critic Robin Wood describes horror as:

“relationship between normality and the monster”

And it’s this that provides my next point.

2.They’re almost human.

We have two animals to blame for people originally being scared of zombies: not film zombies, actual zombies: ants and dogs. Picture humanity tens of thousands of years ago. When we decided to start towns and permanent dwellings whilst farming animals and the land for food. It cannot be understated what a significant change to humanity this was. We no longer had to spend our entire time in the search for food. We started thinking more, our language and thoughts exploded at a previously unknown rate, we were soon discussing concepts we had no idea how to express. We were coming up with new ideas and discovering new concepts, yet this wasn’t the start of science, this was the start of  superstition. The obvious things we needed to ask questions about was death and the dead. People would have realised there was a correlation between people spending time around decaying bodies and people suffering from sickness. So we started getting rid of the bodies, we burnt them, we buried them etc once we realised this stopped it. But one time a dog wanders upon a shallow grave, it can’t see food but it can sense food so it digs and finds a human hand. It starts to pull the hand up but is then spooked so drops the hand and runs away. Now a person comes across this, he goes to the site where he buried his friend and see’s his hand seemingly rising up from the grave. So he settles on the logical conclusion: this person is back from the dead.

But to understand why this scares us so we need to look at the the ant. Humans like to think of themselves as better than the other species we share the planet with: has any other species come up with ideas as diverse as communism, Harry Potter, and cricket? No, they haven’t!

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Yeah that’s right, f*ck you elephants! You’ll never know how to defeat voldemort.

 

We used to think there was something special about us, we are obviously Top Species (capital T, capital S if you’re taking notes, which I assume you are). We used this rationale to justify animal cruelty for centuries, I mean, we’re obviously better. But then people started asking complex philosophical questions. Questions like: “but what if we’re not”. I mean, there’s no reason why we are Top Species, the cheetah is faster, the rabbit can reproduce quicker, and kittens are cuter. So we used our brains and figured out why we’re better: and our brains decided on the totally not egotistical and self serving: it’s our brains. Our brains allow us to build skyscrapers and cities; huge complex structures that noone else can, because our brains are better. But then we looked at ants, ants don’t make art, they don’t tell jokes or play music. Yet they built huge chambers with ventilation that regulates air quality and temperature. The kind of stuff people need years of formal training to manage and yet the ants manage it perfectly. So what does it say when our building achievements can be matched by the humble ant? Our greatest achievements can be achieved without the need for the part of our brain that makes us human.

And THATS why we fear the zombie. It’s human without the humanity. It represents our biggest fear, that under all our fancy suits and immaculate hair that we are just shambling meat sacks, walking around just fulfilling our basic needs. We’re not scared the bite would turn us into the walking dead, we’re scared we already are.

3. Guilt free deaths.

Related to the above point: when people talk about a zombie apocalypse or play video games what do they focus on? Is it the loss of their friends, hiding out somewhere not sure whether they’ll life or die. Nope, it’s “I would kill them like this”. Killing zombies is like guilt free murder of another human. That says something about the nature of humanity, but I’m too scared of people to ask what that is.

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Do this to a zombie: Hero. Do it to Laura in accounts: psychopath

4. Adaptable

Now I don’t mean that zombies are multi-use within the film itself, I mean for for the film-maker and audience. There’s no established backstory for zombies so the writer is free to do whatever they want and play up any real-life fears and prejudices. You want it to be a parasite and talk about the doomed nature of humanity? Sure. You want it to be from nuclear radiation and blame the Soviets? Well, a bit dated but sure! You want it be to about microrobots that go out of control to talk about the dangers of relying on technology? Sure! You want it to be about people being driven to kill and bite because they’re hypnotised by the music of Miley Cyrus? You’re an idiot! But sure, go ahead!

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5. Beatable

This is the most important thing. Zombies are slow, plodding creatures who aren’t that strong. With careful planning and organisation we can defeat them, that’s how most zombie stories end; with humanity winning. Sure, a lot of people die but humanity prevails. So there’s a lot of deaths but we still win, so ultimately they’re gory stories of hope. And that’s beautiful.

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But none of that is important. Do you know why? Because there’s only one thing that matters in my life now: there’s a movie about flesh eating mermaids called The Lure, and it’s a musical! I have to see that!

Alan Rickman

As soon as I heard I tried to find a good clip on youtube. One which summed up his career, but it’s really really hard to find that one role which defines it. It’s even hard to do a top five  list,  it’s hard to even narrow it down to five. You’re going to have to leave one of the following out:

  1. Severus Snape
  2. Marvin The Paranoid Android (not the greatest film, but he was amazing in it)
  3. Hans Gruber
  4. Alexander Dane (from Galaxy Quest)
  5. The metatron
  6. Sheriff of Nottingham

Even once you’ve narrowed it down, how on earth do you rank them? Almost every single one of those performances could be considered a career best for most people. And each one required different skills, you couldn’t put one of the characters from one into another film (although try to picture Snape in Die Hard, it’s hilarious, and it would have meant no more sequels).

Random fact: he was never nominated for an Academy Award. People think that Leonardo DiCaprio never winning is a travesty, but Rickman, (or to give him his full name: Alan Fucking Rickman) was never even nominated. It’s just so weird to take the awards seriously knowing that, I mean, Shakespeare In Love has seven awards for f*cks safe.

I know that shot at that film may have been a bit rude, but it’s really really hard to write this. How do you sum up his career in a pithy line? How do you adequately capture what he meant to everybody? I feel the best way to do this is with inspiration. Remember this; He was a struggling 40 something actor when he was first cast in Die Hard. Nobody really knew who he was, all the things we love him for he did after the age of 40. Remember that: don’t give up because of age, because even in a young mans game, talent can still shine through. Pick up that pen and write, pick up that guitar and play, just do something. Don’t look back and thank “what if?” And don’t do it half-heartedly, write until you’ve bared your soul onto the page, play until your fingers bleed, and love until your heart hurts.

I don’t want to end this like an infomercial: but please, please donate what you can to www.cancerresearchuk.org, first Bowie, now Rickman, please give what you can to make sure there’s no third one.

 

Thank you

Recasting….The Saga Of Darren Shan (a.k.a: Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant)

Vampires_assistantWelcome, welcome, welcome. We’ve been doing this for a while now and thought we’d try a new series: Recasting. In this we’ll both be looking at established franchises and casting our ideal movie versions. Throughout the series we’ll be looking at franchises such as Batman, Justice League, Artemis Fowl etc. But we’ll start with The Saga Of Darren Shan, a literary franchise which isn’t well known, but is well regarded. Now, this has already had a film adaptation (to stretch the definition): Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. But our casting for this will probably be different. In fact, I’ll be surprised if we had any cast members at all from the film. So, let’s begin.

NOTE: We will be using pictures from the Darren Shan manga (yes there is one, and it’s awesome) for comparisons, as its a WAY better adaption of the books.

Darren Shan

Played in the film by: Chris Massoglia

Asa Butterfield as Darren Shan

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Darren

Though at this point 18, with his timid and youthful look he could easily pass for around 13-15 (as young as he’s played before). That is still older than the 11 year old Darren at the start of the series, but this is Hollywood so having him start a bit older I think is fine, as long as they don’t make him seventeen or something (¬_¬ looking at you thoa who shall not be named). Having already led films like Hugo (amazing), Enders Game (decent), and X+Y (pretty good), he’s already proved himself as a capable leading man with a talent for heart and action. And his natural timid deminer I think would suit Darren, who’s always been shyer and would give him room to grow into the badass he becomes later in the series.

c977213066ca47b4191dd9c41aee4108This was actually the hardest one for me. I had to find a young enough actor who would age well with the series. One who could have both the youthful naivety of the first few books, with the fight of the last few. So in the end I decided to go with: Nicholas Hoult. When you watch About A Boy you just see the look of innocence on his face. Someone who still has hope and joy, then you watch Mad Max: Fury Road years later and you realise he will cut a bitch

 

Larten Crepsley

Played in the film by: John C Reilly

Peter Capaldi as Larten Crepsley

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Because who fucking else. If his run as the Doctor has proven anything, it’s that he can be dark and brooding when he needs, but also light, funny, and heartfelt. He has the look, he has the presents, he is Larten Crepsley. And no one else could possibly do better.

Going to keep this short, and keep it simple. As this is the one where I feel we may have chosen the same actor. Peter Capaldi, from The Thick Of It, Neverwhere, and a small indie low budget show called Doctor Who. It’s got to the point now where I don’t even have to think a bout it, if I read Crepsley, I read it in Capaldi’s voice. It just works so well, not only in dialogue but in the clothes and actions too.

 

Steve Leonard

Played in the film by: Josh Hutcherson

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Logan Lerman as Steve Leonard

Though typically known for his more timid troubled characters, like in Perks of being a wallflower (best film of 2012) and Fury (damn good flick), it’s that same bitter darkness I believe could lend well to Steve’s chasteveracter, as he is so messed up and troubled. He also has a much broader physical presents than Asa Butterfield, and his ability to come across sweet and caring as well as intense as fuck (again Perks of being a wallflower) I can definitely see him in a strong opposition to Butterfield.

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Ok, this was hard, I needed someone who could appear friendly but also have an undercurrent of psychopathic killer. As such I settled on Iwan Rheon, better known from Misfits. He played a nice character in that, but I feel he could pull off angry psychopath quite well. 

 

 

Mr. Tiny

Played in the film by: Michael Cerveris

Jim Broadbent as Mr. Tiny

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Again I have to agree with my writing colleague; Jim Broadbent has that perfect mix of charmingly harmless but with this clear dark undercurrent to him that would lend perfectly to Mr Tiny. Because Mr Tiny needs to have an off charm and humour to him, he can entertain you while also being able to make you shit yourself. And that’s Jim Broadbent in a nut-shell.

6bbd588d2b6338484eab45604d594f641382363851_fullThis was actually quite difficult as well. As he has to be someone who has all the capabilities of being charming and lovely, but also just pure evil at the same time. As such, in the end I went with Jim Broadbent, Horace Slughorn from Harry Potter, and Slater from Only Fools And Horses. This is an actor who looks like everybody’s favourite uncle, albeit an uncle you’re fairly certain keeps dead bodies in his basement. Actually, now I think of it, he’d pretty much just be bringing back his performance from Hot Fuzz.

Others

Gary Oldman as Mr. Tall

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An odd choice, but a good one. Mr Tall has 78422always been an ambiguous character, the leader of Cirque du freak and possibly so much more, he needs to loom confidantes with a tinge of menace, but also be a kind soul who can sympathies with his many freak comrades. So of cause Mr Oldman not only has the acting range to pull off all of the above, but he has the stoic look and presents to match.

Some of the others I felt would work:

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Kurda Smahlt: Chris Addison. Also from The Thick Of It. I feel he could pull off the huhnervous and manipulative nature nature of the character quite well.

 

 

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Vancha March: Ryan Reynolds. Specifically: Bearded Ryan Reynolds. A slightly sarcastic loudmouth vampire fighter. I feel he’d do well.hu