Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them was our first film. It's set in the Harry Potter world but 54 years before Harry was born. Eddie Redmayne is magizoologist Newt Scamander. He's British and the book he's about to write is still used at Hogwarts when Harry goes to school. JK wrote the real world edition back in 2001. She gave away all the profits, along with the profits from a second book called Quidditch Through The Ages, to Comic Relief. So far the sale of the two books has raised more than £17 million.
Newt has come to the US to return a Thunderbird to it's South West homeland. An escaping niffler creates a series of events that lead to the capture of a real prick. I've seen the movie a couple of times now and enjoyed it both times. There's plenty to see, lots of nice locations, sets, props and costumes. They won an Oscar for their costumes.
Katherine Waterson, Eddie Redmayne, Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler are the main characters in the film. JK Rowling wrote the script and David Yates returns to the Harry Potter world as director. He directed the last 4 Harry Potter films. Only one of the characters from HP films appears in this film. You'll find out if you see it.
That niffler gets Newt in trouble right away and he spends the rest of the film trying to chase down the beasts that got away. He meets up with American Muggle, or No-Maj as they say in the US, Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan, a demoted Auror called Tina Goldstein, played by Katherine, and Tina's sister Queenie Goldstein, played by Alison. Those four are also signed up for future films in the series.
Things don't go so well for our gang. New York is in a bad state, the Wizarding World fears outing because of a series of attacks by some sort of magical beast. Newt, with the help of Jacob and the Goldstein sisters, manages to save the day. Then everyone gets ready for the sequel. I'm hoping they manage to make a few more. The movie was pretty popular, not quite Harry Potter popular but there's plenty of money coming in. I certainly plan to watch it again. Soon. Good thing I bought the Blu-ray. I usually don't do that for new releases. I like waiting a bit for the price to go down.
Our second film was the 1977 Shaw Brothers film The Mighty Peking Man. It was meant to capitalize on the popularity of the 1976 King Kong. It was released first in the US as Goliathon in 1980.
Danny Lee leads a group into the jungle to find a giant ape called Ah Wang. Danny and crew finds the big guy and his blonde jungle companion. Evelyne Kraft is Ah Wei and she's lived with the big fella since she was a child. A plane crash left her all alone in the jungles of India. Ah Wang befriended her and kept her safe. That's Danny on the left and Evelyne on the right. She doesn't seem to like wearing anything but that bikini. The other guy is the producer, he's a bit of a dick. Danny takes Ah Wang and Ah Wei back to Hong Kong. He's dreaming of all the cash the producer says they are going to make, but it all goes hell as the big ape gets away and starts breaking stuff.
That's the big guy smashing stuff. In Hong Kong, he'll have plenty of things to smash, the place is filled with breakable buildings. That and tall places to fall from.
It's all pretty goofy. I got a few laughs from the movie and there's some nice monster suit action. The Shaw Brothers have a fairly good miniature model making team and they get to make some nice sets for this movie. The romantic subplot between Danny and Ah Wei kind of slows the movie down a bit. It's still a fun movie to watch with plenty of "what the hell?" kind of moments. We watched the British Blu-ray and it looked the best I'd seen it. Not everyone's going to be interested in this but fans of this sort of thing should have a nice time.