MuggleCast 242 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because this is the definitive Harry Potter podcast, this is MuggleCast Episode 242 for November 13th, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 242! It’s a big episode because the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD is now available and we’re here to talk about it! Plus, a lot of other very interesting news, actually, to talk about. Big news about the theme park…
Andrew: …big news about the future, all that. Yeah.
Micah: And more Pottermore.
Andrew: And more Pottermore. [laughs]
Eric: More Pottermore.
Andrew: All right. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: Micah, what is in the news this week?
News: Pottermore Insider Blog Update, Pottermore Beta Survey
Micah: Well, surprisingly, Pottermore is in the news. [laughs] A little bit of an update, their Insider blog, which has been pretty busy lately, has talked a little bit about – they had some downtime last week and they say now, though, that things are flowing a lot more smoothly. They had a server upgrade, and now that things are doing a lot better they’re going to turn their attention over to some other improvements, I guess some enhancements that they’ve been meaning to make, probably for the last couple of months. But the big problem was traffic and they seem to have rectified that problem somewhat.
Andrew: Well, that’s good. So, hopefully no more “This site is -” or what was that, the purple screen of death? “Please come back later. Pottermore is temporarily unavailable,” something like that.
Eric: A new server. Yeah, I would have thought they would have added, like, ten new servers.
Andrew: They probably did, and that’s fine. I’m glad it’s running better now, but there’s only 600,000 people in it, and probably a fraction of them are actually going into it. So, what’s going to happen when it opens to the public? Will it be ready then?
Micah: And that’s another question is, when is it going to open to the public? Because we’re already into November now, and it seems like Beta testing is going to remain open probably through the end of this year.
Micah: Do you think that’s safe to say?
Andrew: I think that’s safe to say. So, I don’t – they need – I don’t know what they need. They need to add new features, that’s what they need.
Micah: And what about for people who were waiting until October to get in…
Micah: …and now they’re – they don’t know when they’re going to get in.
Andrew: Yeah. So, basically they extended the Beta period for an unknown amount of time, and who knows what’s going to happen when it opens up.
Micah: It’s got to be pretty frustrating, though.
Micah: If you’re a fan and for whatever reason – let’s say you didn’t make it in the first million…
Andrew: First 600,000. [laughs]
Eric: I think for me – yeah. I think for me, too, though, the promise of quality over – supersedes anything else.
Andrew: Yeah, I agree.
Eric: If it’s going to finally work when I get in – if I hadn’t been in the Beta. Did you guys take the Beta survey, though?
Eric: That recently closed. How was that? I hadn’t really taken a look.
Andrew: It’s pretty interesting.
Micah: Let’s take it!
Andrew: [laughs] Let’s take it.
Eric: [laughs] Let’s take it right now.
Andrew: It takes like a half-hour, it’s so long.
Eric: It’s closed. It’s closed, Micah.
Micah: Well, actually, I’m looking at the news post that you made on Hypable but you kind of paraphrased some of the questions.
Micah: But I wanted to put those questions to you guys, I’ll answer as well, and just maybe take a few of them here and see…
Andrew: Keep in mind these were actually in the survey.
Micah: Right. See what you guys think about them.
Micah: “Has Pottermore encouraged you to read or re-read the Harry Potter books?”
Micah: No. “How are you enjoying going through the Moments and collecting items?”
Andrew: And I think that part of the survey was like, “Very satisfied,” “Not satisfied,” “Very dissatisfied,” and I think I scored that low because it was – you were just clicking on items and nothing really happened. It said, oh, you collected it, it’s in your bag now, and you’re like, okay, cool, now what? Next chapter, same thing. Repeat.
Micah: Yeah, and I think really where it falls short, too, is that there’s no retention value. There’s nothing that’s bringing you back to the site, at least for right now, and that’s something that I think they’re falling short with. And as far as collecting items, what’s their purpose? That’s the other thing.
Eric: Well, that’s like – yeah, I think it’s conflicting because the fact that you can collect items suggests some sort of either repeat value or that you’d be able to use them later. I mean, not all – just because some sites have a repeat, a visit value, doesn’t mean all sites need it. I feel like if Pottermore had this…
Micah: Well, this site needs it.
Eric: Well, does it, though? Because honestly, they have seven books to get through, they’re three months apart. What’s wrong with them just releasing each book, having everybody flock to the site, complete everything, learn everything – because it’s a learning experience. It’s like it echoes us reading the books for the first time – and then have these months of down period where there’s not a whole lot to do. If they could perfect it, what would be wrong with that?
Micah: Well, because I think one of the things that they’re trying to do here is create a community, and you can’t create a community if people are only coming back six more times after Philosopher’s Stone.
Andrew: And people can’t really talk to each other. I mean, you can leave a comment but that’s it, and you don’t know who these people are. So…
Eric: Well, I think they have to somehow extend the in-book experience so that there is that community, but I still would be all right if there were periods of downtime just because…
Eric: I mean, what we’re talking about on Pottermore is the new content, right? So, it all kind of gets dictated by how much there is to learn.
Andrew: So, some other questions that they asked: “If you’re returning to the site following the completion of Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone,” which I said no, I’m not coming back. I’m sure you guys said that, too, right?
Micah: Well, I didn’t take the survey.
Andrew: You would have.
Micah: …I would have said no as well.
Eric: We would have, yeah.
Andrew: “Do you care about house points?” Again, I said no. [laughs] House points…
Micah: But see, this is the community aspect that I was talking about before. If there was more of a way to interact with the other members of Pottermore, I think that people would care about house points. It just seems like it’s lacking that interaction value.
Eric: It’s kind of like…
Micah: For me anyway.
Eric: What, like sitting in the Great Hall and looking to the table next to you and it’s the other house. Ewww, it’s the other house, your rivals right? But now when we’re on Pottermore, we can’t do that. We look off into the distance, we’re just staring at our screen. We can’t see everybody else who we’re competing against, makes it less interactive.
Micah: But also the dueling function doesn’t work…
Andrew: Yeah, it’s down.
Micah: …and that would be something I think would make people interested in house points. Potions, very difficult, but if you do brew them, you get house points. And I would think that they maybe want to start to incorporate things like classes, getting questions right, whether they’re trivia based or just…
Andrew: Oh, that would be cool. Yeah.
Micah: They need more, and I know it’s Beta, but if they’re looking to really launch this thing sometime in 2012 they need a little bit more.
Andrew: They actually asked about the potions. “Do you have an easy time brewing potions?” My favorite question was, “What impression do you get about Sony after partnering with Pottermore?” [laughs]
Andrew: And some of the options were: “Bold,” “Original,” “Creative.” [laughs] I put no to all of them.
Andrew: And that was truthful! Why would I get an impression that Sony is bold, creative, or original by…
Micah: You should have said…
Andrew: …having their logo on Pottermore’s website? That’s just stupid!
Micah: “Where are the e-books?” That should have been…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: …your response to that.
Andrew: Yeah, it should have been, “Unreliable.” That’s the image I got about Sony after…
Micah: Well, it’s funny because that question and the one before it, “Have you seen the Sony logo on the site?” are probably the two answers that they actually care the most about.
Andrew: Sony certainly does, yeah. I mean, they probably put a lot of money into this. So…
Eric: They just need to know that what they’re doing is paying off, but we kind of need to know what they’re doing. So, there is that.
Andrew: Yeah. So, I’m glad they did the survey, because I think they can really learn a lot from it and they’ll finally have statistical evidence showing exactly what needs to be done. It basically – the survey basically addressed every – I think, every single thing that I’ve had a concern with, and that’s good. I think there was a suggestions area and I’m pretty sure I did put in the thing that I talked about on a previous MuggleCast about the pets, taking care of pets. I know some people would find that stupid, but I, myself, would probably fall for it. I would be back daily.
Micah: Yeah, I think people are looking for that complete user experience, that complete Hogwarts experience, and it’s very limited right now.
Eric: Yeah, you can’t promise people, “Oh, you’ll escape back to Hogwarts once again,” and then not give them a complete escape. You need to have something in there for everybody.
Andrew: What else is going on in the news?
News: ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ Oscar Push
Micah: Well, turning our attention a little bit towards Deathly Hallows – Part 2, it seems like W.B. is making a pretty big Oscar push right now for the final Potter film. You posted on Hypable a picture of a billboard that you came across when you were eating at your favorite local restaurant.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s Chick-fil-A, by the way.
Andrew: I just wanted to let everybody know.
Micah: Are they sponsoring this show?
Andrew: No, but me and Eric both like it.
Micah: They might be, in the future.
Eric: They should, yeah.
Eric: They really should. Andrew, we should get on that.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay, I’ll look into it.
Micah: But you’re actually seeing a lot of W.B.-based promotion. I know they put a video together, they sent out a booklet, and it looks like they’re going to pull out all the stops as far as pushing Deathly Hallows – Part 2 for numerous Oscar nominations.
Andrew: Yeah. And a reminder, they said they were – well, not they, but Variety wrote an article a couple of weeks ago saying that this would happen – or a couple of months ago saying that Warner Bros. had every intention of making a “big push” for it to be nominated in all the categories that they’re pushing. I know, at least on the promotional material, they’re particularly highlighting Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. And on the booklet that they’re handing out to potential Oscar voters, on the back of it they list everything that it’s nominated for, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Best Actress/Supporting Actress, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and a bunch of others. So, I’m glad they are doing this, but does it work? If I’m an Oscar voter, and I’m driving through Hollywood and I see this billboard, am I encouraged to vote for Harry Potter?
Eric: Yeah. I mean, I feel like in the same way that any advertising works or doesn’t work, right? You have people who are more affected by it, right? I mean…
Andrew: But are Oscar voters persuadable? I mean…
Eric: Yeah, I don’t know.
Andrew: They’re smart people, right? They can’t…
Eric: Are they?
Andrew: [laughs] I don’t know!
Eric: No, I mean, isn’t there this whole – I mean, a lot of people – I’ve seen books published about the runner-up for Best Picture and things, some questionable Best Picture – that’ll always be a highly-debated topic of what they choose and why. But, at the same time, I don’t know Oscar voters. I’ve never been one or met one, so I have no idea.
Micah: Well, one thing that I’ve noticed – and I don’t really know anything when it comes to movies, really – is that it seems like the field is weak. A lot of articles are saying that – especially as it relates to the Deathly Hallows, saying that this could be the movie’s opportunity, the best possibly since the films were created to really pick up some awards in 2012 because the field just doesn’t have the same movie power, I guess, as it has in years past.
Andrew: Well, I agree with that. I certainly agree with that.
Andrew: Good luck.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Good luck, Harry Potter.
Eric: Yeah, so we’ll see.
Andrew: Well, I guess – in closing, W.B. must believe that this kind of promotion works, otherwise why would they do it? I mean, they are this industry, they should know that if they promote it this much, it should certainly increase their chances. So, they’re doing it for a reason.
Micah: And look at what happened with Return of the King, how it completely swept…
Micah: …Oscars when it didn’t previously do very well, or win anything at all for the first two Lord of the Rings films. And Harry Potter hasn’t won an Oscar at all for any of the previous seven films up to this point.
Eric: Right, it’s kind of just like, oh, by the way, this series is the most amazing feat in filmmaking ever for Return of the King. It just got everything, and I’m not saying it didn’t deserve it, but you’re right, it was kind of a surprise that year because it was just like that whole year was dedicated to Lord of the Rings and wasn’t it kind of – I mean, I think I’ve heard people suggest that it was kind of – not back payment, but like, we’ve owed you this kind of recognition across from previous films. Previous films didn’t get much, da da da da dah, but here’s all of them this year [laughs] because – nice work.
Andrew: All right. Before we continue with today’s news, we’d like to remind you that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than, get this, 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is Inheritance, Book 4 in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. It was just released, and those of you who are big Eragon fans will not want to miss the fourth and final book in the series. It’s the much anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide, best-selling Inheritance Cycle. So, to get Inheritance, or any other book of your choice, visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast, and we thank Audible for supporting the show.
News: Harry Potter: The Definitive Collection Release Date
Micah: Harry Potter: The Definitive Collection is set for release in…
Micah: …2012, and this is no surprise. The Potter films will come back out of the vault, at least for a short period of time, and what do you guys think? There’s a small trailer about forty seconds long. There’s nothing really, with respect to a feature’s section of this package, and I don’t think we probably will see that until maybe after this DVD/Blu-ray has been on shelves for a little while.
Andrew: What do you mean? The one coming out now?
Micah: Yeah, the one that’s coming out, or – I guess this show will be after its release, so the one that was released on Friday.
Eric: Well, I wouldn’t expect to see any kind of feature list until a couple of months from now because I’d like to think, in my mind, that they’re still working on some of the stuff, because if it’s features they already have filmed and stuff, and arranged, they should have released it on this box set. I just think – and I did a little review of the Blu-ray/DVD combo that I think we all have, and that trailer at the beginning of it is kind of – to me, was tasteless a little bit because you just buy a movie – presumably you have just purchased this movie and it’s like, here’s where – you can buy the movie again in this big set. Hello! [laughs] If you had just waited, here is the collection you could have gotten. So…
Micah: Well, that’s why I’m agreeing with you. I’m saying I don’t think you’re going to see a list of features probably for maybe another two months or so until you get into the new year because right now, Warner Bros. is all about promoting Deathly Hallows – Part 2 on Blu-ray and DVD…
Eric: Well, I was…
Micah: …as well as the eight film collection.
Eric: I was surprised that there even was a set though, honestly, because if they’re worried at all about…
[Eric’s phone makes message sound]
Eric: Sorry. Because if they’re worried at all about bothering people, [laughs] they shouldn’t have included that trailer on this thing, because that…
Micah: And here’s my other question, is how does the eight film collection differ from the Definitive Collection? [laughs]
Eric: Well, the Definitive Collection is definitive.
Andrew: It’s just branding.
Eric: Isn’t it…
Andrew: It’s just – yeah. I mean, can you top “definitive”? So, theoretically this should be…
Andrew: …the last one…
Andrew: …ever. [laughs]
Eric: Can you top “definitive”? Director’s cut, maybe? I don’t know.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, that’s the thing.
Andrew: So, hopefully there are – listen, they’re definitely saving things for future releases, whether it’s new deleted scenes, new featurettes, all that stuff. They’re definitely saving…
Andrew: Bloopers, right! So, I think they’re holding some of that back and that’s what you’ll see in the Definitive Collection next year.
Andrew: And by the way, I will guess now that it probably will come out about this time next year. They’ll want it for Christmas, it’ll be a Christmas release, holiday season release.
Eric: You think so?
Eric: Yeah, I think we’ve been cautioning people on this podcast, and everybody just has to kind of be smart with your purchase. If you don’t need all eight films on Blu-ray now, wait until the Definitive Collection comes around.
News: Harry Potter Films Not Pulled From Store Shelves Outside of US
Micah: Well, Andrew, to your point, though, for people here in the United States if in fact that Definitive Collection comes out in December 2012, they may want to get Deathly Hallows – Part 2 [laughs] on Blu-ray or DVD because we reported on the podcast, I think it was the last show, that the Harry Potter films here in the United States are going to be going into the proverbial vault.
Micah: And – but that won’t, however, be the case for those overseas.
Andrew: Yeah, lucky people.
Micah: Which is interesting. So, if you want, go and purchase the French version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 on DVD and Blu-ray if for whatever reason, you don’t get it before December 29th.
Eric: Well, you will need a multi-region DVD player.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s…
Micah: Then fly to France and…
Andrew: Buy a DVD player…
Eric: Get a DVD player.
Micah: Find another…
Andrew: …and buy the power converter.
Micah: Yeah, find a Potter fan. I’m sure there’s a few there.
Andrew: Well, I’m announcing – starting next year, I will be making voyages on boats, like Christopher Columbus…
Andrew: …eastward to get copies and bring them back to America. And I will be selling them for higher prices, but I will be bringing Harry Potter to America.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: Sounds good.
Micah: All right. And…
Andrew: It’s my new business.
News: Future Universal Harry Potter Theme Parks
Micah: …last bit of news that we have, the head honcho at Universal has said that there are plans in the works for more Potter theme parks. Now this is different than expansion.
Eric: Is that…
Micah: Universal chief Ron Meyer…
Eric: Is that an official title, “head honcho”?
Andrew: …that’s what Deadline called him, so…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: He’s also referred to as Universal chief.
Andrew: Or Movieline. Yeah, whatever.
Micah: But I like “head honcho”.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: It just sounds cooler.
Andrew: What’s wrong with “head honcho”?
Micah: No, I like it.
Eric: He went to business school to become head honcho, clearly.
Andrew: By the way, this guy is a little out there. He probably wasn’t supposed to say that other Potter parks are in the works, because he also crapped on multiple Universal films…
Andrew: …which he owns. Yeah.
Eric: [laughs] Which he owns.
Andrew: Sorry, it wasn’t Deadline, it was Movieline. Yeah. So, isn’t that interesting? So, they’re working on other Harry Potter parks. I thought this was huge news. But I guess just because it was such a short remark and…
Andrew: …kind of off the cuff, it wasn’t that big a deal.
Micah: That was the remark.
Andrew: What? Oh. [laughs]
Eric: I don’t know. They don’t really have other Universal parks, right? Besides California and…
Eric: Is there an overseas Universal Studios?
Andrew: Well, no. But there was a rumor a long time ago – actually it sounded more credible than a rumor. I can’t remember exactly when it happened, it may have been about a year ago. Some park in India was apparently working with Universal to bring Harry Potter…
Eric: Yeah, I remember that.
Andrew: I think it was India, yeah.
Eric: I remember that story.
Andrew: So, that could be one. But it was plural. The question was, “Are you working on other parks?” And the problem with bringing Harry Potter to Universal L.A. is that it’s really small.
Eric: Oh yeah, you’ve said…
Andrew: Now I haven’t been there, but that’s what I’ve heard. And if you look at it on Google Maps – I mean, it’s in a mountain, so they really can’t… [laughs]
Eric: Well… [laughs]
Andrew: There’s really limited room to expand.
Eric: Maybe they’ll do a Gringotts park, right?
Eric: It’s all underground?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: So, they may – I think whatever they will do, if they do something in Hollywood, I don’t know if it will – unless they’re going to buy land elsewhere and just build – I mean, that would be amazing if they built a second park in L.A. separate from Universal Studios L.A., but who knows? I mean, at the earliest, this stuff could be opening 2014, 2015, 2016, so it’s still a long way off.
Micah: Do you think it’s possible that the one in Orlando will see expansion before there’s…
Micah: …another park somewhere else?
Andrew: Or at the same time.
Andrew: Because – and remember, in the contract between Universal and Warner Bros. they have some agreement where the park has to see additions every two to three years in some form. And there have just been so many rumors about additions to the one in Orlando and obviously, Universal Orlando wants more additions, because it will bring everybody back.
Micah: Oh, yeah. And they can have another Home Entertainment Celebration.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Or some other celebration. But yeah, I think – well, that’s a good transition, isn’t it?
Andrew: What’s the next story?
Eric: Into the…
Micah: As far as…
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Eric: Well, as far as the celebration.
Andrew: Oh. Yeah.
News: Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration
Eric: So – yeah, with the film’s release on DVD and Blu-ray, which we’ll be getting to very shortly, they are actually having a celebration down in the Harry Potter Wizarding World theme park that’s called the Warner Bros. Home – or Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration. They’re having a few events and a few press events, and twenty of the actors and cast members – I guess I don’t know the difference – and filmmakers are going to be in attendance down in the Wizarding World for these press junkets, and there’s going to be a red carpet event. And honestly, I think Micah and I had the same reaction, and I think, Andrew, you, too. It’s kind of just another celebration, [laughs] you know? It’s all the Harry Potter films on Home Video. So, it’s really exciting they kind of want to go out with a bang, but this really is the end of the end of the end, as far as celebrations go.
Micah: For now.
Andrew: [laughs] For now.
Eric: I mean, can we really expect to see all these actors come back again?
Micah: Well, probably when the studio tour opens, they’ll do something.
Andrew: Well – and also, I think – I predict they’ll want to do these Home Entertainment Celebrations every year, around every November, because if this one goes really well, they can sell these higher-priced tickets. Maybe they won’t have as many actors back as they are this time. But then again, the grand opening of the theme park, everybody said, “Oh, how many – will they all come back again?” And look, they’re all coming back again. [laughs] So…
Eric: So fascinating.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s cool. I’m sure it will be a fun event. Eric will be there. And I don’t know if this episode is coming out on Saturday or Sunday, but there’s a live stream from E!, I can’t remember what day it is.
Eric: Yeah, E! Online. I think it’s Saturday evening.
Eric: They’ll have that there.
Andrew: So yeah.
Andrew: I hope it’s a fun event.
Micah: I mean, everybody seems to make their way down to the Wizarding World at one time or another. I know you have a story in here about James Cameron, the director of Avatar, and he was apparently scouting, I guess…
Micah: …the Wizarding World for his own theme park that Disney is going to open within the next few years.
Andrew: Yeah, Disney World’s answer to Harry Potter is going to be Avatar World…
Andrew: …Land, whatever you want to call it. And it was just funny to me that James Cameron – it wasn’t like an official visit, there wasn’t publicity photos released by Universal or anything, but somebody at Universal the same time James Cameron was there took a couple of pictures of him inside the Wizarding World theme park. And it was just funny because a lot of people were saying when this original Avatar announcement was made that, “Oh, look, this is definitely in response to Harry Potter.” So, it was just a funny little thing. I was amused. But that’s what they need to do, they need to look and see what worked in Harry Potter World, and clearly the amount of detail and appreciation for the series that you see in it, I’m sure James Cameron and Disney are really going to be interested in being as loyal to James Cameron’s film as possible when they’re making the park.
Eric: Yeah, I wonder if they’re replacing Animal Kingdom, because they already have that huge giant tree.
Eric: Bad joke.
Eric: Bad joke.
Andrew: I kind of got it.
Micah: Are they going to make the tree fall down every day?
Eric: Yeah, daily.
Micah: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: At 1 PM and 6 PM. And the evening show is fireworks.
Micah: But – just on that real quick, I know we talked about it on a previous episode, but I remember one person writing in saying that while Avatar doesn’t have the same draw as Harry Potter from a fan standpoint, Disney just does so well from an overall standpoint that, because of the traffic that Disney gets on a regular basis, that new section of the park is going to do well regardless.
Eric: That’s true.
Micah: Do you agree with that, Andrew? Because you go pretty often to Disneyland.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, Disney – you can’t beat Disney no matter what. Universal – the Wizarding World, in particular, is a great park but you go to Universal and you just see so many differences, and it really makes you appreciate what Disney does in terms of park cleanliness, just how they treat their guests, all of that. It’s a much better experience. And hopefully Universal will get better in time, but right now Disney is definitely supreme.
Eric: Well, I think, too, with Disney, they have a lot of other parks and a lot of other really strong parks, where in the past we’ve said Islands of Adventure is kind of scarce at times in terms of having something that’s equally as exciting as the Harry Potter Wizarding World to go off to. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed Universal Studios Florida when I’ve been there and the rides there are really strong, but it just seems like Disney – just count them, they have far more official parks and lands to go and visit. So, I think in that way, Disney is a very clear competitor to Universal and, like you said, anything with Disney’s name on it is going to possibly hurt Universal but it’s also going to be fairly successful.
Main Discussion: Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review
Andrew: So, that’s it for the news except for the biggest story which will be our main discussion this week, which is the Harry Potter…
Micah: LEGO Harry Potter!
Andrew: Oh. [laughs] Yeah, that was released, too. [laughs] Actually, Micah’s getting a review copy of that and he’ll review it in a future episode. Anyway, Deathly Hallows – Part 2 came out on DVD/Blu-ray this past Friday in America. Sorry, UK people. I know you have to wait a few more weeks but…
Eric: December 2nd.
Andrew: We’re going to review it now and we won’t…
Andrew: I don’t think we’ll spoil too much that’s not…
Eric: There’s a…
Micah: Nothing that’s not already, really, on the web at this point.
Eric: Right, because I did a 5,400 word review [laughs] on the site, on MuggleNet.
Micah: And people leaked videos.
Eric: That’s the thing, the videos of every single interview and – they just chopped up all the interviews on the DVD and put them on the web. I don’t know if Warner Bros. was behind all of it…
Andrew: And W.B. doesn’t seem to care.
Eric: Yeah. They’re all just…
Andrew: They’re on YouTube. They could easily get them off YouTube if they wanted.
Micah: They’ve let it go at this point.
Eric: YouTube is very…
Micah: They spent so long trying to get trailers and other things…
Micah: …off the web that they’ve just given up.
Andrew: And I’ve been taking transcripts and posting them on Hypable for some of the highlights [laughs] from the conversations, just been writing transcripts.
Micah: Well, text is a bit different. I think you’re okay with text.
Andrew: Yeah. And I’m not taking everything, I’m just taking a couple of highlights.
Eric: Video is just like – so much of it. It’s crazy.
MuggleCast 242 Transcript (continued)
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: “A Conversation with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe”
Andrew: Okay. So, we’re going to go through some of the features that stood out to us. First of all, probably the thing most people were looking forward to, I know I was, the JK Rowling/Dan Radcliffe one-on-one conversation. They were speaking only to each other. There was no interviewer in the center, it was just a conversation between the Harry Potter actor and the Harry Potter author, which was a great idea. As for the timing of this, I’ve been trying to figure out when they actually did this, and based on – Dan made one comment about being on set recently, he said, so that made me think this was before the Part 1 film release. But anyway, all the information in it was brand new, and there were a few particularly interesting things that JK Rowling in particular revealed about the books. One was that Lupin was supposed to live, which was very interesting, but I mean, I think she made the better decision by killing him – by killing them both off, because as we discussed long ago on the show, it brought – it was a full circle kind of moment.
Eric: It was that, and I remember…
Andrew: Teddy loses his parents.
Eric: Yeah, that basically creates an orphan, and I think she said she wanted to show that war really did mean that people were losing their family, and that those were the stakes of a war. And it really reminded me of when we were trying to debate whether or not the trio would all survive, because we were thinking, okay, the three most involved people in this war – it doesn’t make sense that all three members of the trio would actually make it through all seven books because they’re on the front lines. And I think it just kind of echoes that sentiment where war is real, and that’s why certain characters that she didn’t expect to get it got it. But then remember what she said about Hagrid, why he survived. [laughs] She said he was never in the – never a contender for getting eliminated, which is in stark contrast to some of the fan polls. I know whenever we polled people, “Who’s going to die?” everybody was like, “Hagrid, Hagrid, Hagrid!”
Micah: Well, she said that…
Micah: …he would have been a natural choice if he hadn’t been the one who was responsible for bringing Harry to Privet Drive, because she always – again, talking about bringing things full circle – wanted to have Hagrid be the one carrying Harry’s supposed dead body out of the Forbidden Forest. So, you have sort of that connection again, that Andrew was referring to.
Andrew: Yeah, and that was great. That was very smart on her part. Let’s see, what other – this was the biggest: JK Rowling “seriously considered” killing Ron.
Andrew: This was a bombshell.
Andrew: And she spoke, saying – what did she say? [laughs]
Eric: She said – well, later she said that she enjoys writing Ron, [laughs] because Dan asked her who she enjoys writing the most and she said, “Well, Dumbledore’s always been part of my head, but then I enjoy writing Ron.” And I said, “Hang on woman, you just said you were going to kill him for, like, five books!”
Andrew: And she said the reason she was considering is because she went through a dark period while writing the books…
Andrew: …and she was just in this – she said, quote, “I wasn’t in a very happy place. I started thinking I might punish one of them off out of sheer spite.”
Andrew: And then she said, “Midway through the series, in my absolute heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider Ron. Anyway, I can tell you it’s a real relief to talk about it.”
Micah: So, he wouldn’t have even made it to Deathly Hallows?
Andrew: Is that what she was saying?
Micah: I thought so. I thought you just said mid-series.
Andrew: Well, no, I thought she meant midway through writing the series, she considered – like say she was writing…
Andrew: …Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and she was like, “Yeah, Ron will probably die by then.” That’s how I interpreted it, but maybe not.
Eric: It’s just so weird…
Micah: Well, also, remember she thought of killing Arthur Weasley in Order of the Phoenix, too.
Eric: Mhm. Yeah. And just thinking about…
[Eric’s phone rings]
Eric: Jesus, I silenced my other phone, but this phone…
Micah: How many phones have you got?
Eric: Several. And so – anyway, just thinking about some of the characters, killing – she would have had to – if she had killed Ron earlier than Book 7 – I think you bring up a good point, because then she would have had to deal with the other characters’ reactions to his death, right? If she killed him in Book 5, Book 6 would all be like, “Oh, I wish Ron were here,” and it would be all depressing and sad, and she’d just have to keep going back to it. I think when she’s chosen to kill characters, it’s been those characters that the people who care about them are still able to move forward, whereas Ron just seems to be even more central to Harry and Hermione than Dumbledore or even Sirius.
Andrew: I believe that Ron – it was a good idea to kill Ron, or one of the trio members…
Andrew: …because I just think it was too perfect that the three made it through the entire thing. I mean, they were all – all faced so much trouble throughout the series, and especially in Book 7. I think one of them finally should have got what was coming to them.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: It just – it’s too perfect. And having Harry and Hermione suffer that loss, for Hermione to suffer the loss of somebody she loved, I just think it would have been great.
Eric: Wait, what loss did Hermione suffer?
Andrew: Well, maybe she wasn’t as in love with – I mean, losing Ron, because she certainly – by that point, she was having feelings for Ron.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Andrew: They weren’t married, but…
Andrew: I just think it was too convenient that all three made it all the way through.
Eric: Well, don’t pity the dead, Andrew. Pity the living.
Andrew: Right. Well, that’s why Ron should have died. Micah, tell us how George R. R. Martin, the Game of – the Song of Ice and Fire author, just kills people non-stop, right?
Micah: Well, without spoiling too much, he has no second thought…
Micah: …I would say, when it comes to killing a character. He’s not afraid to kill off the characters. It’s just – you’ll be reading the book, and you’ll think the character is completely safe, “Oh, I’m reading this chapter,” and all of a sudden, that character is dead.
Micah: And he just – he does it because it’s a reality, and…
Micah: …he’s not afraid to – he says, in almost every interview, that he’s just not afraid to kill off the main characters.
Andrew: Mhm. I think that’s great. [laughs] I’m sadistic.
Eric: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s a political thing, but there are some things you just shouldn’t do in literature. You can’t make these drastic decisions with no regard for the readership in some ways. I mean…
Andrew: But is it really worth not killing him just to appease the readers?
Eric: Well, I don’t necessarily think that Ron…
Eric: …should have died, but at the same time, you realize these – I don’t know, authorship is authorship, right? You have the final say in everything, you shouldn’t care what anybody thinks of you. But at the same time, there are these greater morals and greater things that appeal to a lot of people, and if people can get behind what it is you’re saying, you’re going to be more successful. So, I don’t know if that – I mean, that obviously comes into play a little bit with the Harry Potter series where she did have this tremendous fan reaction to the tiniest things, and you almost can’t take it into account. I think she says even in this interview when Dan asked her about having such a large fan base, she said she really tried to stay unaware of it for a lot of times because it would affect sort of her writing and change her sympathies for the worse.
Micah: Yeah, but tying it back just for a second to the A Song of Ice and Fire series, those characters – by the second book, let’s say, in the series – are immersed into war. And JK Rowling points out that one of the realities of war is that people die, families are destroyed, and I think that that’s why she did kill the characters that she did in Deathly Hallows. And I kind of agree with Andrew a little bit that it’s almost too perfect that the trio made it through completely intact.
Eric: Well, I mean, wasn’t I just saying this, too, that they’re on the front line so it doesn’t make too much sense?
Micah: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: Yeah. But then again, it’s not – I mean, there are winners in a war. There are victors and there are losers, and I think the victors – there are families that survive war. There are whole entire families that survive war, in real war. So, why wouldn’t there?
Micah: That’s fair.
Eric: I mean, also…
Micah: And the other thing we should also bring up is that Harry – did he die?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Oh God.
Eric: Yeah, yeah!
Micah: Because I know somebody is going to write in and say, “Well, technically…”
Eric: Harry died.
Micah: “…Harry did have that moment at King’s Cross that you guys didn’t talk about.”
Andrew: Yeah. All right. Well, that’s fair enough. That’s actually a fair argument. But somebody should have died for good.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Oh, and as Rowling says on the DVD, Harry did have a death scene.
Eric: Yes. That was so funny. And I think one of the things I enjoyed most about this conversation with Dan Radcliffe and JK Rowling – they were telling the story about Matt Lewis, I guess. When JK Rowling approached Matt Lewis at the premiere of – I think it was Order of the Phoenix, and JK Rowling was so inspired to go and tell him that she’s got some great things for Neville in the upcoming book. And I think – didn’t she say he practically screamed back at her, “I don’t want to know!”…
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: …[laughs] and ran away. That was hilarious.
Andrew: This is something we kind of already knew, Alan Rickman did know about Snape and Lily, that Snape loved Lily…
Andrew: …and that’s why Snape was the way he was towards Harry, treated Harry how he did.
Eric: What’s funny – didn’t Dan say that there were times when he imagined Snape – or, sorry. [laughs] Jesus. Where he imagined Alan abusing that?
Andrew: Not imagined, he did it.
Eric: Oh, he did abuse it?
Andrew: Alan would be on set and say, “Given what I know…”
Andrew: “…I think this should be happening this way.”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Which is funny.
Eric: And that’s another thing they talked about in “Maximum Movie Mode.” They actually went back to that, and the idea that David Heyman and them didn’t know until a little later on. But I think David Heyman said, too, that’s one of the reasons that Alan’s performance is going to stand the test of time and it’s going to be so successful, is because they – Snape knows and Alan knows, and he was able to portray that even in the first few films. Going back, you can see that he knows. You can read more into his performance.
Andrew: JK Rowling also said that she really wanted Robbie Coltrane. She said that was actually one of the sticking points that she had. She kept asking for Coltrane even though they were looking for different actors, or they were considering different actors.
Eric: It’s interesting, there is a bit in Page to Screen about that, the Harry Potter: Page to Screen, Harper Collins’s second book. And there’s all sorts of concept art about Hagrid, but because Robbie Coltrane was so preferred by Jo, some of the earliest concept art still has him as the basis for it. So, he was like the first person they kind of cast, and it was due to her suggestion. I wonder, though, what she had seen in him that made him – I mean, I’m sure he’s quite well known, but still, in Bond he plays a cripple or a partial cripple. So, he’s not exactly – you can’t get any idea of him being super tall, right? Because he’s crouching and he’s sitting down…
Andrew: I mean, they would have had to make anyone super tall, though. I think what may have stood out for her was maybe his face.
Eric: Well, in real life, he’s very tall, though, right? I mean, that’s the other thing…
Andrew: I guess.
Eric: …is without extenders…
Andrew: Is he? I don’t know.
Eric: Yeah, I feel like he’s just got this reputation. He’s probably been in lots of things in Britain that she would know him from. I just…
Eric: That’s what I was asking. But yeah, he’s just a massive guy. But anybody would look similar, wouldn’t they, in that much of a beard and…
Andrew: Yeah, but it’s also the personality he brings.
Eric: Well, that’s…
Andrew: It’s the acting.
Eric: Yeah. I love Hagrid, and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid is just dandy.
Andrew: Yeah, he brings the spirit, and sure they buffed him up more, they made him taller, but that’s just the – he’s a very warm person, Robbie Coltrane. He’s just a great actor, that’s what it comes down to. That’s why Jo wanted him, was the acting, maybe not so much the physical appearance even though he certainly fit the part. I mean, they couldn’t have put Alan Rickman into the role of Hagrid. [laughs] They needed somebody who was a bit physically large to help out. What else did we learn here? JK Rowling told Dan that Harry would have a death scene. I’m – was that entirely new? I thought…
Eric: Yeah, I think I’ve heard that exact story before.
Andrew: Yeah, me too.
Eric: So yeah, it probably wasn’t – but again, hearing it – just like anything else, hearing it from them, the fact that they were in this room talking with each other for…
Eric: …this extended period of time blows away anything, any other news source that you could get it from.
Micah: Well, Dan also mentioned that prior to that, he played it up as if he knew what happened when he really didn’t.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah. Again, it’s relating to the other actors on set and stuff, and bragging. I think he said he did it at some point. He bragged that he knew what was going to happen, but I think he ended up being caught in the lie, later on.
Micah: And another thing that was interesting, he said that he felt closer to members of the crew than he was to some of the cast and that he was going to miss sort of the day-to-day interaction with members of the crew.
Eric: Yeah, that’s a really personal bit. He’s talking about his makeup team and how, I think, towards the end of the shooting for Deathly Hallows, the films, they mentioned sort of what their next project was going to be or something, but it was going to – basically, it wasn’t going to involve him, so he got very upset because this person who had put on his makeup for ten years – obviously it’s a very intimate thing because you’ve got to do it before every shot, every shoot – was going on to do something else without him, and he said that that really – that’s what hit him the most, I think, emotionally he said, in the interview. And JK Rowling completely understood, and I think – didn’t she say that she had been close to some of her – I mean, obviously it’s not the same closeness, but just – her team of people writing the books, and so she totally empathized with him.
Micah: Yeah. And then Dan mentioned how Leavesden was very isolated because there were no other films that were taking place at the same time, so you didn’t have the cast interacting with other casts, the crew interacting with other crew, it was just Harry Potter which apparently is unique.
Andrew: As we’ve really emphasized on the show, fans pick apart the details about the books versus the films, and they did talk about that a little bit during the interview. Rowling actually addressed Harry’s green eyes, and the gist of the story was that David Heyman, the producer, called Rowling and said, “How important is it that Harry’s eyes are green?” And she said, “It’s not important so long as whoever you cast as Lily has eyes that are similar to Harry’s.”
Eric: Right, because it’s the connection between their eyes that’s important.
Andrew: Yes. And some people brought up a good point when we posted it on Hypable, in the comments. It’s like, “Well, Lily’s eyes don’t look like Harry’s eyes, so what happened?”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: So, that story is yet to be told.
Andrew: But, I mean, what do you guys think? Do Lily’s eyes, I guess in Deathly Hallows in particular, look like Harry’s?
Eric: You mean actress Geraldine Somerville?
Andrew: Yes, her.
Micah: I don’t remember, [laughs] to be honest with you.
Andrew: Yeah, me neither. I don’t even know how to compare eyes.
Eric: The movie’s not well lit. The movie’s not well lit. I think it’s one of those things where it’s like you have to trust the characters when they say that, right? “You have your mother’s eyes.” Okay, I have my mother’s eyes.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Micah: JK Rowling made the perfect comment, I thought, and look, we are more culpable than any other [laughs] group of people because we have torn the films apart on this show many, many, many times. But she even said it herself. At the end of the day, the books are too long to make into very faithful films, and I don’t think that you can kind of respond to that in any way. She’s the author and she realizes this, so that’s just one thing that people are going to have to deal with.
Andrew: A couple of other things here: Dan is allergic – Dan was allergic to his glasses at first.
Andrew: He revealed that, which was funny and kind of sad.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: He didn’t know – they didn’t know what was causing the allergies around his eyes. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, turned out to be his glasses. Why – do you think it says something, like because it’s new to him, so like – because you don’t really get over an allergy, or you can, I guess, but it was like an allergic reaction. He had an allergic reaction to his glasses, but then after a little while it was okay. Or did they change like the type of what his glasses were made of because still to this day, he’s allergic?
Andrew: No, I don’t think he’s still allergic to this day.
Andrew: He just said at the beginning, so they must have changed the material that they were made of or something.
Eric: Well, he ended up getting over it because he said that’s the prop he was going to take with him.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Yeah, JK Rowling accused – didn’t she accuse all of them of already having things that they were going to take? [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, I’m not surprised by that.
Eric: Yeah. But everybody will admit to that freely when we speak to them, too.
Andrew: Dan and JK Rowling joke about being dictators, able to mobilize the Potter masses.
Eric: Yeah, that was interesting. That was like the Oprah moment, the JK Rowling/Oprah…
Andrew: [laughs] I was totally thinking that, too.
Eric: Wasn’t it?
Eric: Where it was just like, we have so much money, don’t we? We have so much… [laughs]
Andrew: Right, right. Oh my god, we’re so rich. [laughs]
Eric: But really, it was like that kind of – I wasn’t as uncomfortable about it, really, because you have to admit that what they were saying was partially, in a sick world, true. But yeah, basically I think – what did they say exactly?
Micah: They were talking about showing up at the premieres and sort of seeing – I think – and this might also provide some perspective on when this interview was. They were talking about the last premiere and how it poured, and…
Andrew: So, that was Half-Blood – or Part 1.
Micah: That was Half-Blood Prince.
Micah: Yeah. Or was it Part 1?
Andrew: Part 1, it rained, too. Not as much, though…
Andrew: …as Half-Blood Prince.
Eric: Oh, but they were saying…
Micah: But they were…
Micah: How many people were there despite the rain, and that they could easily mobilize this many people. And JK Rowling was referring to, I guess, maybe she was on a book tour and she had seen all these people, and Dan was referring to the premiere. I don’t know specifically what the events were, but I know one of them was a premiere and they were talking about sort of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people that were there and how they could just march on the palace.
Eric: The palace.
Micah: I think Dan joked about…
Eric: I think Dan said something like that. Yeah, he said – because the enthusiasm was so great from everybody, even in spite of the rain, that if one of them, either Jo or Harry, had just said, “Today, we march!” then they could have taken everybody elsewhere.
Andrew: I mean, I assume they were joking but it seems like…
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: Does this surprise them? I mean, they’re seeing their favorite author and their favorite actor, of course they are going to come out in the rain, it doesn’t matter.
Eric: Jo says – is it early in this conversation or early in “The Women of Harry Potter,” where she says that typically authors don’t have that much power, so…
Andrew: Yes, she does say that…
Eric: She thinks it’s totally not disingenuous – or is disingenuous, I forget – for her to be able to say that she is still surprised by any power that the series has afforded her. I thought that was a good quote from Jo.
Micah: Another interesting thing that I thought Dan said early on in the conversation was he was talking about himself, Rupert, and Emma, and he was saying how in the UK, the child comes before the celebrity whereas in America, the celebrity comes before the child, and that’s why they felt that they were able to kind of grow up out of the limelight, whereas – let’s say they had grown up in America, it would have been completely different. Do you guys remember that?
Eric: Yeah. I also remember about the films possibly being filmed in America.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: …she had a pretty adverse reaction to that.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s why I loved this because they both learnt so much from each other, too.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: We should get to the other features.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: “Maximum Movie Mode”
Andrew: Yeah, we’re going long here. Okay, so – yeah, bunch of other stuff, you can see the rest for yourself. It’s all in the – it’s almost an hour, the entire JK Rowling/Dan Radcliffe conversation. Also on the DVD was “Maximum Movie Mode.” They had this on Half-Blood Prince, Part 1, and, of course, now Part 2. And I love this, I really do. I read in a review that the “Maximum Movie Mode” – it brings the movie to over three hours…
Eric: It’s two…
Andrew: …because there’s a…
Eric: Well, it’s two and a half hours.
Eric: They count…
Andrew: I don’t know where I read that.
Eric: Well, there’s the things, though – is that they count the credits, so it’s like when you go on the menu and it says timestamp and it’s 2 hours, 47 minutes, they’re counting the credits. But also there are the focus points, you remember those? It’s like on Disc 1, they have the focus points. So, it’s not part of “Maximum Movie Mode” but they pop up during “Maximum Movie Mode” where you can go and view these focus points. But in addition to all the stuff they’re flipping and rewinding and going back and doing in “Maximum Movie Mode,” it also links to those focus moments which are provided separately on the main menu. So, yeah. And those total a half an hour, so that is your three hours right there.
Andrew: And it’s just – and the deleted scenes are inserted, too, seamlessly. And a little deleted scene kind of banner comes up, so you’re aware – in case you’re wondering why [laughs] some special effects weren’t done or why you didn’t see it in theaters. And it’s just great. It’s such a unique way to enjoy the film a second time. So, say you get the DVD and you watch it a normal time like you would in theaters, and then maybe a couple of days later you watch “Maximum Movie Mode.” And it’s exciting because you’re waiting for each new featurette to pop up, you’re waiting for the deleted scenes, and you learn a lot of cool information. And the actors who are in it – Matt Lewis, I know David Barron, the producer – they all have fun and interesting tidbits to share. So, I love “Maximum Movie Mode.” It’s really great. It’s a shame all the DVDs didn’t get them but it’s kind of a Blu-ray thing.
Eric: That’s the thing. Do you think in the Definitive Collection on Blu-ray, maybe they’ll do that? Would it be…
Andrew: That would be cool.
Eric: I mean, it would be cool.
Andrew: But they’d have to shoot so much.
Andrew: I don’t know, I guess they could.
Eric: More stuff of them standing. Yeah, well, this was the first time I saw “Maximum Movie Mode,” but I have the Part 1 on Blu-ray and I’ll probably buy the Part 6 on Blu-ray but maybe I’ll wait until the Definitive Collection.
Andrew: [laughs] Part 6?
Eric: [laughs] Or Movie 6 on Blu-ray. But still, I think that this “Maximum Movie Mode” made me want to see “Maximum Movie Mode” for the other ones because more than any documentary is going to do – documentaries are typically only about a couple of things, whereas “Maximum Movie Mode” they were able to take one scene, and talk about all the aspects of the scene, without it taking too much time, because it’s just a quick cut-away that says, by the way, about these masks on the goblins, or…
Micah: Do you feel that it interrupts the movie at all?
Eric: Well, yeah, it does but isn’t that the point? I mean, the movie itself…
Micah: Yeah. No, I was just wondering what your reaction was to it.
Andrew: Yeah, and that’s why you don’t watch it the first time you get the DVD.
Eric: Yeah. Definitely like…
Andrew: You watch it like…
Eric: But yeah. I mean, more to that point, I don’t think there were one or two minutes that went by without somebody interrupting and the film minimizing into picture and picture. That shows – it works two ways. It shows how much material there is to really talk about, and I was happy to learn all that stuff. But yeah, I guess if you don’t want an interruption to the film, obviously don’t choose “Maximum Movie Mode.”
Eric: [laughs] If you want an uninterrupted version, play the version. But yeah, it was very thorough on this disc and it did make me want to go back and see, definitely, the existing ones already on “6” and “7”.
Andrew: And while I’m thinking of it, one disappointment with this one, and Part 1 frankly, is, Half-Blood Prince, the Blu-ray, if you had the Blu-ray you could tune in at a certain time for a live commentary hosted by Dan Radcliffe and producer David Baron. They did this only once and it was just for Half-Blood Prince. And again, it was live so you were watching the movie live with Radcliffe and Baron. It was really cool. And they were taking questions from Twitter or something. It was through this technology called BD Live and if you had the Blu-ray, like I said, you could watch it live with them. And they didn’t do it again and they should’ve! They should’ve done it for Part 2.
Eric: Digital Spy, which I think reviewed this set first, said there is an icon for BD Live.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s on there. I saw it. But I think that’s just so you can connect and you can post through Facebook. And I think you can watch it with other friends. You can sync it up to watch with other friends and talk about it.
Andrew: Yeah, but…
Micah: Well, it’s possible the Home Entertainment Celebration got in the way of the BD live chat.
Andrew: That’s true. Maybe it was like, “This is too much!”
Eric: [laughs] I mean – but there’s always the opportunity to do it later, right? Essentially – I mean, if it’s the internet…
Andrew: Yeah. Mhm.
Eric: So, that’s good.
MuggleCast 242 Transcript (continued)
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: “The Goblins of Gringotts”
Andrew: That’s true. How about “Goblins of Gringotts”? This was a featurette, a lot of Warwick Davis, a lot of the making of all the goblins, which I know Warwick talked about quite a bit while promoting Part 2.
Micah: I liked it. The reason why is because you learn that they’re all from an agency that Warwick Davis runs for small actors, essentially, and also getting to see that his wife was in the film, that his kids were in the film. I thought that was really cool. And just how much work went in Deathly Hallows – Part 2 to creating this Gringotts scene. I mean, they essentially went all-out. They talked about how – I think they said they only had nine goblins in Sorcerer’s Stone to going to around sixty in this film.
Eric: Yeah, yeah. And still, though, it’s not much more time spent seeing them on screen. It’s just to kind of – to fill out the world, and that’s what I enjoy most about this process, is there’s still – at the end of this ten or eleven minute documentary, we’re still talking about maybe sixty seconds on film, and this whole process of casting and casting the masks of which there were, like, forty-five prosthetic sets. It’s just unbelievable that all this stuff – and when you think of this movie being a multi-million dollar movie and movies these days costing millions of dollars, well, this is the kind of things that rack up that price because even the man hours alone to make the Gringotts scene possible had to be enormous. And you really – I think that’s why I liked this documentary, was because it really broke that down a little bit better for me.
Micah: Yeah, and you also got insight into some of the other actors that had done work in previous Potter films, and you could see that they’re a very close-knit community.
Eric: Yeah, definitely, seeing the actors. Even all the parts that Warwick Davis had played in the past. I think there were two more than I was expecting, so that was really cool.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: “The Women of Harry Potter”
Andrew: The other big feature was “The Women of Harry Potter” and this was great. Again, a lot of new information. JK Rowling featured very prominently in this. Also, Helen McCrory who plays Narcissa Malfoy, Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny Weasley – what’s her name? – Helena Bonham Carter who plays Bellatrix, and someone else I’m forgetting. Oh, Umbridge. Who plays Umbridge?
Eric: Imelda Staunton.
Andrew: Yeah. And this was…
Micah: Don’t forget Emma Watson.
Andrew: [laughs] Emma Watson. Oh yes, how could I forget? And this was great. I mean, it included lots of good clips about women empowerment, feminism, JK Rowling shared something interesting details about Molly Weasley. We also – Emma Watson was saying how Bellatrix – or Helena Bonham Carter – was a very big influence on her, and she went home after dinner with Helena one night and took some notes about what she had learned from her. Stuff like that. It was really, really great. I’m sure all the female – frankly, anybody should watch it. It is very interesting. I’m glad they did it, too.
Andrew: “The Men of Harry Potter” would have been so boring.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: This was actually really good.
Eric: This was a quick thing, too. I mean, it’s twenty minutes, it just zooms through it, and it has sort of – you hear from all of the females involved in the films, and they talk about how they related to their characters and why, and how they related to each other and why. And just having JK Rowling host this – and she really does host this video, and she explains a bit about her process and that she is aligned with the feminist theory that women are not at all boring and that they completely compete with the men. I just liked hearing from Jo about this in addition to everybody else, and I thought that the second disc of this set was very JK Rowling-heavy…
Andrew: It was.
Eric: …because you’ve got this hour of this conversation between her and Dan, and then this Women of Harry’s World documentary, which again she fronts. So, I was just surprised, I guess, that this Deathly Hallows – Part 2 movie had so much JK Rowling content.
Micah: Mhm. And I’d almost like to see – moving forward, if it’s possible – sort of the unscripted conversation that existed between Dan Radcliffe and JK Rowling, because I thought that provided much more information, much more insight. It was sort of a very comfortable conversation and for them to possibly – it’s almost like you wish they would had done that in the past with different actors maybe with a member of the crew. I understand why it’s so special in this case because it is JK Rowling and Harry Potter, essentially.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: “When Harry Left Hogwarts”
Andrew: Something we haven’t seen yet is – probably one of the cooler things that we’re looking forward to is “When Harry Left Hogwarts.” It’s a documentary by a famed director. He’s very, very well-known – stalling – Morgan Matthews.
Andrew: And a trailer was released – [laughs] who? Is that what you said?
Micah: It was a joke because you said…
Eric: Very acclaimed director?
Andrew: I kind of made that part up just to stall.
Eric: I got to tell you, I’m not looking forward to this because…
Eric: For one specific reason, and that is that it’s a cheap marketing ploy that you can only get this documentary as part of the four-part Blu-ray set which I assume is just the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack but with one extra disc that has this documentary on it. And…
Andrew: Only at Target.
Eric: Only at Target. Come on.
Andrew: In the United States.
Eric: Yeah. I…
Andrew: Now, wait a second, that’s not Morgan Matthew’s fault. Warner Bros. bought it from him and then…
Eric: Okay, okay.
Andrew: …they decided to do a deal with Target. So, I don’t think the documentary by any stretch of the imagination is going to be some cheap marketing ploy, but yes, the way Warner Bros. is distributing it, that part is lame.
Eric: Okay, I should have said – yeah, it is unfortunate that this…
Eric: This is sure to be a great documentary, I think, from the trailer and everything you can find online…
Eric: …about it. It really looks good. I mean, seeing the trio in the back of a taxi with bags over their heads to cover their identities.
Eric: It’s just something – it’s the side of the fandom you just don’t see.
Andrew: The basic gist of it, and this is what I think is so cool, is that Morgan Matthews was there throughout the filming of the final two films. So, you really get a great behind-the-scenes look, and he was even there the day the set caught on fire. Remember when that happened?
Micah: Weren’t you there, too?
Andrew: No, I was there, like, a week later, I think [laughs] or something like that. But yeah – I mean, he’s there and you see so much great stuff in it. All the actors: Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, the dude who plays Malfoy, Jason Isaacs – no sorry, Malfoy dad. Helena Bonham Carter – I mean, they’re all in this, so it’s going to be a great documentary. I’m pumped. But – I mean, [sighs] I hate to encourage this, but honestly, I’m not going to go buy another copy at Target, so I’m just going to [laughs] download it online.
Eric: Yeah, it’s just so hard – they’re making it – in the current box set releases, they’re just making it very difficult for fans to get all that there is out there for these films, and that’s what I don’t – that’s my only problem with them.
Micah: Yeah, there definitely should be a place where you can get all of these features. If you want to go and buy, let’s say the Blu-ray triple play, it should have everything in it. It shouldn’t be that they’re exclusive to Target or Walmart or Best Buy…
Micah: …or whatever place you’re going to buy it, and that there should be fifty million versions of the DVD and Blu-ray.
Eric: For you to choose from.
Micah: That – I agree.
Eric: And then each of them have a trailer for the Definitive Collection which comes out next year. [laughs]
Andrew: Well, here’s our recommendation, I think it’s very clear. If you’re in the United States, definitely buy it from Target. You get everything if you get it from Target.
Eric: And that might not have been clear at first, but I think it’s clear now.
Eric: You will get everything if you go to…
Micah: See, what’s interesting is if you get it from WB, you don’t get everything.
Andrew: I know.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah! That’s the real…
Micah: Can somebody explain that to me? [laughs]
Andrew: Well, Target probably paid some extra amount of money to have the exclusive bonus thing. It’s not like Target…
Micah: They’re WB, they own all that.
Andrew: I know.
Andrew: But Target pays them to have this exclusive edition.
Eric: It’s true.
Micah: All right.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: Deleted Scenes
Andrew: And it brings people into Target. I already go to Target no matter what. I food-shop there. [laughs] Okay, to wrap up – we’re getting towards the end of our review here. The deleted scenes. This is something everybody always looks forward to, and again, these leaked online as well and WB didn’t take them down, which is good for fans.
Eric: There are eight of them and they last a total of under five minutes.
Andrew: Yeah, I know. That was such a disappointment, but I think my favorite was the Hog’s Head with Aberforth.
Micah: With the green screen.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: Where the portrait should have been.
Eric: Was this – this was the short one, though, right? It was, like, twenty seconds. And didn’t he just have, like, one extra line that wasn’t in the movie?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: But it was, like, a really important one about Ariana or something dying.
Andrew: Yeah, about Dumbledore wanting to – everybody he treats nicely he ends up screwing over. Or anybody he cares for he ends up screwing over, or something like that.
Micah: Ends up dying.
Eric: Ends up dying. [laughs]
Andrew: Oh, right.
Eric: Which they then get screwed over. But…
Micah: And he had that – same line he has in the movie. “Oh, nice job?”
Micah: What does he say? He says something very sarcastic.
Andrew: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. “Nice job Dumbledore gave you?” Something like that.
Eric: Yeah. Well, there…
Eric: Aberforth… [laughs]
Micah: Easy, yeah.
Eric: Easy, yeah. I think that was probably from the first round of filming, too, because I think during “Maximum Movie Mode,” David Heyman goes into how they did reshoot the Aberforth scene – or it’s David Yates who says it, and how they did cut out things like that, little bit of backstory, that extra backstory on Ariana that didn’t make it into the film, just for the flow of the scene or whatever. But I think overall, I was really satisfied with the Aberforth content because one of the focus points is focused directly on him, and how they transformed him and stuff. So, you get the feeling that they did care a lot about Aberforth in this scene with Harry and him, but – that deleted scene was interesting, but I saw why it wouldn’t fit back in the movie.
Andrew: Any other scenes that stood out to you guys, the deleted scenes?
Micah: Well – yeah, the first one I was going to say because – it’s called “Shell Cottage” but you get more insight into Harry and how he shouldn’t trust Griphook. It’s almost like Bill is telling him, be very careful sort of the way that you worded your agreement with him, and we know that that comes back to sort of bite him later on, when Griphook says, “I told you I would get you into the vault, I never said I would get you out.”
Eric: Yeah, and just having Domhnall Gleeson have five extra lines in the film I think is a great thing because he’s a good actor. These actors are having their lines cut from the major motion picture as a result of pacing and that’s unfortunate for them, and I like that these were included. Obviously the fact that these deleted scenes are included here shows that there is some real performance or something worth seeing. It didn’t make it into the film…
Micah: You also get a couple more seconds of Fleur as well.
Eric: Yeah, right? Where she donates some of her clothing to Hermione.
Micah: And then also Harry and Luna at Dobby’s grave on the beach. There were two things there: one, you actually see Luna going back to Hogwarts which is something that if you’re watching the movie, you don’t really get because one minute she’s at Shell Cottage, and then the next scene after they break free from Gringotts, she’s magically at Hogwarts. And then also Harry talking about seeing Dumbledore in the piece of the mirror that he has, which I would think would help people who hadn’t read the books understand then more about Aberforth later on.
Eric: Mhm. I think that that kind of a thing, that the plot-line of the mirror kind of got lost between the cut of the film, because obviously in Part 1, he’s looking at the mirror and so that’s when – if that Shell Cottage scene where Ron asks him, hey, what’s about the mirror? – if that had made it into Part 1, I’m sure that that scene would have been kept in, you know what I’m saying? But since it’s been a film since he really looked into the mirror, it might not have needed explanation at the beginning of the film as much as it did.
Micah: And probably the only other one I think people would be interested in is the Hogwarts battlements…
Micah: …where Tonks shows up and she mentions Teddy.
Andrew: It was such a small scene. It really – you know, it’s one of those things it’s like, why not? [laughs] Does it really affect the pacing that much that you couldn’t include those two extra lines?
Eric: Yeah, that was…
Andrew: [pretends to whine] I don’t get it!
Eric: Well, if they’re doing…
Andrew: But that’s okay.
Eric: …something else – if the camera is doing something else and the audience’s mind – they have – what was I going to say? They have professors studying this kind of a thing, [laughs] so…
Micah: And I thought it was funny Seamus setting up all the explosives.
Eric: But he doesn’t have any extra lines. It’s a deleted scene… [laughs]
Micah: Yeah, and the other deleted scenes were just kind of okay, I guess. I mean, they didn’t really stand out to me.
Eric: No, and they fit so well back into the film that even in “Maximum Movie Mode,” they’re inserted into the film. So, overall I wanted a little bit more. But that reminds me, none of the deleted scenes – I was looking forward to a deleted scene about King’s Cross – or not King’s Cross, but the epilogue. But fortunately, even though there aren’t any deleted scenes about the epilogue – I did forget to mention that in “Maximum Movie Mode” there is about five or ten minutes at the end of the film devoted to the epilogue in “Maximum Movie Mode,” so it was – there is some extra content about the epilogue, after all. You just have to really search for it. But I think you get a look at – not Teddy Lupin, but Draco’s kid. Is it Scorpius? – and stuff just kind of in the background. Again, not really too much focus. Again, I’m looking forward to more of a documentary maybe on future releases. But as for deleted scenes, I was really hoping for something from – like we talked about the original epilogue with Will Dunn when we spoke with him, and he mentioned it, and it is on “Maximum Movie Mode” to some extent. They do have a bit there. So, I did want to mention that.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: Closing Thoughts
Andrew: So, overall, quality? Rating? Et cetera, et cetera. I mean, satisfied with this release, final standard film release on DVD? I am.
Eric: Yeah. It’s just I can’t shake this feeling that they’re holding out for something better, right?
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: That’s the thing that interrupts any proper review, I think, is the trailer for this upcoming set. I’m just like, oh, I can rate this right now, but wait a minute, how’s the Definitive Collection going to be in comparison?
Eric: So, yeah, I think as far as content, it’s great. It…
Andrew: It was weird to watch this one in the comfort of my own home.
Eric: You think so?
Andrew: Yeah, just because – I don’t know. I guess because of the number of times we’ve seen it in theaters and just how it was only a few months ago that this came out and that this premiered, which seems so surreal. And now just to watch it at home, and it’s the last one – I don’t know. It’s kind of crazy. But I think it was great. The Blu-ray quality is fantastic. I loved how much JK Rowling was involved in the special features. She certainly didn’t have to be. She’s never really been involved in the DVD special features, but…
Eric: Well, let’s see if she – what if she wasn’t? I mean, what if she was not involved in this film’s special features? The only thing they’d have on Disc 2, besides the Pottermore trailer, would be Warwick Davis, 10 minute, Gringotts, and goblins, and…
Andrew: Well, they still could have done “Women of Harry Potter,” it just would not have been as good. And they could have done a one-on-one conversation, it just would have been with someone else. Who knows – I mean, they could have put Dan with David Yates or one of the producers. I’m sure it still would’ve been interesting, but of course, Dan and Jo is the best combination you can do.
Eric: Yeah, I agree. But I mean, if you’re talking about specific film-related content for a specific film’s DVD and Blu-ray release, don’t you think they could have fit everything into one Blu-ray disc?
Andrew: Mhm. Yeah. Well, the other thing is the reason that they don’t put it all into one disc is that they can leave the film as uncompressed as possible, so the one disc is just the film, they don’t have to compress it much, meaning compress the video quality to make room for the special features. So, that’s the reason for that. But yeah, one disc would certainly be easier. [laughs] I had a question: favorite scene now that you’re re-watching it in the comfort of your own home?
Andrew: Like, you may have a favorite scene in the theater because it’s really big and you’re being – you’re in this surround sound. But what’s the – what’s your guys’ favorite scene now, watching it at home a couple of months after you last saw it?
Eric: Wow. Good question.
Andrew: It could be the same scene, but…
Micah: I really like the Gringotts scene. I like them going down to the vault, but then sort of the escape as well, and just seeing that dragon bust through the top.
Micah: And I know we talked about it, whether it was on the live show in Orlando or we talked about it since then, but just the detail that was put into the dragon kind of taking in that fresh air…
Andrew: Yeah, I loved that. Mhm.
Micah: …on top of the bank, he’s been chained up for so long, and those are the types of things that as a fan, you appreciate and you look at and you say, David Heyman, David Barron, Steve Kloves, those guys took the time to sort of include those things in there. But just that whole scene, re-watching it again, I just – that’s one of my favorite scenes in that film.
Andrew: How about you, Eric?
Eric: I like – I think I still like Neville’s stand when they’re all in the courtyard after Harry is about to die. I think that scene is very strong because Voldemort obviously has sort of a false giddiness about him, and so he allows Neville to speak his mind. When it becomes clear that Neville is not standing forward to join his ranks, Voldemort still has that ounce of humanity, that glee from moments prior that he lets him speak, and it becomes such an effective speech. I like that character point and some of the special features, talking about that scene, during “Maximum Movie Mode,” talk about how into it Ralph Fiennes got with that performance in the courtyard where at any moment, Voldemort could be looking at you if you were standing in the courtyard. He would play off of different people in the different takes, and so he’s very unnerving to people and I think that that plays through. I think just Ralph Fiennes – it’s probably his finest moment as Voldemort, in that scene.
Andrew: Yeah. Hmm. My favorite scene has to be King’s Cross, I think. I just love Dumbledore’s words to Harry. I love the calmness, I love the emotional release that you finally get at that point.
Eric: It’s good to see Michael Gambon again.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. And his words are just so great. Now every time I watch that scene I think back to the junket where he said that he teared up when he first started saying his lines in that scene, when he says, “Harry, my dear boy.” He says he teared up the first time he said that, which I just love.
Eric: Oh, man.
Andrew: Yeah. And – yeah, so I think the speech at King’s Cross.
Eric: Do we know why yet he actually changed? Because he amended his line in front of Harry in that scene. He’s like, oh, instead of…
Andrew: I love that!
Eric: But why? What does it mean? I don’t understand the new wording of, “Help will be given to those who deserve it,” instead of, “those who ask for it.”
Andrew: Well, I mean…
Eric: Does that mean that some people are actually going to be turned away?
Andrew: Well, yeah. I mean, because evil people don’t deserve it. Look at Draco when he enters the Room of Requirement…
Eric: But Draco’s not evil.
Andrew: Well, in that scene, he was, though. Okay, that’s not the best example. But I think what Dumbledore’s saying is the good people will be helped at Hogwarts. I mean, look at what happened in that film. Everybody helped Harry because he deserved it. Help will be given at Hogwarts. I mean, everybody was helping Harry. They were defending the castle.
Eric: Okay. Yeah, I always think of that as some kind of incantation, though, that Dumbledore’s saying, you know?
Eric: That’s going to evoke some really dependable ancient magic, which is why I was confused, because I was like, wait a minute, you’re dead. How can you change things now? But that was just me.
Andrew: That’s my take on it. I mean…
Eric: Yeah, I think it makes sense.
Andrew: People, please e-mail in and give your own takes on that. That wasn’t a line from the book, so we’d be interested to hear what you guys think. And that’s our DVD review show. Wow, I didn’t think we’d be talking about the DVD for that long, but evidently… [laughs]
Andrew: …there really was a lot of stuff.
Micah: Well, we’ll be talking about it longer on the next episode…
Micah: …[laughs] or two episodes from now.
Andrew: Oh, yes.
Eric: Wow. You should change, Andrew, just your phrasing there, not that I’m the king of phrasing, but you said “DVD” when actually [laughs] very clearly it’s now moving onward from DVD. So, I would suggest as a substitute, “Home Video” or “Blu-ray”. But I had the same trouble in my review. I was like, DVD this, DVD that. Wait a minute, there are no special features on the DVD. [laughs] I can’t actually talk about the DVD. But it’s been synonymous with Home Video release ever since the early new century, so…
Andrew: So, coming up in the next few weeks, or actually in the next few days, [laughs] we’re going to have Quidditch interviews from New York City. Micah is going to be there, our intrepid news reporter, he’ll be interviewing some of the people at the Quidditch World Cup, the fans, some people involved. And that will be a special episode in and of itself, so that will be fun. And then the episode after that will be our commentary. We will be sitting down together via the wonders of the Internet and watching the DVD in real-time, and you will be able to watch it with us after we release this commentary episode. And what you’ll be able to do is hit “Play” on your DVD/Blu-ray player at the same time that we are, that we do, and you’ll be able to listen to our commentary. It’ll be a lot of fun and those will both be out in the next couple of weeks. And then of course, in December we have some fun shows: a year in review show and then one other. I’m forgetting what we’re going to do, [laughs] but it’ll be great whatever it is.
Eric: Christmas! [laughs]
Andrew: Christmas, yeah, something like that. I don’t know. Anyway, thanks everybody for listening. Don’t forget, our website, MuggleCast.com, has all the information you need about the show. You can follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast, you can “Like” us on Facebook which is Facebook.com/MuggleCast, you can follow our fan Tumblr which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com, and you can subscribe and review us on iTunes. Leave a review! I don’t think we’ve asked for that in a while.
Micah: Oh, that’s what another show can be, the LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 review.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Eric: I do want to see…
Eric: …how they’ve improved. We talked briefly…
Micah: Well, for those people who – I don’t know if we mentioned it. For those people who do get the Blu-ray, there is a demo on the…
Andrew: For PS3 only.
Micah: For PS3 only, for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7. So, if you’re thinking about getting the game, you can obviously…
Eric: Is it a long preview?
Micah: …take it a trial.
Eric: Do you know?
Eric: Is it a long demo, long preview? You said you played it.
Micah: It’s fairly long. I mean, you start in Godric’s Hollow and work your way to Bathilda Bagshot’s home, and that’s as far as I got, but there’s probably a few scenes in there that – and you can watch the story as well. They have that little sort of – what’s it called? They have a little…
Micah: …short video that you can watch that kind of explains the storyline through LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7. It’s very comedic. So, you can do that as well. You can do that, you can also play the game.
Eric: Oh, interesting. I loved…
Micah: Or you can go buy the game.
[Show music begins]
Micah: The game is out. It came out on Friday, so…
Eric: Yeah. Friday, November 11th. Eleven, eleven, eleven.
Andrew: Well, thank you everyone for listening. We’ll see you next time for Episode 243! From Hypable.com, I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: From MuggleNet.com, I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And from MuggleNet.com, I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: Oh wow, you’re serious this time.
Eric: Yeah, look at that.
Andrew: We’ll see everybody next time for Episode 243! Buh-bye!
Micah: I was going to say Game of Owns, but…
[Andrew and Eric laughs]
Eric: Next time.
Andrew: You just did!
[Show music continues]