As a big fan of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Newt is, by far, my favorite Hufflepuff), I was very much looking forward to The Crimes of Grindelwald. I wasn't disappointed, by any means, but what I found in Crimes was not what I expected. I am, like many watchers, left a little confused...
Great filming. Loved the action-packed beginning, the dynamic shots, the ways in which this movie is filmed in much darker colors (it's a darker movie), and the phenomenal acting.
The story-line was intriguing enough to keep me wondering how Credence could be related to LeStrange and other characters, and why that would be important. The acting that complimented it--Depp's dynamic role as a charismatic though truly evil villain, Newt's growth with his human counterparts, LeStrange's riveting love and sacrifice, Queenie's struggle with her inner demons and society, and Dumbledore's heartbreak--was wonderful to watch.
Nagini! Need I say more? Nagini gets to be a real character! Kinda rockin'.
The portkey scene...so darn funny. I love Jacob. More Jacob, please!
So much that is happening has almost no basis in previous work. For instance, Nagini's very existence. While it's cool that we get to experience an interesting take on a character we thought we knew in HP, it doesn't seem to have a basis in the story familiar to me. In HP, I'd not heard of a person with her "condition." It seemed to me that that was something that might have come up at one point. Maybe it's rare thing, but I'm not sure how I feel about that popping up.
The other "pop up" is the ending. Spoiler alert! Do not keep reading, if you haven't watched it yet. There's no basis in the HP books for another Dumbledore brother. There's a sister who dies young, Dumbledore's brother who runs the Hog's Head, and his parents who were physically separated after Percival was jailed for attacking the muggles who assaulted his daughter. His mom probably didn't have a baby with another person in between her death, after her husband's imprisonment, right? We'd have heard that mentioned, right? Because Dumbledore's mother dies due to a magic-related accident involving his sister's lack of control (a possible early reference to Obscurial). So...where does this brother come from? Is it made up by Grindelwald to lure Credence into his clutches? Why the phoenix, then? It reminds me of the Obscurial from the first movie. It's never obviously referenced in HP, but then is the entire basis for Fantastic Beasts. Another brother is never referenced in HP, but is now the basis for Crimes. I don't know about that.
I'm also not sure that I like that Queenie goes so off in this one. Rather than making her more complex, the ways in which she is manipulated make her appear ignorant, which I don't like. In Fantastic Beasts, she is forward-thinking and clever, so why would she fall prey to Grindewald, no matter how cunning he is? Especially when it separates her from her love? That was stretch to me. One that made a really great character act in a way that goes to counter to her original persona.
Overall, the movie kept me going, kept me hanging on, but it left me wanting more of the humor of the first, more friendship shots between Jacob and Newt (who are a great pairing), and a little more clarity. It seemed a bit convoluted. Not a bad movie at all. I enjoyed it. But it was not, in my opinion, as enjoyable as Fantastic Beasts, which so well balanced light and dark, funny and serious, good and evil. This one felt less balanced.
Recently, my uncle on my husband's side of the family, Oliver Jones (OJ) passed away. It's been so hard for my husband's side of the family. It seems all of the strong figures, the people who understood what to do when something went wrong, the people who were the face of the family, are falling so quickly away from us. It feels so unfair, and so fast. So incredibly fast. So fast it takes the air from our lungs, so that it becomes hard to speak our grief properly. I helped with the obituary, being writerly, as did my husband, being a jack of all awesomeness. I wanted to put it here. I want more people to know exactly the kind of man the world is losing, the best kind of man. That way, years from now, when all other sites have forgotten my uncle, I can go back to this post and say, "No, I won't forget."
So, again, I display loss on my blog. I feel like it has been a constant theme lately. There is no one more sorry than myself that that is the case. Indeed, it is a theme seemingly plaguing my family. So, for those who pray, we will accept those prayers eagerly. Thank you for remembering my loved ones with me.
Oliver Ralph Jones (Uncle OJ)
Oliver Ralph “OJ” “George” Jones was born on December 17, 1946 to Bob and Lillian Jones, and left us too soon on November 3, 2018. A proud Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal member, OJ lived much of his life on the tribe’s reservation.
Oliver was a proud Army vet and Vietnam War hero, who served as a combat medic, including with the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry 25th Infantry Division at the battle for Tan Son Nhut Air Base in 1968 during the Tet Offensive. He traveled far and wide to meet and honor his fellow veterans, and proudly spoke of his service at local reservations and schools, including at Wolfle Elementary. His words and his actions touched many.
Oliver worked for 25 years as a rigger at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, retiring in 1997. OJ was an important keeper of cultural teachings. He was a fixture of the annual tribal canoe journeys, pulling, helping the ground crew, and sharing songs and teachings with all. He carried the name Ta-tooch-win-is and practiced his culture and spirituality for many years through powwow dancing and through the Skokomish longhouse. When not attending cultural or spiritual functions, he could be found carving for them, painting drums, rattles, and paddles, or drying horse clams, and freely teaching others to do the same.
In the potlatching tradition, OJ was the host of his own lifelong giveaway, as well as the speaker for family giveaways. There was not a treasure he made or a gift he was given that he wouldn’t freely give to another. His spirit was one of generosity. OJ’s charisma and humor were well loved by all. He was best known for a goofy sense of humor, often greeting family and friends with a “What’s up, Dawg?” and ending a conversation with “I heart you, Dude.” His most treasured motto was Love, Honor and Respect. And he lived it, every day.
Oliver was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Karen Harris, his brothers Alan Jones and Mike Jones Sr., his nieces Rhonda Smith and NellieKim Sorenson, his granddaughter Raven McGill, and his great-nephew James Smith. He is survived by his children Duncan (Kelsey) Whyte, Cory (Andrea) Whyte, and Chaz Jones; his grandchildren Ian, Bradly, Cory, Collin, Charli, Brooklyn, Alena, Ryan and Oliver; his companion and best friend Nancy Meyer; his siblings Donna and Kevin Jones; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins; and innumerable family and friends from near and far.
"Our Strength is Gone" a poem by H.M. Jones for Uncle OJ
No better word for a man who, it seemed, could not be beaten.
Not by the dredge war, internal battle of coming home,
dread memories of atrocities unknown, losses of friends then family.
Sickness attempted to bend your back, break you.
You stood, tall as you could, smiled, joked, spoke words that built others up,
sang songs that healed.
Even when your body sometimes failed you, your spirit strength never did.
A man who held my hand when his pain was so terrible he couldn’t stand,
and smiled and called me sweet niece,
you comforted others, never seeking your own peace.
No better word for a man who guided wherever he stirred;
sometimes firm, sometimes curt, sometimes soft, sometimes in tremulous grief.
You were our trusted source, the one who walked and lived history, ancestry, culture, paths few were strong enough to travel.
You knew, you always seemed to know where we were supposed to go.
Where, now, do we go?
No one more generous with those beloved,
his girls, his children, his family, his bountiful friends.
He bedecked us in high class gifts,
so often crafted with his paint-splashed hands,
sawdust blanketed him, a cedar coat of honor.
He gave, gave, gave, leaving so little for himself.
How do we manage when the strong are gone?
Is it enough to know you’re with your best friend?
With those who’ve made eternal peace their home?
Our grief would say no.
We are searching for your answers in hearts muddled by loss.
Our eyes drift over the crowd of uncertainty, searching for a form we will no longer see. We are left only with the wealth of the words you gave, the great example you left us.
And we must make it enough.
I've been thinking about quote shares lately, and how much they annoy me. It's hard to pinpoint why something like my friends sharing various snippets of thought could so annoy me. Being political season, politically based memes smashing the "other side" have been particularly annoying, as well. And I find myself more frustrated over silly shares than I probably need to be. It's wasted energy to be mad about it, but I'm starting to understand why it annoys me.
Small think meets group think. I have so many friends sharing snippets of quotes that don't encompass the whole idea of the original intention of the essay/book/poem as a whole. I have people pushing snippets of pan religiousity on the hordes who push like and share and feel they are known.
But they are not. You are not a meme, a quote or a consumer-made facebook/instagram/twitter personality, two parts political left or right leaning meme, two parts Budda/Dali Lama/Christ quotes taken out of context. You are a person with a story that is being pushed into pixels and puked onto the screen.
I'm a person who loves stories. I love the entirety of life. I think that's why I find myself annoyed when people I know portray themselves though pixels instead of through thought. Your stories matter, your experience matters, your life matters.
We are allowing ourselves to be canned into something more easily consumed. If we are sick, we can filter it. If we are over-worked we can share an inspirational quote about how success requires overwork, if we are feeling ugly we can paste a better version of ourselves in squares on the screen, and be free...
Only we aren't. We are part of the under-thinking, undeveloped mind puke of self-consciousness. And it is frustrating for me to see. Conservative, liberal, you AND me. We buy into creating ourselves in a socially consumable way, every day. I tire of it. It drives my already crazy me over that tipsy edge. I want to fight back, but feel unable to do so. Perhaps if I share the exact, right saying...the perfect meme...
H.M Jones is the author of B.R.A.G Medallion Honor and NIEA finalist book Monochrome, its prequel Fade to Blue, the Adela Darken Graphic Novellas, Al Ravien's Night, The Immortals series, and several short stories.