As the countdown to Christmas loomed over the world, the day itself flew by. Now, we enter that stage of recovery as the merriment turns into content leading to the New Year. With that, it’s safe to say that many of us take the time to watch a slew of films that have long been on the backlist. Here is what I’ve been watching.
The Greatest Showman
I know what you’re thinking, how can someone go so long without watching this showstopper of a film. Truth be told, the soundtrack was good enough on its own and knowing the history of the real PT Barnum, I was reluctant to watch it. Now, I will admit I enjoyed the film. The musical productions were phenomenal and the cast gave a compelling performance. However, the story was weak and lacked the depth it needed to make people really invest in the story. It is clear that the film relies on its musical productions to carry the film, instead of bringing the depth needed to the topics it attempts to explore. The balancing act between the music and the multiple plot threads was poorly executed and while there is a wonder to the spectacle of the film, it’s failed to leave a lasting impression.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Admittedly, this was never one that I paid attention to. Then it popped up on my Netflix feed and thought what the hell. In the end, Jumanji turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Many will surely compare this remake to the original, and it must be said that it held its own as the all-star cast bolstered the entertainment value with their brilliant comedic timing in this lighthearted adventure.
Fantastic Beast: Crimes of Grindelwald
It is known that I’m not a massive follower of the Potter universe, but I was impressed with the first instalment of this latest spin-off. Naturally, fans all over the world looked for those connections to the Potter series, but many have noted that those cameos and features are often contradictory. Nevertheless, Crimes of Grindelwald sought to build the narrative of this looming conflict between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, establishing the history between them and providing some insight into the dynamic between Dumbledore and Scamander. While the beasts took centre stage in the first instalment of this franchise, they find themselves as the supporting characters to this conflict in the wizarding world. The problem with Crimes of Grindelwald is that it tries to pack so much into one film, leaving a lot to be desired from some plot lines. This is no more evident in the introduction of Newt’s former love, Leta Lestrange. The casting of Zoe Kravitz was brilliant and she did the best she could with the material she was given. Her story and connection to both Newt and Credence could have easily been one of the most compelling arcs of the film but amidst the influence and establishment of the larger conflict, the execution of her arc fell flat. There is potential in this franchise, but for it to succeed, there needs to be a cohesive structure to the narrative.
Yet another unnecessary reboot of a beloved franchise, Tomb Raider takes us back into the world of Lara Croft. Vikander’s Croft was easily the most compelling character in the film as the search into her father’s apparent death takes her on a dangerous and deadly adventure. Unfortunately, the plot structure offers nothing new to the genre, and the supporting characters are simply one-dimensional enemies or allies to Croft. The action sequences were fun to watch and Vikander more than proved capable of carrying this role, but the rest of the film was generic, sticking to the same formula with hardly the same amount of depth.
I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas.
What have you been watching?
Did you enjoy any of these films?