Johnny Depp. Fantastic Beasts storylines. Wait until the final curtain. Then decide.

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The irony of Edward D. Wood Jr. and his films was that he has been dubbed the worst ever Hollywood director and yet his films are now considered Cult Classics. It got me thinking how Johnny Depp played ‘Ed Wood’ in a Tim Burton movie to great critical acclaim. Depp’s latest film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has a very mixed and mostly negative reaction to it. Johnny Depp has gone from perceived hero to perceived monster status. There has been a definite singling out of Johnny Depp over the last few years. Relentless pursuit to bring him down. What is also interesting is that Edward D. Wood was in fact a target too.

“Straight cross-dresser Ed Wood was often ostracized and ridiculed during his life. The now-legendary filmmaker, producer, actor, and writer of lurid pulp novels lived in boozy poverty with his wife Kathy in Hollywood at the height of his career in the 1950s. At a time when sexual orientation and America’s identity were strictly conservative, Wood explored the darker side of human nature—albeit through an unapologetically pop medium. He created cult-classic movies and pervy paperbacks with titles like Killer In Drag. He and his wife Kathy also rubbed shapely shoulders with Hollywood’s elite at underground transvestite parties“.

https://www.interviewmagazine.com/film/bob-blackburn-ed-wood

Below from Wikipedia: Interesting.

“In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget films in the science fiction, crime and horror genres, intercutting stock footage. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sexploitation movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime, horror and sex novels. In 1975, he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time, renewing public interest in his work.[1] Wood’s career and campapproach has earned him and his films a cult following.

Following the publication of Rudolph Grey‘s 1992 oral biography Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr., the public took a greater interest in Wood, leading up to director Tim Burton‘s biopic of Wood’s life, Ed Wood (1994), a critically acclaimed film starring Johnny Depp as Wood that earned two Academy Awards“.

No doubt about it. Many of the considered unacceptable aspects of people’s lives in specific time eras are reviewed at a later date and a new and changed viewpoint leads to a sympathetic response and, ultimately, acceptance. Tolerance? Not really. Just ignorance of what we do not want to accept at certain points in history. And ultimately a self confession of ‘What were we actually thinking was right or wrong in all of this?’

Unfortunately Johnny Depp’s life is under the microscope recently. A free for all.  My own feelings? I believe he is being ‘man hunted’. A victim. Both in the arena of the modern media. Out there being slaughtered by all and sundry. And also a victim of the considered ‘unbelievable’ status of having been a ‘male’ abused victim. And as a male who, as he states, was abused in his relationship with Amber Heard, he has been scorned. Not by his army of fans. They are massive in support for him. On the other hand, trolling, public comments of extreme belittling, ‘what did he expect ? He’s a dirty, filthy, washed up, drunk/drug addict’, are unbelievably vicious. This guy has given us some outstanding film work. I remember reading about his personality over the years since back when my children saw and loved Edward Scissorhands. All the films since of variety and interesting genre. So versatile, dynamic and professionally a ‘one off actor of superb skills’. As said, over the years I’ve read reports. How gentle, generous and considerate he was to others.

Artists in the current public eye are in the unfortunate position of modern age trial by media/Facebook/Twitter/etc. Absolute gutter comments with no consequence from abysmal bullying actions. These typed/written crucifying words from people who set out to trash lives. But I believe in truth. I wrote a lyric in one of my songs that went ‘One truth beats a million lies……every time’. And so……I’ll be waiting until the final Curtain. I’ve got a feeling that true enlightenment is around the corner. Johnny Depp is currently suing the Sun Newspaper for calling him a wife-beater and criticising JK Rowling for supporting him and continuing with him in the role of Gelert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise. I believe Johnny Depp. It’s a gut feeling. A ‘feel it and know it in your bones’ experience.  It has to be these types of feeling because this scenario has everyone chucking their ‘two penny worth of vicious and vindictive viewpoints’ at the internet. It’s a chaotic back and forth. You have to scuttle through the mind blowing written negative drivel. And resulting from all this? He’s subsequently drowning from perceived public negativity. A rebel? Well that’s a part of his nature. But he has more values and strings to his bow too. But viciousness inherent? Nah! And I am under no disillusionment that JK Rowling would have definitely removed him from the role if she thought he was a wrong one. As said……..a manhunt. About the film and the critics’ views? Oh me oh my! Being a Critic is a very shallow profession it would seem. ‘Controversy’ they bleat. ‘How very dare they’ they bleat. ‘Let’s all repeat each other because we have a collective planned seek and destroy target’ they snigger. JK Rowling, by association with employing Johnny Depp, is now a target too. Please! This is becoming a joke. And it’s not very funny. Guilty by association to the not guilty. You couldn’t make it up. My own views on the Fantastic Beasts film? From my Facebook page:

Loved the whole Fantastic Beasts:The Crimes of Grindelwald experience. As did the audience around me. As did my wife who has never read a word from the Harry Potter books. The critics? No point in reading over and over again the same old ‘repeated from other sources’ (whether book/film inclusions or delving into private lives) sound bites. No insight really. Just re-quotes over and over picking and complaining at either plot discrepancies, the private life of Johnny Depp, JK Rowling’s political observations or seeing this film in the singular. Yes! Let’s remember……The film is a part of a series. Harry Potter books had cliffhangers and years of querying the books as they followed each other and then reflective analysis culminating in enlightenment. The Fantastic Beasts films do not have books published available for analysis.

Debate, insight, analysis on Pottermore are a decent source to delve into. Lively lighthearted or deeply intense discussion is essential and welcome levels of peer social belonging. Tolkien is the only author I can think of that does the same. And we had the other added stories of the Silmarillion, Tom Bombadil, and many more to look further into Middle Earth. There is comfort and well being in the recognition of books, films as part of your life and having the presence of old friends. Tolkien? Loved both the films and the books. Look what artistic licence they wielded in the Tolkien films. But, very enjoyable experiences nonetheless. And I still have the books as my comfort mainstay. Sometimes, you just get on with life. Cloud Atlas was a similar experience. My favourite book alongside Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Also Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. These books and resulting plethora of films? Now there’s chalk and cheese at times. They are what they are. But I do understand the valued and precious content of the Harry Potter world in the books. Not an aficionado but there must have been changes from books to those films too. It’s the medium that dictates. You simply aren’t able to cram thousands of pages into 2 to 3 hours of film. So….

Back to the Fantastic Beasts film. There is a luxury that the Potter films came from pre-read books. Also, JK Rowling knew holistically her Harry, Ron and Hermione and other characters’ stories and the storyline development rationale. Little bombshells scattered throughout the books with us awaiting the final book to bring understanding, whilst leaving you wanting even more from the Wizarding World. And here we have it. However. These new Fantastic Beasts films have no background insights for us to analyse. No opportunity to know where we are going or argue ‘is the book better than the film or vice versa?’ But, I’m pretty sure JK Rowling knows what she’s doing! Hasn’t done too badly so far has she? Wait until the final curtain.

The critics? The detractors are mostly nit picking singular film experience ideals and writing the boring same old, same old rehash. I stop reading most critics after, at most, a third of the way through. Tedious drivel. The admirers, some with reservations, are mostly recognising the film’s artistic skills whilst awaiting development and explanations from future stories and with a willingness to invest in the ‘wait and see’. Whatever the critics’ views, good, bad or indifferent, they’ll never take away the goosebumps I had at that amazing opening sequence, and other scenarios further into the film. Never take away the laughs, the sadness, the shocks, the puzzlements I felt. They’ll live within me forever. Those puzzlements? Regarded as confusing or boring inclusions by some. We haven’t got the books to link new ideas re: history and character insight. A cup of tea? Priceless character grounding in normality amongst the chaos that surrounds. I imagine is it Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Chamomile or PG Tips? The equivalent of the Bertie Botts beans flavours. The normality of inclusions letting your own imagination flicker. I love the familiar aspects from the Potter franchise. A sense of coming home. Like Holmes or Poirot.

So, the longer exchanged dialogue/character insights within the film? Simply an essential inclusion of explanation and follow up consideration in the short length of a film. I don’t go to a film to be met with non stop action. Especially one in an intended long series. And the people who have invested in JK Rowling’s stories will probably go and develop their own views too. People who have invested in JK lore or critics? Insightfulness or planned agenda? I feel shallow pretence analysis of this film has more to do with critics having agendas/axes to grind than true thoughtful artistic insightful comment. Have a look to see how many mention the word ‘Controversy’ and go on to discuss with one sided bias. All this intent on besmirching and intentional attempted assassination of the lives of real people? Let’s wait.

Johnny Depp has once again given us a characterisation that will become a film icon. A beautifully considered Wizard to match his beautifully considered Pirate. This. Despite all that is going on in his life. He’s a fighter. And I, for one, thank him for this. Will we have enlightenment later on down the line?  Again…..Wait until the final curtain. I believe we will.

4 Comments

  1. An interesting read Gray but never having been a Depp nor Rowling fan I cannot comment in any meaningful way. Nor do I ‘hate’ them; they are just irrelevant to me. I haven’t found Tolkien interesting either. I do have one accord: I read ‘A Christmas Carol’ every Christmas.

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    1. I read it too. Every Christmas. It adds an essential atmosphere to Christmas time for me. Also David Mitchell ‘Slade House’ at Halloween. Authors such as Tolkien, JK Rowling, Dickens, HGWells, Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle are loved by millions. They have mass appeal. But I’m not fanatical about these authors. But feel a sense of well being in reading their works. I read novels, stories and poetry by authors/poets who have their small band of followers too. A great story is a great story. And a great actor is a great actor. Thanks for dropping by. Enjoying reading your latest writing too.

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      1. As you say, reading it makes Christmas Christmas. And it takes me back to my childhood. If I have a favourite author he is it, apart from one. I have a ‘Dickens shelf’ with all his books, which I dip into from time to time so if I finish Scrooge quickly I might have a go at his other Christmas books or stories during December.

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      2. The ‘cricket on the hearth’ and ‘the chimes’ are all I’ve read of the other Christmas stories. And a long time ago too. I’ll have to revisit them again.

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