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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them 5-film series


His Royal Noelness
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He has his ups and downs. I love The Order of the Phoenix and really appreciate The Half-Blood Prince, but I'm not quite as fond of Deathly Hallows Part 1 and certainly not as fond of Part 2. Both Fantastic Beasts entries of his were well-directed, but I think seven films in any one series is more than enough for any one director.

 

The Prisoner of Azakaban - wonderful as it is - certainly feels directed, and unlike any Yates film, it also feels the most different in style both to the films that came before and those that followed after - to the point that it almost doesn't feel like it belongs in the same series. Its certainly the one film that marks the biggest change in direction in the history of the franchise, stylistically.

 

I still like Yates' The Order of the Phoenix the most of the whole of this franchise. The grading isn't as overboard as The Half-Blood Prince (or The Goblet of Fire, for that matter), the directing often very simple and effective, and while I would have probably edited it a bit differently, some of the core dramatic beats are the best of the series.

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17 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I still like Yates' The Order of the Phoenix the most of the whole of this franchise. The grading isn't as overboard as The Half-Blood Prince (or The Goblet of Fire, for that matter), the directing often very simple and effective, and while I would have probably edited it a bit differently, some of the core dramatic beats are the best of the series.

 

I agree with this, easily the best of the films he directed. His obsession with stylised grading goes out the window after this one.

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To me, its the best of all of these films.

 

Interestingly, though, it wasn't my favourite on first viewing. But when I saw it a second time, its climax and some of the beats leading up to it really did land tremendously well with me.

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The shake-up to the series with Cuaron was certainly a departure from the first two, but god damn was it successful. What do you mean by 'feels directed'? I'd take Cuaron over Yates any time if it meant we were given films with an artistic vision, executed with style and enthusiasm. 

1 hour ago, Chen G. said:

 

The Prisoner of Azakaban - wonderful as it is - certainly feels directed, and unlike any Yates film, it also feels the most different in style both to the films that came before and those that followed after - to the point that it almost doesn't feel like it belongs in the same series. Its certainly the one film that marks the biggest change in direction in the history of the franchise, stylistically.

 

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Some of the camera movements and effects draw attention to themselves by design, and while that's fine, I think it happens just once or twice too many. Not least of which being the freeze-frame ending, which is unlike any other film in the series.

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I don't know about camera tracking and so forth being distracting, but I do know one too many scenes in the latter Potter films having distracting direction - particularly the awkward scenes between Harry and Ginny.

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I think it's the best film in the series. I also think that the type of direction it received was responsible for giving the cast and crew some creative challenge, not only to take the third book and make a compelling sequel, but to reinvent the visual style in a way which would become the blueprint for the rest of the series. We know it was also a creative challenge for Williams!

 

No film is perfect, but for this franchise it was damn near as good as it could get, and was followed by the fantastic Goblet of Fire.

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7 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

The 3 films in the franchise that I think work the best as self contained movies are HP1, HP8 

How does Deathly Hallows Part 2 work as a self-contained movie? It's the conclusion to the other seven and requires the others to be comprehensible. 

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45 minutes ago, Arpy said:

How does Deathly Hallows Part 2 work as a self-contained movie? It's the conclusion to the other seven and requires the others to be comprehensible. 

 

I am going by friends who have not read the books. They found 2 through 7 literally incomprehensible.

 

HP8 is basically 2 extended action sequences. All set-up was dispensed with in HP7.

 

So you have two action scenes - steal something from a bank. And the second battle of hogwarts. One thing that Rowling has been criticized for is her un-nuanced worldview. Her characters are all black or white. But the advantage is, it makes it easily to follow for the uninitiated.

 

So for people like my friends who did not read the books, HP8 works great because they know who the good guys are, who the bad guys are they can enjoy essentially a single 2 hour fantasy action sequence.

 

Think of how people enjoy Mad Max - a single 2 hour action sequence. That is how the un-initiated can enjoy HP8 and that is why I call it a self-contained movie. You don't need much context to enjoy it as a piece of fantasy action.

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But it's not just two action sequences, it's a hefty exposition dump which wraps up the story - and the action scenes alone wouldn't be able to carry the film. I also think it's shallow to watch the last film of any franchise without having foreknowledge of the previous entries, it's just plain stupid - yeah, you can know what the sides are and what the stakes are, but you wouldn't understand the meaning behind those scenes if you skipped right to the end of the series. How are the films between one and eight incomprehensible, these are young adult stories that even children can understand...

10 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

So for people like my friends who did not read the books, HP8 works great because they know who the good guys are, who the bad guys are they can enjoy essentially a single 2 hour fantasy action sequence.

 

You don't need to read the books to understand the story of the films.

giphy.gif

 

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I would argue you do. I think most of the movies do a below average job of presenting their stories. There is rarely any suspense in any of the movies.

 

As I've said before the movies are entertaining and watchable because of the world building, the characters and the set pieces.

 

The movies work best a series of illustrative set pieces. They are all weak on plot I would say (movies I mean, not the books).

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16 hours ago, Bilbo said:

Azkaban was the poorest performer of the original 8 which is interesting. 

As far as I'm concerned, it took the book I liked best, ignored the crap out of both that and the book previous two movies and threw a wrench in the series from which it never really recovered.

The first two films were tonally quite consistent.

The others are literally all over the place; not just between films, but within the same film as well.

The highs might've been higher in Azkaban and after, but holy crap the lows are LOW!

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I really like that some of the later films switch between funny and serious. The reason the Horcrux reveal in The Half-Blood Prince works is because it was preceeded by the hillarious funeral of Aragog. The juxtaposition makes that moment feel all the more weighty by comparison.

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12 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I really like that some of the later films switch between funny and serious. The reason the Horcrux reveal in The Half-Blood Prince works is because it was preceeded by the hillarious funeral of Aragog. The juxtaposition makes that moment feel all the more weighty by comparison.

Switch between funny and serious can indeed often work wonders.

I was more referring to tonal differences between "quality" and "stupid crap".

 

Of course I admit that's highly subjective, but for example Hagrid putting a fork in somebody else's hand in Goblet of Fire was not funny to me.

It was stupid, embarrassing and, really, painful to watch.

It also didn't fit at all with my view of Hagrid as an intimidating giant on the outside with a kind heart of gold on the inside.

Instead, he comes across as literally painfully clumsy and that, for me, detracts from his character.

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There's a lot of caricature going on in the fourth film, more than the others.

 

2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

I really like that some of the later films switch between funny and serious. The reason the Horcrux reveal in The Half-Blood Prince works is because it was preceeded by the hillarious funeral of Aragog. The juxtaposition makes that moment feel all the more weighty by comparison.

 

What really makes it work is that whole piece in Hagrid's hut with Slughorn drunkenly recounting a silly story about his old fish suddenly vanishing, then into a gentle tale of how the fish had been born from a flower petal, then the reveal that the flower was a lily and a gift from Harry's mother whose death was the reason it disappeared, setting the darker tone for Harry taking the memory and the introduction of the Horcruxes into the story....that is really one of Steve Kloves's canniest bits of writing in the series (and one of the best not-in-the-book inventions) and very deftly handled by Yates, Broadbent. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/9/2019 at 8:10 AM, Chen G. said:

To me, its the best of all of these films.

 

Interestingly, though, it wasn't my favourite on first viewing. But when I saw it a second time, its climax and some of the beats leading up to it really did land tremendously well with me.

 

Phoenix also had Michael Goldenberg adapting the film. I think he did a better job doing that compared to Kloves' work on Goblet and Half-Blood Prince. Wish he had stayed on the Potter series instead of butchering Green Lantern after...

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  • 2 months later...
51 minutes ago, Alex said:

Amber Heard is like Rosamund Pike’s character from Gone Girl.

 

Jep, fuuhuck everything about that.

 

Guess it explains why WB went thru with the Grindlewald casting, prolly knew but couldn’t fire Heard from Aquaman because it would look bad. No way she is in Aquaman 2. 

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Has David Yates been fired yet?

 

I have zero interest in this franchise going forward until he gets replaced with a more talented, hungrier filmmaker. The guy's as stale as the piss-stained colour palette of Half Blood Prince.

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I'm not a fan of the colour palette of The Half-Blood Prince, its often too murky and parchment-like.

 

But there's so much more to cinematography and to directing than colour palette. The Half-Blood Prince has some of the best framing of all of these films, and Yates pulls some great performances from his cast, and he just knows how to let a sequence play out.  I think he is a very good director: its some of the scripts he's directed (especially of Fantastic Beasts 2) which are subpar.

 

Regardless, I think that - with five of these films under his belt and at least one more to go - the series could stand to bring-in a new director.

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I don't care about the movies anymore (Crimes of Grindelwald was so atrocious that it made me lose interest in the story as a whole), but I hope they keep making them until the announced fifth movie, so at least I'll have a great JNH fantasy score every 2 or 3 years. It would be terrible if they, wanting to "get a new direction for the movies", replace him with a cheaper option, like Henry Jackman or whatever. 

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On 2/4/2020 at 11:34 PM, Alex said:

At least they’ve got an actual screenwriter working on the 3rd, that’s a positive move. Can’t get over how badly they screwed up number 2.

It felt more like Rowling didn't have the voice for screenwriting that she does for writing the Potter books. It's about the framing of the story, adapting the story for a visual medium and making sure revelatory twists and turns work cinematically as much as they do on paper. 

Yet I wouldn't write off CoG, for all its deathly boring sections and things that didn't land as well as Rowling might've hoped, there's still some good moments that shine through that thick smog of bullshit. Depp's Grindelwald was great, Jude Law's Dumbledore too, it's just missing a clear guiding force that gives this franchise any bearing towards a meaningful story.

 

Rowling should've had Kloves on board from the beginning! It's amazing the first 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/4/2020 at 6:00 AM, Chen G. said:

I'm not a fan of the colour palette of The Half-Blood Prince, its often too murky and parchment-like.

 

But there's so much more to cinematography and to directing than colour palette. The Half-Blood Prince has some of the best framing of all of these films, and Yates pulls some great performances from his cast, and he just knows how to let a sequence play out.  I think he is a very good director: its some of the scripts he's directed (especially of Fantastic Beasts 2) which are subpar.

 

Regardless, I think that - with five of these films under his belt and at least one more to go - the series could stand to bring-in a new director.

 

Personally, I find Half-Blood Prince to be among the best of the Potter films, not the best, but among the best.

 

The cinematography is phenomenal. The color palette isn't that bad. At the very least it brought something different to the films. It's certainly the most interesting of the Yates films and shows he does have the capacity to change things up a bit.

 

I also agree (unlike most here) that Yates is a good director. But when you're handed a script that sort of sucks (Like HP5, HP8, and FB2) he can't do much about it. I mean the main issue with CoG was the god awful script.

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OotP and HBP were acceptable in my book.

They annoyed me less than PoA and GoF, at least.

 

The DH book wasn't the ending I had been hoping for.

No surprise then that the movies left me underwhelmed too.

Didn't help that 'epic fights' ended up as 'white lights on a black screen' and 'puffs of smoke circling each other'.

Epic, that was not.

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I'll repeat what I said earlier: Ever since Yates stepped in, with the exception of Fantastic Beasts 1, I've felt as though the filmmakers didn't want me to return to that magical world anymore. I'm all for dark drama and whatnot, but there's a difference between dark storytelling and outright dull storytelling.

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Yeah, I'm not sure if dull is the right word. Some things about his style just… doesn't work for me, one of them being his total lack of understanding when it comes to music. No one in their right mind would have left the scene after Voldemort's death unscored.

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