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[Show music begins]
Andrew: This podcast is also brought to you by Audible.com, the internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audio book of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast/com/MuggleCast.
["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you enjoy it - Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby! [as Dobby] Yes, I'd just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!
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Andrew: Because Eric has made a very special new friend through the show, this is MuggleCast Episode 195 for April 1st, 2010.
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Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 195! Micah and Eric are here as well as me. Hey guys.
Micah: What's up?
Andrew: This is not what people think. We are not turning into a three person show! It just turned out that way to be quite frank. I mean for two weeks in a row having three people. So we are here again to grace you with our presence and introduce you to the wonderful world of Harry Potter as we do every other week.
Eric: We still don't have a name for ourselves, for this particular three - trio configuration.
Andrew: But is it necessary?
Eric: No, no.
Eric: Because it's a temporary thing. We're not turning into a three man show as you say.
Andrew: Right. Right. We can be called "MAE." M-A-E. Micah, Andrew, Eric. "MAE." The Mae.
Eric: Or "EMA" or "AEM".
Andrew: I like "EMA" better - Emma - "EMA."
Eric: Yeah, "EMA."
Micah: Laura should be back soon though. We're getting into April. Isn't she due back from Costa Rica?
Eric: Costa Rica!
Andrew: Yes! And then we can call ourselves "LAME!"
Andrew: Laura, Andrew, Micah, Eric.
Micah: We were called that long before now.
Andrew: We are "LAME" with Laura. Thank you Laura for coming back. We are now "LAME." Well, at any rate, we are far from lame. We have much to discuss on this weeks show as we do every new episode. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
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Andrew: Micah, what is in the news this week?
Micah: Oh you know, just a few things. Not a big news week at all.
Andrew: Lies! Lies!
Micah: Yeah, they are lies. Well, we actually did a MiniCast late last week because we finally got an opening date for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. The park will open officially on June the 18th, 2010.
Micah: Which, really is not all that far from now. We are just about to turn the calendar over to April and just about a month and a half away the park will open to the public.
Eric: So, Micah, now a while ago...
Micah: Oh, sorry, two and a half months.
Andrew: I was going to say...
Eric: Yes, two and a half months.
Micah: I forgot about May.
Eric: There is May, of course. So, Micah, a few months ago, I guess, the Wizarding World gave a projected estimate and I guess it was showing up on their signs, they said "Spring 2010." Now, June 18th is this release date and well, technically, I suppose it is still Spring '10 by about three days...
Andrew: It's three days!
Eric: ...and many people...
Andrew: It's so funny.
Eric: ...are a little upset - I don't know. Is it justified for people to be upset that it's...
Andrew: Well, I - honestly, I'm a little thrown off because this park looks like it's pretty much done. They're starting to do more promotional stuff. We're seeing TV crews inside the park now. Yeah, sure, I'm sure there are some things inside the stores and rides that they have to get right, but it looks pretty complete and yet we're still about two and a half months away. Now, when they said a few weeks ago, "Oh, we're about to announce the opening date," I thought, 'Oh, well then it must be opening May at the latest.' I thought - and I told Micah - I thought it'd be coming in April - opening in April.
Micah: Yeah, I know a lot of people were upset, particularly because you book Spring break whether you're a college student, whether you're a somebody whose not yet in college and you go on a family trip sometimes during your March or your April breaks, and maybe you anticipated going to this park, thinking Spring of 2010. But at the same time the think you have to realize is that date was sort of a guesstimate and things don't always work out the right way. You could have problems with rides, you could have problems with construction. I just think that people should just relax a little bit and just hope that it doesn't get pushed back another six months or something like that as we have been witness to before with other W.B. products.
Andrew: [laughs] Yes. And actually we should say that there are many - what happens with these theme parks - I know I'm going to sound like a theme park expert right now - but from what I've read, is that these theme parks will open before the grand opening to do tests, which they call "soft openings." So, the park will open to some very lucky people who happen to be in Universal on that day. They're not going to advertise if the park is going to be open. They're just going to open it and let people come in and have people in there to test everything and make sure everything is working fine.
Eric: I can't wait to - when that happens and you happen to be at Universal, call us.
Andrew: I'm actually - I have plans, starting in about two weeks from now, I am bringing a tent and I am camping outside...
Andrew: ...the Hogsmeade gates and I will be there to report on it for you guys because I want to give the best coverage possible.
Eric: [laughs] I can just see like...
Andrew: The first time it opens I'll let you know.
Eric: ...the torrential downpour like the Twister ride at Universal where you're just outside in the - yeah...
Andrew: I'll hide in the shops when the - if that happens.
Micah: And we mentioned earlier the MiniCast that we did about the Forbidden Journey ride which Eric got an opportunity to go and walk through, at least the queue part of it. So, if you don't mind, Eric, can you do a little bit of an overview of that? We don't want to spend too much time on it because they can go and listen to that podcast.
Eric: Yeah, definitely go and listen to the MiniCast for that, but I was actually able to go down to Florida, where they treated us very nicely and we actually got to walk through the castle which is part of the park. Basically, saw the queue line for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. You start off in the dungeons because it is the lower level and Hogwarts is up on the hill above you. So, you start of in the dungeons and you see things like the Mirror of Erised, the one-eyed witch statue. You go up a few steps, you see the Entrance Hall, you go through the greenery - the green house, and all this time its decorative - it looks like you're really there. In Hogwarts, there's statues of like the architect...
Andrew: And now, there's - another thing that you're allowed to talk about now is that you also got to try all the drinks and the food that they're going to have...
Eric: This was not in the MiniCast! Yes, I did get to try - they did bring us the food that would be served in the park. A lot of it. We got to try Butterbeer. We got to try Pumpkin juice. All of it is going to be really, really refreshing on a hot Summer day.
Andrew: Were you satisfied with all of it? Do you think Harry Potter fans are going to be satisfied with it all in general?
Eric: Yeah. Honestly, I think the food is a stand alone thing where you're goint to be able to come into the park just to eat the food and then leave. I mean not because the rest of the park isn't exciting but if you wanted to - that's gonna be the place to eat when you're in the Islands of Adventure theme park.
Andrew: Did they say anything about prices for the food? I mean, because theme parks...
Eric: They said the prices weren't decided. It was a question that they asked and...
Andrew: Theme parks, in general, they do have expensive food so I imagined that it won't be exactly cheap, but you're on vacation there for possibly once in a lifetime so you might as well enjoy it.
Eric: Whatever it is, it will be worth it. If you'd tried the Butterbeer, you'd understand. It's just - it's amazing! But there's also, at Universal, when I was there - in the Islands of Adventure there's an all-day eating pass, which is - I think it's $20 and it's all you can eat pretty much from anywhere. I'm not sure if that's going to be included, obviously that's something to be worked out later, but it's going to be worth it because you can get - I mean, just the dessert alone that we tried from the Hogwarts park is unbelievable.
Micah: So, Eric, one more thing just on the food front that I wanted to ask you about. I know the Butterbeer is not going to be alcoholic, but apparently there's going to be an alcoholic beverage available at the Hog's Head.
Eric: Yes. The Hog's Head pub evidently, from what I understand of the maps and stuff, the Hog's Head is actually going to be attached to the Three Broomsticks. It's going to be in the back of it, and it's going to be the adult section where they have, I guess a variety of regular ale, like real world Miller Lite and that sort of thing. But they have devised a "Hog's Head brew," which is basically a unique brew that's going to be alcoholic, and that's the adult beverage that they'll be serving in the park.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, it's going to be - if it's any bit - I think I wrote in the report too - if it's any bit as detailed as the care that they put into Pumpkin juice and Butterbeer, it's going to be really good.
Micah: Yeah, and one final thing, you said there were a couple people who were there from overseas that were really impressed with sort of the authenticity of the food.
Eric: It's interesting because if it were their first time in America, I would want them to try the American burger and stuff. They ended up getting to go to this meeting and try all this British food, like fish and chips and Cornish pasties. All of this, there was - I forget what sites they're from, and I wish I had their names - lovely people from Britain and Ireland, and they really loved the food, and they said it's just like home. It's interesting because all of the cuisine, it's themed like Hogwarts to be European, to have that European twist, recipes to make it feel like you're in Hogwarts. Even the shepherd's pie is strictly a European recipe they devised - not American. In other words, un-American. [laughs]
Micah: All right, well for all that we have, whether it's on the food or on the "Forbidden Journey" ride, you can check out both reports by Eric. They're very well-written, they're very in-depth, so definitely check those out on MuggleNet.com. And there is a third report coming. We don't know necessarily what it's about, but Eric did mention it's a three part series, so expect that out at some point. I don't know when, but...
Eric: I don't know when.
Micah: Sometime in the future.
Eric: [laughs] I don't know when. Universal has to tell me.
Micah: Well, I might know when, but they don't know when.
Eric: Oh, yeah. They don't know when.
Andrew: And before we continue, we'd like to remind everyone that this week's podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 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 audio book to give you a chance to try out their great service. One book that I know Potter fans would like to consider is The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Book One. It is an excellent book and narrated by Jesse Bernstein for Audible.com. For a free audio book of your choice, go to audiblepodcast.com/mugglecast - that's audiblepodcast.com/mugglecast.
Micah: Andrew, you visited the set of Deathy Hallows recently.
Andrew: Yes, that's right! And, unlike Eric, I can't say a thing about it! I don't even know if I can say I went there.
Andrew: So - but I will anyway. No, I think I can say that, but as usual with these set visits that we do, we'll be able to release information closer to the release of the film. And...
Micah: Can you at least say who you spoke with?
Andrew: [laughs] Probably not.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: And I don't mean to be like, "Na na na na poo poo," but I think they really don't want us to. When a trailer is released though, we will be allowed to post a preview. So, you'll find out then.
Micah: All right.
Andrew: But the sets are looking amazing. The scene that we saw - it fulfilled my expectation in terms of how I was hoping that they were going to be filming these films. So I'll put it that way. I'm very satisfied at what I saw.
Eric: Now, was that the set that burned down later that night or...?
Andrew: No comment!
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Yeah, he can't say.
Andrew: I can't say.
Eric: Because the set - okay, but part of a set at the same studio you were at burned down.
Micah: If he was a betting man, he would, possibly, say that that could be accurate.
Andrew: If I were a betting man, I would bet on what Micah was betting on. But only if I was a betting man.
Eric: You guys gamble too much.
Micah: All right...
Andrew: What else is going on?
Micah: Speaking of Deathy Hallows though, Emma Thompson, who was supposedly not going to be in this final film...
Micah: ...is in it.
Micah: I don't know how else to say that. Clemence Poesy blew the lid off of this one...
Micah: ...saying she was on set recently for filming, and I guess that means that we will indeed see her playing the role of Professor Trelawney and - here's the thing though. I know a lot of us had a bit of a problem with it - I guess it was a couple of months ago now - when we found out she wasn't going to be doing it because she had other commitments, but it's such a small scene. I mean, she's basically going around throwing prophecy orbs at people - or crystal balls at people.
Micah: So, it's not that much. I mean, she's just in that final battle scene, so...
Andrew: And she said she only did two days of filming, so they probably said to her "Emma, look, I know you don't want to come back. You have your priorities are elsewhere, but it's just two days of filming. Could you do it for us? And she was probably like, "Ohhh!"
Micah: And probably a couple million dollars, too.
Andrew: [laughs] Probably!
Andrew: God, I hope not.
Eric: I mean it will help her find her mov - like I haven't seen Nanny McPhee but Emma Thompson is really putting a lot of effort into - well first of all, that movie, I think she co-wrote it and now the sequel that's coming out that was also talked about in that same article.
Andrew: Yeah. And it's big in the U.K. That's a very big franchise, I guess you could call it. Nanny McPhee.
Eric: Oh really? Okay cool. So we'll be seeing like a "Wizarding World of Nanny McPhee" soon.
Andrew: Maybe not quite, but you know Emma Thompson obviously is a great actress and it's good news to see that she's coming back because it's the last film. It'll be very nice to see everyone return.
Micah: Absolutely. Eric. Kind of like the last season of Lost.
Micah: So final bit of news from Deathly Hallows is that there was a little bit of a pre-screening that took place and WB screened some raw and unfinished footage from the final film at Showest. And Alan Horn, who's the president of Warner Brothers, introduced this little four to seven minute long clip and basically I'm just gonna read here for a second. "The footage started with Voldemort walking in the forest with all his followers around him. He was just looking for Harry. While I assume the footage was going to be just from the first Harry Potter movie coming this November, I think the opening was from Part II, and it was from the big climactic battle between Harry and Voldemort." And that was from Collider. So, interesting that they would be showing this, especially if it's from Part II, knowing that it's more than a year away.
Andrew: Right. And a separate report from Cinema Blend said that they also showed some stuff from Bill and Fleur's wedding, to the escape from Gringotts and the pale dragon, and even Hogwarts on fire. So...
Andrew: It looks like they showed a lot of cool action scenes. And...
Andrew: Listen I mean...
Eric: Do you think that's because...
Andrew: They've been filming both these films back-to-back and I'm not surprised - and filming is supposed to wrap up in a couple months. So I am not surprised that they're showing some of this stuff.
Eric: Yeah. It's definitely interesting to see that there's a lot of - I mean there's a lot of stuff like too, like the escape of Gringotts will presumably be in Part II, like Hogwarts on fire should be in Part II.
Eric: ...Voldemort and Harry in Part II. It is a year away, but do you think that movie one is - do you think that their focus on showing movie two makes movie one more of like a unique pet project? Kind of like a questionable, whether or not people are going to like it. They're not marketing it as much because there's not enough of that big - that'll be kind of like a character driven different kind of movie. Do you think that part one of Deathly Hallows, that this means that they're going to - that it's gonna be unsuitable to over-promote.
Andrew: No, no.
Eric: As they've done, and that's why they're already promoting the second movie.
Andrew: The thing about ShoWest, my understanding is that it's mainly for people in the motion picture industry. So they're showing this to the big-wigs in the film industry. And they've got to show the cool stuff to those guys.
Eric: These days if you're not blowing stuff up...
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: ...what you're doing with the ten million dollars.
Micah: It's a road opera, right? Isn't that the term that was used?
Andrew: Road movie, yeah, road movie and an opera.
Micah: So it's a road opera.
Andrew: Yeah, I think that's what it is, especially when these other studios are coming in and knocking on the doors, "Oh, look at us with Iron Man 2 and all this action!" W.B. has to show some serious action.
Eric: That's true.
Andrew: But four to seven minutes of Deathly Hallows footage!
Micah: That's a lot.
Andrew: And what annoys me is that they're showing it to these people who don't care.
Micah: And that nobody recorded it.
Andrew: Right. But these are professionals, none of them want their studio footage leaking out. But my point is that all these people saw it, but not the fans. Give the fans a bone! We've had two - we complain about this prior to the release of every movie, that they're not giving us enough stuff. At this point, we've gotten one teaser trailer and two official images.
Micah: Well, I think we're due for another trailer in the not-too-distant future. I can't make predictions like Ben can, but certainly he was on the mark with Half-Blood Prince, so we might have to get him to channel his inner Trelawney again on an upcoming episode.
Eric: Well Half-Blood Prince is another movie that was over-promoted at the time.
Micah: Oh, it was way over-promoted.
Eric: Sure we had nothing at first, but then we had...
Micah: Photos upon photos upon photos.
Eric: ...photos, photos, photos, photos.
Micah: Okay, also Bloomsbury has announced that they have plans to republish the Harry Potter paperbacks with brand-new covers. And of course, you can take a look at all the different covers in high-res on MuggleNet.com. What's your guys' thoughts about this? Is it a little bit too early to be republishing the series, at least from a cover art standpoint?
Eric: It's so interesting - Bloomsbury also already has the adult editions too, of Harry Potter. The U.K., honestly they have an oversaturated amount of book covers to choose from. That said, I like these. I really like these. You can see...
Micah: Well, these do look more adult.
Eric: ...the high-res images. Yeah, and not as morose or not as dark, like the adult covers to the Harry Potter books are almost too adult or too vague. I really, really like these and the images are on MuggleNet. And these new books that are coming out, I guess - when are they being published, do you know?
Andrew: In November.
Eric: November? They look really cool, and I guess they have a new artist that they brought on to do these, and really it's very creative. I don't know necessarily if there's anything that warrants it, except to say that I think it's really cool. And also, at least they're not doing books, at least they're not printing the Harry Potter books with the film stars on it. And saying, "Now a major motion picture!"
Andrew: Yeah, that's true.
Eric: Like Twilight, that's bull. But these covers are very interesting.
Andrew: But here's the thing ...
Micah: They're C.S. Lewis-like.
Andrew: The covers are nice, but they're doing this solely to attract new readers. I don't think new covers are going to intrigue new people. And I know that it's ñ I'm sure its going to be very hard for the next few decades for Scholastic and Bloomsbury primarily to reach out to new people who are growing - new generations of kids, but I don't think this is the way to do it. I think maybe reminding people what the time was like when these books came out, that's the way to do it. Not with new covers.
Micah: Yeah, I think they made them a little bit old school too, I just said they're C.S. Lewis-like.
Andrew: Yeah they did.
Eric: They are very C.S. Lewis-like.
Micah: You look at the Chronicles of Narnia that's seems to be what they modeled them after, where it's sort of that just one iconic piece from the books, and just the way that it's drawn, they do that with the Chronicles of Narnia. Obviously there are many different covers to that series now, but that's exactly what it reminded me of when I saw that. So yeah, I think its just a little bit too soon, for me.
Andrew: I agree.
Micah: There's no reason ñ the last paperback came out not even three years ago. No, didn't it come out in '08?
Eric: Well, how do you...
Micah: The paperback for Deathly Hallows?
Eric: Yeah because the Deathly Hallows, but I think...
Micah: Or was it '09?
Andrew: No, it was '09, it was '09. They waited for the movie release.
Micah: One year!
Andrew: At least for Scholastic.
Micah: Yeah, I mean that's ridiculous though, that you're already remaking ñ that's just to make a profit, in my opinion, there's no other reason.
Eric: What about those covers that the print with stars or something? Wasn't Bloomsbury also doing "Extra Stars" or "Super Special Stars" on the...
Andrew: There was on the special edition or something. But here's that thing, and Micah you're right. Yes, they are looking for more money. There have been numerous articles about Scholastic and Bloomsbury postñPotter, saying their profits have fallen. And of course that's expected, you're coming off of Harry Potter, one of the biggest book series of all time. So yeah, does this kind of look a little desperate? In my opinion, yes. Because it is so soon, if you waited ten years after 2007, that would make sense, absolutely.
Micah: Well the final piece of news, just want to bring it up really quick because we mentioned it before, was the Lego Harry Potter release date getting pushed back another month or so. And just kind of get your guys' really quick thoughts on what we've seen up to this point, because more and more is getting released about the video game, a lot of videos have been put out there. And this game really looks like it just does a great job of following the books and a lot of people, I think, are going to be really happy it.
Andrew: Yeah, I'm excited for it. It is disappointing that its delayed till June now, but I think that's a pretty common occurrence in the video game industry. And hey, if they need that extra time to make a better game, then sure, fine have the extra time.
Micah: Yeah, absolutely.
Andrew: So I'm looking forward to it. The pictures look great, the animation looks great, the game play looks great...
Eric: So Andrew, when you posted this news item, it was like a day after you posted like two or three separate international videos...
Eric: That previewed this game, and you basically, in your news article talking about the delay, said this is common, video games do this all the time, in fact you stopped short of just saying, "I knew this was going to happen."
Micah: Well I'm going to throw this out there and it may be a conspiracy theory - but the park is opening on June 18th. Maybe they want a little bit of more business by releasing the game around the same time.
Andrew: Ohh, okay.
Eric: In the park.
Andrew: [laughs] In the park. Fair theory.
Andrew: What if nobody showed up for the release of the park because everyone was like, "Yeah, lets play Lego Harry Potter! Forget the park!"
Micah: No, I don't think that will happen.
Andrew: "I can buy this for fifty dollars!"
Eric: Well actually the game is going to be more widely available than the...
Micah: Exactly. But see sometimes that happens. I mean you could see a Lego Harry Potter station or two being set up around the park even, to test out the game. I could see that happening.
Andrew: So is that all the news this week, Micah?
Micah: That is it. You know, not too much.
Andrew: All right. Yeah well thank you for updating us as always.
Micah: I try.
Andrew: We're going to try something new this week. We're not going to go into Muggle Mail. I thought we should try just going straight into Chapter-by-Chapter. We'll give it a try and see how it goes. To intro Chapter-by-Chapter this week we have another segment intro. This one may be one of my favorites. It's really clever. It is from Emma and Tom, let's take a listen.
[Andrew plays the music]
Andrew: It's time for Chapter-by-Chapter. Duh dun duh dun duh Chapter-by-Chapter, Chapter-by-Chapter. We're going Chapter-by-Chapter. I love that. I love symmetry, parallels and perpendiculars - the wand chooses the wizard - everything. It's so cool - it's not really clear why...
Ben: [as Dumbledore] "It is our choices, Harry, far more than our sexuality that determines who we truly are."
Andrew: See, that was my point - exactly!
Matt: Good point.
Andrew: Da de da de da da da! So there you go. So thank you Emma and Tom for that intro. Clever little mash-up. I like mash-ups. There was a lot of me, Andrew mash-up.
Micah: Yeah, that must have been why I wasn't paying attention. No, I'm just kidding.
Eric: We can see why you liked it.
Micah: Did you say something about mashed potatoes?
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
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