MuggleCast 206 Transcript
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[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
David Heyman: Hello this is David Heyman and I’m the producer of the Harry Potter films and this is MuggleCast.
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Andrew: Because some very lucky fans got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 today, this is MuggleCast Episode 206 for August 21st, 2010.
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Andrew: Welcome, everyone, to this special MuggleMiniCast! This is a very special edition. We only do these when there’s big news to talk about, and we’ve got to get the show out as soon as possible. And, gosh, I don’t even know what else to say. Emerson and Eric are both on the phone, also joined by Micah. And, Emerson and Eric, you both got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1!
Emerson: By an amazing series of events, we – I happened to be walking out of a movie at this movie theater a block from where I live, and a guy who works for Neilson pulled me aside and asked if I’d be interested – myself and my friends – in seeing a special screening of a movie. And he wouldn’t tell us the name, and he pointed at all the movie posters on the wall and said, “Of any of these movies – Inception – I could tell you the name. But for this one I can’t tell you. But I can promise you that it’s a movie you all have heard of.”
Andrew: [laughs] That’s so funny.
Emerson: We were quite excited. We talked to everyone we knew, figured it had to be Deathly Hallows. No other movie – and he also said that it was probably going to be between a PG-13 and a PG rating and it hadn’t been decided yet.
Andrew: Oh, okay. So, you guys – so flash-forward to today. You got Eric Scull in too.
Andrew: And you guys got – so, you get in the theater, they take your phones away because obviously they don’t want people sending the audio of the call out of the theater. So, what happens when they announce that you are seeing Part 1? I mean, does it explode?
Eric: Well, we knew. The intense Harry Potter fans knew because we saw David Heyman and David Yates take their seats…
Eric: …before they officially announced it so we were telling everybody – there was a woman and a man next to me who hadn’t seen any of the Harry Potter films, hadn’t read any of the books and we were telling them as well. But, yeah, we knew and then of course they announced it and there was just cheering, absolute cheering from everybody.
Deathly Hallows Screening: Overall Thoughts
Andrew: I bet. Okay, let’s get your guys’ overall thoughts about it. Let’s hear them!
Eric: No, you go first.
Emerson: It was – I’m very pleased. It was a – I’m kind of torn because on one hand, I think that they did about as good a job as they could do, but on the other hand, I kind of – watching this movie reminded me of the fact that – it reminded me of the – I’m very inarticulate here. The second half of Deathly Hallows was so action-packed and there was so much substance and every single page so much went on that I kind of forgot, I guess, that the first half was not like that. And this movie was a fantastic movie. It was very well-made. They asked us on the questionnaire, “What are some scenes that moved too fast? What are some scenes that moved too slow?” And I honestly couldn’t say. Every scene seemed to be timed so well. The tempo was perfect and it couldn’t have fit the way that it was written any better. The performances were as to the point as any movie that they’ve ever released. Just like any other movie, there were moments when you were on the edge of your seat and hair is on your arms, you’re almost tingling with excitement. And there’s the other parts where, like any story there has to be slow parts and there has to be fast parts. All in all, I’m very pleased with the movie. I enjoyed it very much.
Micah: I was going to ask you, hands down, is it the best movie so far?
Emerson: Oh, Micah. That was going to be the first thing I was going to say. It’s, hands down, a very good movie.
Andrew: All right, well, how about you, Eric? Similar thoughts?
Eric: I agree with everything Emerson said and no surprise here, but I prefer the movie to the book. No surprise there. I thought it was an amazing treatment of the book. There were scenes from the book that were even intense in the book and watching them on screen was even better, was even more moving, I think, than it was in the book. Everything – I don’t know if this was confirmed – Dobby makes a return everybody.
Andrew: No way!
Eric: Yeah! I know we haven’t seen anything about him, but he’s back. There was just so many really awesome scenes. I thought, again, the tempo, the pace of the book – or pace of the movie – there was nothing – there were no boring parts in the movie. And one thing I want to get across is that this movie did not feel like any other film I had seen and that was strange to me, but as I was watching them walk around Muggle London for part of it, I was like, “Okay, what other movies have I seen that were set in London? Does this feel like any of them? No.” Everything from the atmosphere to the characters just got this insane treatment from David Yates and it feels like no other movie I’ve ever seen. It really does feel that way. And I think that’s perfect because the seventh book, like it or hate it, is such a different type of book, at least to me. The fact that Book 7 is so special and Movie 7 is so unique, it felt perfect to me.
Andrew: So, speaking of that, was it pretty loyal to the book?
Eric: Can you think of anything that changed, Emerson?
Emerson: Um, nothing…
Deathly Hallows Screening: Hedwig
Andrew: Well, here’s something. There’s been a lot of speculation about Hedwig dying. They must have changed it a little bit because the picture – we saw a picture of Harry letting Hedwig lose and…
Eric: I’m going to make a firm statement here. I chose – I decided before the film started that I was not going to comment on whether or not Hedwig dies, however, I do want to say that the scene where Harry lets Hedwig go as seen in that promo shot…
Eric: That was not in the movie.
Andrew: Right. Okay, but…
Eric: No, but where he lets her go. That was not in the movie.
Background Voices: Yes, it was.
Eric: Was it?
Background Voices: Yeah, right before they leave.
Andrew: The fellow movie goers are saying that it did – it was there. Eric, were you like watching? Were you there? Are you sure you were there?
Eric: Andrew, I want to retract my statement.
Eric: Everybody in the room says, “Yeah, it was totally in the movie.” I must – I blinked and missed it.
Andrew: All right.
Eric: I didn’t even…
Andrew: All right, all right. So, just tell us – does Hedwig die? Please. Please, Eric. I’ll never – I won’t be able to sleep tonight.
Andrew: Does Hedwig die?
Eric: All right…
Emerson: Spoiler alert!
Eric: She dies.
Andrew: Okay. Good. [laughs]
Eric: Surrounding Hedwig’s death, I think that the purpose of it, that they gave it in the movie, far, far exceeds what was in the book.
Eric: I’m very pleased with how Hedwig died.
Deathly Hallows Screening: The Split
Micah: Okay, so the big question that everybody wanted to know coming into this, obviously, was, where does this movie split? Were you guys able to tell? Or did it kind of leave you guys hanging? Maybe they can mix a couple scenes up? Or is the split definitive?
Emerson: The split’s definitive. I would say.
Andrew: What do you mean, “It’s definitive”? Like they…
Emerson: Well, it’s – it seems like that decision has been made. It’s right after they bury Dobby, which is the most – my eyes got wet. Not going to lie. [laughs]
Emerson: And it’s right after that. And there’s this scene that the movie ends with where Dumbledore – or, Voldemort, is very…
Emerson: Yes. Grave robbing.
[Emerson and Eric laugh]
Eric: “You’re a dirty grave robber!” Emerson almost stood up and shouted that at the screen, he was so horrified.
Emerson: Yeah, and it ends with Voldemort taking the Elder Wand…
Emerson: …and triumphantly thrusting it into the sky…
Emerson: …and there’s this dramatic lightning show, and dramatic music, and…
Eric: Cut to black.
Emerson: …cut to black.
Andrew: Oh, wow. So that’s very exciting, because that’s what Entertainment Weekly said it would be, as we talked about on the last episode, and – so, Eric, it played through well? Are you happy with it?
Eric: I’m very, very, very happy with it.
Andrew: Good, good. And did the audience seem happy with it too? Because I imagine if the audience didn’t seem happy about it, then maybe they’ll change it, because W.B. has been saying this whole time, “Oh, we can’t – we’re going back and forth. We can’t make a decision.” So, did the audience as a whole seem as happy with the split?
Eric: Actually, Yates made a comment – he was just right outside the theatre waiting for a focus group to begin and Emerson and I both shook his hand and talked to him for a minute. He said that the audience in this screening – because they’ve done screenings before for Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince that Yates was at – I was actually at the one for Half-Blood Prince…
Eric: Anyway, Yates said that the audience in this screening was the quietest that they had been, and…
Eric: Yes, he said the audience – throughout watching the film, that the audience was the quietest that they had been in the previous two films. Make of that what you will. I assured him that it was a good thing.
Eric: Yes. He said the audience watching throughout the film was the quietest that they had been in the previous two films. Make of that what you will. You know, I ensured them that was a good thing.
Eric: He seemed to think so as well, but that was his interpretation. I’m not going to top his interpretation of that.
Emerson: It was very obvious from watching this movie that like Eric said, it’s very different. I definitely felt while watching this movie that – perhaps it was the knowledge that I already had before watching the movie, but it almost felt like it was Part 1. It felt like there were certain scenes that I know they wouldn’t [have the] time if they had to make this one movie. And the scenes – it was almost like a perfect adaptation of the book, which is very strange because I’m not used to them spending as much time on a scene as I spent in my head reading it. And they used up all that time on screen, so I think it’s something that very predictably, fans are probably going to appreciate a lot more than non-fans will.
Eric: Although, I would say I didn’t feel like – the running time, I wanted to bring up, was about two and a half hours that we were in there…
Eric: And David Yates said – he still wanted to – he said there were a few things he wanted to not tweak but adjust, something like that. But on the whole, it ran for about two and a half hours, so that’s my guesstimate.
Micah: Now what about the Seven Potters scene? Was it technically impressive? And I guess we can throw in…
Eric: Dan Radcliffe in a bra?
Micah: What’s that?
Eric: Dan Radcliffe in a bra? Absolutely.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: So was that funny? That had to be really funny.
Eric: That scene was actually perfect.
Emerson: It was. The scene started off with the perfect amount of levity – it was just hysterical in the beginning – and then it got so dark, so fast, so appropriately…
Emerson: And when they landed at the – the gravity of the situation was very apparent, and it was chilling. The special effects were – they weren’t complete, so there were moments when you saw – it was very apparent that they weren’t complete yet. But for the most part, it was edge-of-your-seat filmmaking.
Andrew: All right. Cool. Now how about Moody’s death – Mad-Eye Moody? Was that – were you happy with it?
Eric: I feel like the characters in this, like the adult characters, who I haven’t cared for – I didn’t care for Bellatrix at all. I hate her, to be honest, in previous films.
Eric: I didn’t mind her as much in this film. I actually quite liked her. Voldemort, you know, there’s little Voldemort in this movie, but I loved every minute of that. And even Lupin was a lot easier to watch than I imagined some people would have found him before, and he had a great moment at Mad Eye’s death – or around, surrounding Mad Eye’s death – that I thought was spot on. It just feels like Yates has a perfect grip how to, you know, change emotions and express that on film, and that the characters, the actors were all very passionate about doing this.
Andrew: Hmmm. Micah?
Micah: Okay, sorry. What about the wedding scene? Do they actually follow the book where Kingsley’s Patronus comes down and says, “The Ministry has fallen. The Minister is dead”?
Eric: Yes. Very creepy.
Micah: What was the scene like?
Emerson: When I first read that scene in Book 7, I thought that might have been one of the most haunting moments of the entire series: “The Ministry has fallen.” That moment, you’re almost afraid to read further because you can feel what it would be like to lose that fatherly figure that I’m sure everyone must have felt like, having at least a somewhat functioning Ministry of Magic and having that just disappear and the horror that must have caused. In the movie, Kingsley’s voice is so deep and commanding, and it was just spoken so forcefully that it was just perfect.
Andrew: Awesome. A couple other questions, how about Umbridge?
Eric: Oh yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: You saw her, right? Was she as good as she was in Order of the Phoenix? Because I loved her in that one.
Eric: I was so skeptical. Again, yes. Umbridge, top notch, I think. What do you think, Emerson?
Emerson: Yeah. I mean, it was the same. Yeah, I was very impressed.
Micah: What about Kreacher?
Emerson: Is this the longest recorded silence ever on MuggleCast?
Micah: Yeah, yeah, the development of the relationship. And we see a lot of it in the book with Harry and Kreacher. What about in the movie?
Andrew: Was he in it?
Andrew: Okay. You don’t seem happy. I don’t – what’s the hesitation? [laughs]
Eric: There’s nothing wrong with the movie! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Andrew: With the movie. [laughs] Eric, you crack me up. Should we not ask anything further about that? I don’t get it. Oh, oh, wait! He probably didn’t exist, right? Because the special effects aren’t done.
Emerson: No, he was there.
Eric: He was fine. [laughs]
Andrew: He was fine? Okay. All right. [laughs] Interesting response.
Micah: There’s a huge spoiler alert that’s going to be on this episode, so you don’t have to worry about saying anything.
Eric: Well, no. I still feel like personally I have morals and ethics…
Micah: Was Harry talking to air because Kreacher wasn’t digitally placed onto the film yet?
Eric: No, Kreacher was there.
Andrew: All right. [laughs]
Micah: All right.
Andrew: You guys are weird. [laughs] Let’s see. What else to ask you guys? I mean, there’s tons of questions, and we won’t sit here and dwell on it but – so you said the length was two and a half hours, that’s good. The music…
Emerson: One of the…
Andrew: Somebody else on Twitter said the music wasn’t…
Eric: Hey Andrew!
Andrew: …complete. What?
Eric: Andrew, Emerson was saying something. [laughs]
Andrew: Oh, what? Sorry.
Emerson: One of the scenes that I was most impressed with was the scene in which Ron returns and saves Harry from the – when Harry is swimming down to get Godric Gryffindor’s sword and Ron destroys the Horcrux. It’s like the Harry Potter version of the Smoke Monster.
Emerson: Lost comes in.
Andrew: Oh, really?
Eric: Yeah, there’s even a ticking in the woods.
[Emerson and Eric laugh]
Eric: There really is.
Emerson: And this giant smoke monster comes out of the Horcrux and says all kinds of horrible things to Ron. And then the smoke version of Harry and Hermione come out and they start making out, and it almost – they look just like Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson and Dan and Emma, or Harry and Hermione are saying the same things from the seventh book. But the venom with which Dan and Emma delivered their lines could not have been more perfect.
Andrew: Oh, cool.
Emerson: And they start wrapping each other up and making out and it almost…
Andrew: Oh my god! [laughs]
Emerson: No, they are!
Emerson: They do! I personally thank David Yates for not holding back.
Emerson: I think that’s my favorite – that’s my favorite scene in the movie.
Andrew: So wait…
Emerson: And because they were kind of smoky, you could feel this raw emotion coming from the characters…
Emerson: …that almost made them feel like they were naked.
Emerson: It added to the intensity of the scene. We’re not saying they were naked.
Andrew: Right. Was there some romantic music playing or what did that sound like? Was there anything yet?
Eric: The score was unfinished, and the music that was set to the film we were told would be removed.
Andrew: Oh, okay. So…
Eric: So the score – in fact, when they intro’d the movie, they said “You’re going to be viewing The Deathly Hallows.” They didn’t say just Part 1, so I was wondering if we were going to get Part 2, too, but…
Eric: The Nielson guy didn’t specify Part 1. But it was Part 1, and he also said the only thing about it is obviously the special effects – some special effects and the score is incomplete.
Micah: Like Kreacher.
Eric: “We dubbed in a temporary score.”
Andrew: Okay. All right. So guys, anything else to say? Anything disappointing? There had to be something. Something you saw and you were like, “Ugh! Dang, I wish they did it differently.” I guess it may be a little hard to say, since it’s not one hundred percent complete, but was there anything disappointing that you saw?
Emerson: The thing about this movie was that they captured so much more detail than they could in any other movie, because they had so much more time.
Emerson: Because they split an oversized Harry Potter book into two movies, I felt like they didn’t leave any rock unturned.
Emerson: There was no major plot twist, plot changes – any sort of – there’s no veering off from the book. You know, in the other movies, there was always something major that had everyone up in arms over, but this one there was just nothing I could think of that wasn’t very necessary.
Micah: Yeah. One final question I had though was about the Horcruxes. How did they go back and explain some of the ones that are in this film that maybe they didn’t do a good job of in the previous films?
Eric: You know, Micah, I was really concerned about that, too. Because I said they – Movie 7 is time to play catch-up on what you’ve missed in former movies. But I feel like how they treated it was just fine, and I think that very gradually the mission that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on is presented to the audience gradually and only as much as we need to follow the film. So I won’t say that there was this extreme backstory moment, but the bits that we did get purposefully set up what they did need to do, and I think that it was explained okay.
Andrew: All right. So, jumping back to what – go ahead.
Emerson: Hold on, Andrew. One very general thought that I have about the movie is that two-and-a-half hours – splitting the book into two movies, two and a half hours – I, of course, as a fan am going to enjoy as much Harry Potter as they’re willing to throw at us. We’re going to lap it up and we’re going to enjoy it. But I have a feeling that if I was a casual viewer of the movies, I would have wanted to see this movie shorter.
Emerson: I think we’re definitely going to hear people talking about this movie needing to be shorter.
Andrew: Hmm. Interesting. All right, well I guess – because that’s an interesting thing that they have to fight with. Because obviously the hard core fans – everybody wants this final book to be adapted as nicely as possible. And like you said earlier, it’s got tons of detail – and that was the thing they were promising. They said, “Now that we do have two films, we’ll be able to get everything in.” And people were still hesitant because it was like, “Oh, everything, Or W.B.’s version of everything?” which is like a little more than the past films, but still not as much as fans want. But you’re also saying on the other hand, [laughs] it may be a little too long for people, which is very interesting. So, well guys…
Emerson: It kind of reminds me of Return of the King a little bit.
Andrew: What’s that?
Emerson: It kind of reminds me a little bit of Return of the King, a movie that was celebrated as being an amazing work of art. And even casual fans of the series still enjoyed it, but a lot of people still felt that it was a little too long – even given its stellar quality.
Andrew: Hmm. All right guys, we will let you go for now. Obviously very exciting times. Everyone stay tuned to MuggleNet.com, we’ll have more coverage about the first screening of Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Thanks guys.
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