The Story of the Boy Who Lived

The older you get, the harder it is to buy presents for someone; birthdays and Christmas become less of a celebration and more of a tightrope walk between disappointment and frustration.  Philippe Petit has nothing on someone trying to get a gift that’s surprising and thoughtful, yet wanted.

Thank Dawkins Warner Bros. decided to turn Leavesden Studios into a dedicated museum to the Harry Potter movies.  At least this year, Ang’s birthday didn’t involve the words Frack, What and The.

Housed in two gigantic buildings, the Harry Potter Experience contains almost every piece of Harry Potter arcana that any fan might want to see, including a fully dressed Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and the scale model of Hogwarts used during filming.  The latter really has to be seen to be believed: fifty feet wide, the size of a very large room, and with two and a half thousand optic fibres inside, it took eighty-six artists a total of seventy-four man years to create.

Even more breathtaking, once you go outside you can stand in Privet Drive itself while looking at the Knight Bus and the cottage where the story began.  In a moment of marketing genius, Warner Bros. have allowed the taking of photographs, which means that most of the people will have their experience looking through an iPhone screen whilst screaming.

The Harry Potter Experience certainly is worth a visit even if you aren’t as foaming-at-the-mouth of a fan as Ang, though it’s likely to turn you into a confirmed agoraphobic as the sheer numbers of people passing through makes it feel like rush hour on the Central Line.  If you do go, steer clear of the butterbeer.

‘Course, I’m screwed for next year.


“I knew a boy who made all the wrong choices”

Harry Potter and the half-Blood Prince PosterImage via Wikipedia

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a wonderful interpretation of the most complex and emotional book of the series. While it suffers a little from Empire Strikes Back syndrome, there’s enough there to let it stand on its own without feeling like the middle child.

Wonderfully natural performances, as can only be expected from a group of actors who have grown up together making these movies and a sense of wistfulness as they come close to the end of this part of their careers. Michael Gambon, as always, played Dumbledore so well that it’s a struggle to see how the late Richard Harris could have done the same.

While the fans are up in arms about missing scenes and changes made, the emotional impact of the ending would have been lessened too much if the book was followed too faithfully. With David Yeats set to direct the next two, the series can only end on a high note.Enhanced by Zemanta