I already did a post about 7 "Fantastic" Things I Can't Stop Thinking About, and I thought that would be good enough for my blog. But alas, I have caught on to more details that I had missed the first time I saw the movie. And I needed to get them out of my system. Some are very small, but some carry great significance. And by the way, don't forget to enter my blog birthday/Christmas giveaway. One of the prizes is Newt's scarf, so if you didn't win it the first time, you have another chance. I'm picking the winners in two days. ^_^
1. The Second Salemers' Banner
I feel stupid I didn't really realize it earlier, but the Second Salemers' banner. I knew it had to do with the Salem Trials, so I understood all the fire. The Salem Witches, as we know, were burned. But I just thought the other thing was wood being broken for the fire. But it's not. It's the snapping of a wand. -_- Why I didn't get this earlier is beyond me, but glad I finally figured it out. And one of my friends who is an even bigger Harry Potter fan than I am, didn't pick up on it either, so I'm assuming many others didn't. And do you see the magic coming out of the wand? Yeah.
2. The Grindelwald Poster
When the main characters are bartering with Gnarlack, the goblin, when the camera shows the wanted posters on the wall, there is one shot with a wanted poster of Grindelwald, but his face has been scratched out (would have been mighty weird to randomly see Johnny Depp on a Wizarding Poster.) It's show when the MACUSA come, and the poster is on the right side of the screen.
3. Tina and Queenie
When Tina takes Newt and Jacob back to her place, Queenie is in a slip, but doesn't seem to mind. She gets dressed right in front of Jacob. While she is getting dressed, Tina goes to the clothes by the fire and removes all her slips drying. Only the slips. She leaves the other clothes. It's a small detail, but I love that level of attention to detail and how it shows the contrast between these two characters. Queenie is comfortable being in a slip in front of men, Tina is embarrassed that hers are even out.
4. Newt's Moment of Definitive Eye Contact
Some of you may have noticed that Newt (almost) never maintains eye contact with people. It's another great character detail that I can love Eddie Redmayne for. Newt is usually looking off to the side, directly ahead, and the moments when he does seem to make eye contact, if you look at his eyes, most of the time he's not actually focused on the person, at least not for long. It's great for a character who feels so out of sync and uncomfortable with people.
But the one real moment where he maintains direct, present-of-mind eye contact is when trying to save the Obscurus, Credence, at the end. His eye contact is solid, meaningful, and focused on the person. It's perfect.
Admittedly, he does give Tina some eye contact in the last scene, but even then it's a tad distant, at least mentally.
5. Using Accio on the Niffler and Why that's Clever
This is so small, but such a clever micro-concept, I had to include it. I technically noticed this one the first time, but I'm putting in here. When trying to catch the Niffler at the jewelry store, Newt uses "accio," a spell that summons objects (very rarely does it work on anything living). But the Niffler has a lot of objects in its pouch, which is why the spell slows the Niffler down and jewelry starts flying out, hitting Newt and Jacob. Very small, but I can appreciate the cleverness in brainstorming that tiny blip of action.
6. Why Jacob Sort of Remembers Queenie, and Why the Wizards are Immune to the Rain
I've been hearing people online trying to figure out how all the memory stuff works in this movie. At the end, rain falls to make all the Muggles forget everything, but apparently it doesn't impact the Wizards who are running around in it fixing stuff. And apparently it doesn't fully work on Jacob, who (as the script confirms) starts to have some of his memories return.
Well. Because the word "obliviate" is used so much, people keep comparing these incidents to the obliviate spell. But the reality is, Newt didn't use an obliviate spell. He used Swooping Evil venom. When we first see the venom, Newt explains he thinks it can be used to forget bad memories (also, side note of the interesting connection of Swooping Evils eating brains and having properties that affect memories). For most of the Muggles (besides Jacob), they learned about the existence of magic and wizards when an obscurus was attacking the city--that's a bad memory. However, not all of Jacob's memories with Wizards were bad. Also, keep in mind that Newt says he thinks the Swooping Evil venom could be useful, and he thinks it can be used against bad memories, which means he's not entirely sure (which is a little scary that he uses it anyway, but it goes with his character). So Jacob does lose his memories to a degree, but they also come back to a degree.
Unlike obliviate, the rain didn't affect the wizards and witches. In the same scene where the Swooping Evil venom is introduced, Newt explains that Muggles are a bit different than wizards, and so he has to mix up Jacob's remedy differently. I don't think it's coincidence that he says this just before the venom is introduced. Why even have that line in the story? Is it just a bit of interesting worldbuilding? Maybe. But maybe not. It shows that Newt understands how to make remedies specifically for Muggles. So, the rain made the Muggles forget, and not the wizards.
7. Why Pickett is so Attached to Newt & Pickett's Name
These two aren't my own findings, but they are accurate. Pickett is the little Bowtruckle guy, and we know he has some attachment issues. Sure, part of it is that Pickett doesn't get along with the other Bowtruckles, and he had a cold, so Newt had to carry him around, but something else happened too.
Bowtruckles are guardians. They guard trees. You can't even take a leaf off the tree without providing them an offering of woodlice. But as someone pointed out, despite that, Pickett refuses to even be put down on his own tree. Which sort of means . . . Newt is his new tree. Pickett's instincts, after being kept on Newt, has led to him claiming Newt as his tree. That's why he has attachment issues.
Also, Bowtruckles are apparently known for picking locks. So "Pick-it" as a name seems rather apt. (Thanks to my brother who put that one together.)
8. The Minister of Magic is in the Film--and his dialogue might be rather revealing.
When Newt finally gets taken to the MACUSA, it's during a meeting of world leaders. When he comes out of his briefcase, we hear "Mr. Scamander?"
Newt: Hello, Minister.
Minister: What are you doing here?
Newt: I came to purchase an Appaloosa Puffskein from a breeder.
Minister: Right, what are you really doing here?
The dialogue here also connects back to that theory I mentioned in this post in #2 the Obscurus Theory. Interestingly, many of you might not know, but prior to going abroad, Newt actually worked for the Ministry of Magic. And his brother "The War Hero" referred to in the movie, was tasked with finding Grindelwald.
Anyway, back to that Obscurus theory. "What are you really doing here?" Implies, of course, that Newt is doing something more. He never actually came to New York to to see an Appaloosa Puffskein breeder, which as Tina explains, "was shut down a year ago," the same time Newt left to go abroad. He of anyone should know that the breeder was shut down. The fact he still uses it as an excuse in the MACUSA suggests again it's just a cover-up.
"Of course," some of you might be saying. Newt says the real reason for his trip is to release the Thunderbird, but while Newt seems genuine about that, I don't know if I buy that as the whole story. Why would he have to hide that fact from people while at the same time, use a lame excuse that he's here to buy an Appaloosa Puffskein (which we and Newt know are illegal, yet he tells it to people in the government). To strengthen my argument, Newt's briefcase gets searched and no one could care less about the Thunderbird, and they certainly don't seem to care he has it when he suddenly releases it at the end. No one even blinks an eye. Newt even gets a thank-you. I'm not sure I buy that Newt lies to cover-up the fact he has a Thunderbird he wants to release. And if Frank belongs in Arizona, and that's the only reason Newt is in America, why stop in New York at all?
"Right, what are you really doing here?" the Minister of Magic asks, which by the way, Newt never answers. He evades the question. There is probably even some subtext going on, considering Newt worked for the Ministry.
There is a good chance that Newt was there because of the Obscurus attacks, or considering his brother's role, the rumor of Grindelwald's attacks--but really, they could be one in the same, which I'll get to in my next detail. BUT remember how I pointed out how weird it was that Newt had tried to save a little girl with an Obscurus AND has it "to study"? Newt's not a doctor (healer) and the Obscurus is not a beast. Why is he doing that? Is it because he's actually doing some work for Dumbledore, who harbors deep feelings about Obscurus and Grindelwald, since his sister Ariana, (more than likely) was one? Again, remember, the only two people in that room full of world leaders who recognized an Obscurus were Newt and Graves.
Because several of Newt's creatures escape, we get more ambiguity in the story line. Newt suddenly needs to recapture his creatures, in addition to whatever his real reason for coming here was. And it wasn't to get an Appaloosa Puffskein--strange that he still uses that excuse in MACUSA even though Tina already told him the breeder was shut down. It's because it's his go-to excuse.
9. More Telling Dialogue about this Obscurus Theory
Near the starting of the movie, the President of MACUSA explains that people are linking the attacks happening in New York to Grindelwald's attacks. Why are people linking them? Is it just because there is a bunch of chaos and people are afraid of Grindelwald? Or is it because the "attacks" are actually similar to other attacks Grindelwald has been spotted at? One thing I'm sure of, Grindelwald was in New York because of the Obscurus. Maybe the attacks in New York are similar to his others in Europe because they also involved an Obscurus? Either one he was trying to get his hands on, or one he was already trying to use? Sure, Tina says that there hasn't been an Obscurus in a century, but we know that's not true. Newt saw one, and Ariana was more than likely one. Also there is a stigma and danger that comes with Obscurus; they aren't going to be parading around. Plus, how would the world leaders know whether or not there was an Obscurus when they can't even recognize what its attacks look like?
Then, when Graves has Newt in the interrogation room, Graves accuses Newt of unleashing a beast to kill others for the "greater good."
Newt replies, "I'm not one of Grindelwald's fanatics."
To which Graves responds by pulling out the Obscurus, seemingly as proof that Newt is.
That transition reveals Graves's association with "Grindelwald fanatic" and "Obscurus."
When this happens, Newt immediately responds in defense of himself.
This exchange hints at something more. That perhaps there is a real association of Obscurus and Grindelwald. And once again, we are confronted with the fact that Newt and Graves know more about the Obscurus than most people.
Also, side note, notice how Graves says the line, "It's useless," and Newt goes, "What on Earth would you use it for?"--that point is when Graves realizes he needs to kill Newt and Tina because he just gave his motives away to them, so, he orders them to the death chamber.
Yet another nice side note on dialogue, at the end when the Obscurus is destroying New York, Tina asks Newt to "save him." The subtext of course, is that he nearly succeeded in saving someone before. Newt may actually know how to save Credence. So when Tina says that, she's appealing to that.
10. The One Person Who Actually does have Influence over the Obscurus
Newt makes a little bit of headway talking to Credence, and you can tell he's done this before and he knows what he's doing, yet it's Tina that Credence is most responsive to. When in Obscurus form, Newt says, "Keep talking Tina, he's listening to you." Credence is most responsive to Tina because she rescued him before--when his mother was punishing him. It's questionable whether or not Credence actually remembers this. Probably not. He was probably obliviated. But there is still that connection.
Bonus Thought: Why the Fact Jacob's Pastries Look Like Beasts is Particularly Awesome
At one point in the film, Jacob explains to Newt that he wants to open a bakery because pastries make people happy. No one can argue with that. But what I love about it, is that even though the audience can't taste the pastries, the filmmakers still make us feel happy about them. Every showing I've gone to for this movie, I've heard the audience react happily to the fact the pastries are shaped like magical creatures. We all get a little taste of that happiness Jacob mentioned. ^_^