When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrived in cinemas back in 2016, there was never really any doubt it would be a commercial success. As a continuation of the blockbuster Harry Potter film franchise, David Yates’ film was as close as it comes to a guaranteed box office hit – but the real question was whether it would actually be any good.
Fortunately, it was. Penned by JK Rowling – author of the original book series – Fantastic Beasts felt like an authentic extension of the existing universe, even as it introduced us to new characters and environments. Eddie Redmayne’s magizoologist Newt Scamander proved a suitably likeable replacement for everyone’s favourite boy wizard, and the 1920s setting provided a fresh new spin on a world at risk of becoming stale eight movies on.
Fast forward two years, and a sequel looms on the horizon. Due for release in November, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald seems poised to enchant audiences all over again. Here are five major things we learned from the recent trailer.
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films arguably constitute the finest fantasy trilogy ever made. Accessible to newcomers while remaining largely faithful to J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, The Lord of the Rings movies married incredible spectacle and stunning visuals with genuine, heartfelt emotion.
When it was announced that Jackson would return to Middle-earth to helm a prequel trilogy based around The Hobbit, fan expectations were understandably high. Unfortunately, although the The Hobbitfilms were wildly successful commercially, the reaction from audiences was far more lukewarm this time around.
The more charitable verdict is that – although the films have their moments – they’re a misguided attempt to transform a brief children’s tale into a sweeping saga for adults.
To be fair, Jackson had his work cut out for him, as the The Hobbit is a deceptively difficult book to adapt. In addition to its lighter, more juvenile tone, it also has 15 core cast members, 13 of whom are near-identical dwarves!
Nevertheless, other issues with the films seem avoidable – and chief among these is just how often they flat-out fail the logic test.
With this in mind, here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About The Hobbit Trilogy.
The prevailing wisdom among movie fans is that a big-screen blockbuster lives or dies based off the quality of its main villain. It’s not hard to see why – after all, if the baddie in question isn’t a memorable or credible threat, watching our heroes triumph over them isn’t particularly satisfying.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. With the exception of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, the rogues gallery of the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe have largely proven a disappointing bunch. But even so, the marketing machines behind virtually every blockbuster film – including those released by Marvel Studios – put a significant amount of effort into generating pre-release excitement around the supposed awesomeness of their villains.
Sometimes, these big bads really do live up to the promotional buzz. Brilliantly twisted creations like Heath Ledger’s Joker have since gone on to become iconic examples of what a cinematic antagonist should be, far exceeding audience expectations along the way. But more often than not, the hoopla surrounding these nefarious characters turns out to be grossly exaggerated.
Check out our list of 15Major Movie Villains That Didn’t Live Up To The Hype.
If you’re a long-time reader of The Pop Culture Studio, you probably noticed that I didn’t review The Last Jedi, unlike the other recent instalments in the Star Wars saga.There’s a reason for this: my initial reaction to Rian Johnson’s film was negative – really negative.
And despite the tone of some of my recent “work for hire” posts, being negative isn’t what The Studio is about. On the contrary, this site is supposed to be about being constructive – even when it comes to movies, TV shows or comics that I don’t like – and I genuinely wasn’t sure that I could do that when it came to The Last Jedi, that’s how unimpressed I was.
However, in the weeks since the movie was released, I’ve subsequently reconsidered my opinion of it – or looked at it from a different point of view, as Obi-Wan Kenobi might have put it – and I’ve come to the realisation that I do like it after all.
Don’t get me wrong: I still have issues with the film – major issues, in fact. But ultimately, I’ve decided that these imperfections are insignificant compared to The Last Jedi’s many good points, and what the film means for the future of the franchise and its fans.
Within the Star Warsuniverse, the Jedi Knights and Sith Lords are renowned thanks to the awesome powers granted to them by their mastery of the Force. With the Force as their ally, a fully trained member of either order can move faster, jump higher, and just generally fight better than a non-Force sensitive individual. They also boast a myriad of even more fantastical abilities, ranging from telekinesis to precognition and other extrasensory gifts.
As such, both Jedi and Sith combatants are theoretically unstoppable – except when they forget how to use their powers! If that sounds unlikely (or even a little silly), it shouldn’t. Over the course of all the Star Wars films released to date, numerous servants of the light and dark sides of the Force – including several very prominent ones – have lost because they neglected to effectively use the amazing abilities at their disposal.
There’s a real-world reason for this, of course: it’s just not that exciting to watch unbeatable characters, so the filmmakers occasionally resort to afflicting Force users with temporary amnesia. But let’s be honest – half the time, audiences are so enthralled by these adventures in a galaxy far, far away, they don’t even notice.
Here are 15 Times The Jedi And Sith Forgot How To Use Their Powers.
By now, we’ve all had time to digest the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (unless you’re one of the strong-willed souls who resisted the urge to watch it!). General consensus among fans and critics seems to be that – adorable porgs aside – Episode VIII of cinema’s greatest sci-fi/fantasy saga looks like a far darker outing than its predecessor, The Force Awakens.
After all, this most recent look at the film provided new glimpses of a grumpy, grizzled version of Luke Skywalker, good guys the Resistance on the run, and Jedi-in-training Rey being tortured by big bad Supreme Leader Snoke – at last taking a break from his giant hologram Wizard Of Oz-schtick. Heck, there’s even the suggestion that a bit of matricide might be on the cards, with tormented wannabe Darth Vader Kylo Ren seemingly poised to murder his mother, the former Princess Leia!
Ratcheting up the gloom factor has only served to further fuel comparisons between The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back – the latter of which is widely considered not only the best Star Wars episode of all time, but a perfect example of the “darker sequel” done right. And whilst it’s hard not to see tonal similarities between these two sombre films – just as it was impossible not to draw parallels between The Force Awakens and series opener A New Hope – the trailer has left me feeling surprisingly upbeat.
That’s because – despite its surface-level imitation of The Empire Strikes Back – this tantalising peek at The Last Jedi seems to have rewarded the faith of fans like me who hoped that incoming director Rian Johnson would finally taking the franchise in a fresh new direction. “This is not going to go the way you think,” promises Luke at one point – and thank the Force for that!
Ninjas have been a mainstay of the Mortal Kombat universe ever since the introduction of iconic characters Sub-Zero and Scorpion in the first game in the series. From these humble beginnings, the number of ostensibly stealthy – yet inexplicably brightly-attired – warriors taking part in the franchise’s various tournaments has ballooned dramatically.
At first, the rationale for the rapid increase in ninjas featured in Mortal Kombat was purely a technical concern. Thanks to the limited amount of memory space available on video game cartridges (remember those?), the easiest way to add more fighters was to swap the colour palette of a masked character.
But even as technological advancements rendered storage space effectively a non-issue, the ninja aesthetic had become so ingrained in the Mortal Kombat mythology that more continued to be added. After all, who doesn’tlove ninjas?
As you’d expect with this many shadowy assassins all populating the same fictional world, some stand out more than others – and the cream of the Mortal Kombatninja crop all boast the best fighting moves, most gruesome finishing moves, coolest visuals and deepest backstories.
In a tip of the hat to Mortal Kombat’s spirit of (brutal) competition, here is Every Mortal Kombat Ninja Ranked From Best To Worst.