Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All about Newt

The main reason I started this blog was so I'd have a medium to dump and organize my thoughts when my journal just wasn't cutting it. But sometimes I get lazy and expect those thoughts to go away of their own accord, which rarely works, and often means they start invading my dreams. For example, the last couple of days I've dreamed about Fantastic Beasts and OMG NEWT SCAMANDER IS ADORABLE AND EDDIE REDMAYNE IS BRILLIANT. I kid you not, these dreams are shouty all-caps dreams. On repeat.

I get it, brain; you loved Fantastic Beasts, and you won't be silenced until I talk about why.

My excitement for the new Gilmore Girls episodes has overshadowed everything else in my life lately, so I went to the movie on opening weekend more out of Harry Potter loyalty than actual excitement. These days the Harry Potter franchise just lets me down, so my expectations weren't high.

I should go into every movie like this; it's almost a guarantee that I'll be pleasantly surprised. The pleasant surprise was delightful, and brought back a little bit of that feeling I wish I could bottle up of reading a Harry Potter book for the first time. I loved not knowing what was going to happen, and I loved not having a book to compare it to. The only "that's not how I imagined it" moment was with the niffler—I imagined them to be fluffier and less possum-like. It was freeing and wonderful experiencing a J.K. Rowling creation onscreen first. I was able to enjoy this film in ways I just wasn't able to experience the eight Harry Potter movies, no matter how excited I was for them.

But that's all secondary to Newt Scamander himself. I had heard beforehand from a few different sources that Eddie Redmayne "underacted" and was too dull to do a JKR hero justice.

I COULD NOT DISAGREE MORE. (Yes, those all-caps were necessary.)

Because I know this guy. He avoids eye contact, like my brother does. He seems to hide behind the hair that falls over one side of his face, kind of like my sister does with her jackets. He is most at ease when he's doing what he's good at but clearly isn't in his element when he's around people (again, like my brother). He develops close bonds with a select number of people and doesn't really need anybody else, like me.

He doesn't just feel familiar; I understood him right away, though it took me a while to put my finger on why. This is a guy cut from the same cloth as my people—shy, introverted, perhaps with some Asperger's tendencies—but portrayed in a real, natural way rather than as an obvious caricature anyone can pick up on immediately. Newt is just Newt, and every acting choice Eddie Redmayne makes feeds into that. (He's a genius, I tell you. Give him a raise.) Behind his uncharismatic outside demeanor is a lovable, endlessly interesting soul that is so much more than his social awkwardness and unique talents. I cannot stress enough how great it is to root for a hero who, without his case of magical creatures, would be living silently and invisibly among us.

I may not make it until the DVD comes out to watch this movie again. And I can assure you I'll be properly excited for the next movie.

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