Sunday, 29 May 2011

Harry Potter Film Wizardry

Normally I don’t elaborate on products or production based book, but this one is good enough to do just that.

With the end of the Harry Potter film franchise nearing, it seemed the right time to go back and savour the highlights of the ten-year long series. Harry Potter: Film Wizardry does just that: a scrapbook that encompassed the decade-long saga, where everyone from the producers, directors, and production designer explain in details how they conceptualised some of the plot points and settings; and the actors, including the three stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, hit memory lane to disclose some of the best, funniest, and sometimes most uncomfortable times they had playing Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the films.

The book begins with a foreward from Dan, Rupert, and Emma, who gush about how much of an impact the series made in their lives. Dan remarked on the journey both he and Harry endured in the ten years; Rupert took pride in playing brave Ron Weasley, the "ultimate ginger," in his words; and Emma voiced her respect for her young, annoying, brainy Muggle-born fictional counterpart she thought she had nothing in common with early in the series, but who she embraced with all her heart by the end. It then lead into the first of many producer's notes scattered throughout the book, where David Heyman, the man who read the first Harry Potter book, fell in love, and immediately insisted on making the films, explained how he began to piece the movies together well over ten years ago. 

Author Brian Sibley compiled the scrapbook with a combination of production notes, countless cast and crew interviews, set visits, knowledge of the book and film series, and production photos and movie stills to make the quintessential anthology of the Harry Potter film series. The book itself ended with a sneak preview of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, with nothing more than image captions under a dozen or so small photos from Gringotts and Hogwarts. Just enough of a teaser to make the reader wish there were a few more pages at the end, chronicling the end of the saga.

One of best features of the book, however, was that it focuses on so many of the minor details fans could never have been expected to notice, and the production teams that worked endlessly to make them. Here you have clear shots of Daily Prophetarticles and issues, rooms filled with creatures like Buckbeak and thestrals, various angles of the Room of Requirement both from Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows: Part II, Privet Drive and Diagon Alley, and countless rooms, corridors, and facets from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (I definitely wished there were more photos than only the sneak-peek of Gringotts). 

"Everybody involved in these eight films knows that we have been part of something very special, and that there will never be another experience like this one," proclaims producer David Heyman in the introduction. He's right, of course, and while the people who made the movies were there for births, marriages, divorces and even deaths, fans have been along for the ride, hoping for a chance to sit in the front seat. This is finally it!

From tidbits like how Helena Bonham Carter perforated Matthew Lewis's eardrum with her magic wand in Order of the Phoenix, to grand designs like how the filmmakers created an entire Hogsmeade miniature village with intricately detailed micro-window displays the size of a £1 note, the book simply doesn't disappoint. It's the perfect mix of fact and -- as McGonagall would say -- "well-mannered frivolity."

On top of all that publisher Harper-Collins inserted over half a dozen prop replicas, like your very own sealed invitation to attend Hogwarts (addressed to Mr H Potter, The Cupboard under the Stairs, naturally), a Quidditch World Cup programme, and even a "real" Maurader's Map. There are also several fold-out pages, one of which contains the Black Family Tree Tapestry.

I highly recommend 'Harry Potter Film Wizardry' for any passionate Harry Potter fan, from one proud owner of this marvelous book to you all.

Genre :       Movie Tie-in, Production design

Publisher : Collins Design

Rate :         5/5 (It was amazing)

              (a necessary commodity 
                    every  Potter fan should own)



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