More Than a Movie..

I love the movies, they’re pure escapism, and being able to lose myself for a few hours helps to make my existence on this confusing planet a little more tolerable..

When it comes to genre, I favour fantasy films more than anything else and (unsurprisingly) one of the most successful fantasy franchises has been Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies..

When it comes to the wizarding world, I can identify with the ‘non-magical’ versus wizards’ concept because it’s not dissimilar to the NT versus autistic one. That’s not to suggest that I have magical powers, because I don’t – unless you consider photographic memory a superpower? Or how fast I can sprint upstairs when somebody knocks on the door? Nor am I suggesting that there is a war between autistic and non-autistics – it’s just that ‘Muggles and No-Maj’s’ don’t understand the wizarding world and vice versa.

There are many autistic traits to be found in the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts films. I mean, Newt Scamander has many autistic traits despite no affirmation from J.K Rowling. Then again, the film is set in the 1920s so Newt wouldn’t have been diagnosed anyway. He would have most likely have been labelled eccentric, or mad.

Harry Potter isn’t an autistic character, but I empathise with the range of emotions he goes through when Hagrid informs him that, actually, he’s a shit-hot wizard and those things about himself that he never understood, such as his hair growing back overnight, suddenly make sense – which is not that dissimilar to receiving an autism diagnosis.

Film or book?

Some people say that films never do justice to the books they were based but I don’t agree with that. Granted, it’s a different experience because films are someone else’s vision whereas we have to use our own imagination with books, but there is generally a score in films which adds a different dimension to the experience..

When we think about Jaws, it’s hard to imagine the film without it’s distinctive score because music creates atmosphere and as soon as we hear the du-du, du-du, du-du-du-du-du-du-DU-DU-DU we know that some poor sod is about to get snarfed by a great white shark, you get me?

Aside the actual films, I consider the credits to be an important part of the movie experience, but time and time again I find that I (and by extension, my family) are the only people remaining in our seats as the last credits scroll up..

It’s always the same. The end of the film comes, the soundtrack kicks in and there’s a flurry of activity with people standing up, coats being put on and a general mass exodus towards the exits, whereas I always watch the credits.

One reason is that I like to see the names of the people who made the film possible. Another is that I’m a music fan and there are often several pieces of music of soundtrack played during the credits. Also, there’s often a little something extra mid-credits or at the very end. Some movies use bloopers and in others the post credit scenes are crucial because it ties the movie up or leaves the audience (or who ever is left) in a state of anticipation.

*WARNING* At this point I’m going to use UP (again) and Christopher Robin as examples so if you haven’t seen those films and would like to, please scroll down beyond the italics.

In the case of the animated film, UP, the credit scenes flip through Carl’s photo album and we get to see the adventures he has with Russell and Dug. As we see in the film, this is what Ellie wanted him to do after she was gone. Blended with the beautiful (and award-winning) score by Michael Giacchino these scenes brings this movie to an emotionally pleasing end.

Another example is Christopher Robin where, after a few minutes of credits, there is a little sequence where all the characters are having a dance and a sing-song on the beach where there is an old man playing a piano. The old man is no other than Richard Sherman – a nine time Oscar nominee and writer of some of the most memorable songs Disney ever made. It’s a sweet touch and one that most people never got to see because they left the cinema as soon as the credits started to roll.

If I hadn’t stayed for the Fantastic Beasts credits, I wouldn’t have heard the fantastic soundtrack. Or learned that Mr Depp had a small army of people pandering to his every need. Or that his scary contact lens had its very own technician..

In my younger days, I’d leave the cinema, go home and re-enact everything I’d seen and then I’d work the characters into a persona using their phrases, mannerisms and style. This is masking, although I didn’t know it then. In those days, I was more out of this world than I was in it – something which my mother would testify to if she were alive because the one thing she observed about me was that I never seemed to be here.

As I’ve aged I’ve been obliged to spend more time in reality so these few hours in the cinema are crucial to my wellbeing. It’s an experience which affects me on every level, including physically, because endorphins flood my body when I watch a movie with a kick-arse weirdo lead character or when the freaks ‘n’ geeks triumph over those who seek to belittle them. But all too soon screen fades to black, the lights go up, and there are a couple of disgruntled looking cleaners giving me the evils because everyone else has gone and they’ve got a shit load of popcorn to sweep up..

So I reluctantly make my way to the exit and walk through the door – back into reality.

Back into the familiar sense of disconnection.

It’s as physical as it is emotional and I’d give anything to turn around and walk back into that room because the cinema screen is the portal to another world – my Narnia – and the only one which I really feel connected to.

“I wish we could go to the movies.”
I stared at him. “We’re in a creepy dungeon. There’s a chance I might die in the next few hours. You are going to die in the next few hours. And if you had one wish, it would be to catch a movie?” ~ Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass

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