[Intro music begins]
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["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
David Heyman: Hello, this is David Heyman and I'm the producer of the Harry Potter films, and this is MuggleCast.
[Show music begins]
Micah: Because we're about to only scratch the surface, this is MuggleCast Episode 214 for November 20th, 2010.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 214, and oh my goodness, is this a big show! Not only are we talking about the penultimate film in the Harry Potter series, but we are also welcoming MuggleNet's - I like to call him a god, I don't think that's too high of a praise. Richard Reid is joining us this week on the show. Hello Richard!
Richard: Hello everyone.
Andrew: Richard is Scottish and he stepped in when MuggleNet was on its knees about a year ago when the site was down for a week, and ever since then he has been a MuggleNet god. So, it's great to have you on, Richard.
Richard: It's great to be here.
Andrew: Yes. And our peasants, Eric and Micah, are here too, so hello peasants.
Eric: I like to think of Micah and I more as serfs, really, living off the fat of the land.
Eric: That's just me.
Andrew: Well, we have lots to get to this week, so we will worry about classifying our ranks in the MuggleNet kingdom at a later date. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Richard: And I'm Richard Reid.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum, what's going on in the news this week? Besides the elephant in the room.
Andrew: And I'm not talking about Eric.
Eric: Although I do make a nice elephant.
Micah: There was a movie that was released earlier this week, in case you didn't know, Andrew.
Andrew: Right. But other than that... [laughs]
Micah: Other than that, what's going on? I don't know, not too much. How have you been? How are things going?
Andrew: Oh my goodness, you're failing as a news anchor.
Micah: Oh. Well, you knew that a hundred episodes ago.
Micah: But let's start with the premieres for Deathly Hallows and Richard, Andrew, you guys were in London, let's start there.
Andrew: Yeah, so I didn't go to the premiere but Richard did along with Nick, who's been on the show a few times. And you guys filmed the interviews and you said it was a blast, right Richard?
Richard: Yeah, it was absolutely crazy. I mean, if you can imagine four or five thousand fans screaming all afternoon. The place was surrounded by fireworks and everything, so it was so cool. We got to meet everyone, all the cast came round to us. Warner Bros. was really great by bringing all the cast particularly to the fan site section. Other than that, the cast and the crew basically decided where they wanted to go, and of course, J.K. Rowling came especially over to talk to us so that was...
Andrew: That's very cool.
Andrew: Yeah. And who else did you get to talk to in particular? Any stand-out interviews?
Richard: Actually, the most interesting interview we had was the person who played Runcorn because...
Richard: ...this was his first time in the films and it turned out he was a major Harry Potter fan, he had read all the books so many times.
Richard: And he was talking about stuff that wasn't even part of this film but in previous books so that was really cool. He was actually the first one on the red carpet, I guess not many people really knew who he was.
Andrew: [laughs] He couldn't wait to get out there and talk.
Richard: [laughs] Exactly, this is finally...
Richard: He's got his shining moment in the press. The producer, David Heyman - we had a really good chat with him. We didn't really get to speak to Dan and Emma that much because the time they got to us was the very end, and they were all being rushed right through.
Andrew: They're always being rushed in.
Richard: Yeah, so that kind of sucks.
Andrew: They're always being rushed in, which is the same thing that we had in New York where we talked to a few of the crew members, David Barron, David Yates, and Stuart - sorry, not Stuart Craig...
Micah: Steve Kloves.
Andrew: Steve Kloves. And those interviews will be on MuggleNet soon. We have - we got a lot of cool information out of them, particularly Steve Kloves, the screenwriter. He's written all of them except for Order of the Phoenix and he said that - I said to him, "David Heyman has said that you have jokingly said you could turn the seventh book into three films." And he's, like - and he looks at me deadpan and he is, like, "Oh, yeah." I was, like, "You could?" [laughs] And he was, like, "Yeah, absolutely."
Andrew: [laughs] And then he goes into this rant about how it would be so easy to do. And of course they're not going to turn it into three films but I found it interesting that he thought it would be so easy to turn it into three, so maybe you missed the opportunity by Warner Bros. I don't know.
Micah: No, I think two is enough and...
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, me too.
Micah: But let's talk a little bit about the New York premiere in comparison to London because I feel as if a lot of fans wrote in - a lot of fans had comments about how the premiere was set up, and even Andrew, you and I. You mentioned how the trio were sort of rushed through at the end. Ralph Fiennes didn't come over. We didn't really get a chance to talk to David Heyman at all, I don't even know if - that he walked the red carpet for that event. And it was a little bit disappointing, I think, especially in comparison to the coverage that we had for Half-Blood Prince and Order of the Phoenix.
Micah: And then even - I remember going to the premiere in New York City for Goblet of Fire, that's when we all met each other for the first time, and this was nowhere close.
Andrew: Yeah, there were a couple of problems. For one, the fans were upset because the stars didn't meet the fans, the fans who had been waiting there all day to see them. And then the red carpet interview area was sort of housed in a tent so the fans couldn't even see the stars being interviewed like they could at past premieres or like you could at the world premiere in London that Richard went to. And we got this one e-mail from Sara, 19, of New York, New York who went to the premiere, and she writes:
"My name is Sara and I've been listening to the show for a while, but I've never felt the need to write in until now. I live in New York and went to the 'Deathly Hallows' premiere tonight. I got there at about 8:30 AM, got a nice spot right by the barricade and made some friends. The whole day was very exciting with everyone waiting for the stars, talking about 'Harry Potter', cheering whenever a bus with a 'Deathly Hallows' ad on it drove by. As it got closer to 6:00 PM..."
Which is when the stars would arrive.
"...we kept wondering when they were going to shut down the street so the actors could walk by the barricades. Except that they never did, and as a result, the actors weren't allowed to walk by the fans for their safety. Most of the people around me got there at 8:00 AM or earlier, some camped out overnight, and some drove 14 hours just for the premiere, just to see the stars and get something signed. But we got nothing. I had never been to a movie premiere before, but I've seen previous Harry Potter premieres, more specifically, the most recent London premiere, which looked amazing and it seemed like there was a lot of fan interaction. The most we got in New York was Ralph Fiennes rolling down his window and waving at us, which sparked a 'Voldemort' chant through the crowd, and Tom Felton who actually crossed the street and starting signing autographs before security whisked him away. Overall, it was just a very big disappointment. I spent 12 hours sitting on the sidewalk for absolutely nothing. From what I've seen, I feel like this was the worst of the Harry Potter premieres, the most unorganized. Why? Was it just from poor planning?"
She said it was a great weekend because of the Quidditch World Cup and all that, and she looks forward to hearing our review. So yeah, and then we sort of - we went out to film the fans waiting outside, they're all excited, we like to get footage of that. And I'm filming for, like, a minute and this security guy comes up to me, and he's, like, "Are you press?" I'm, like, "Yeah." And he's, like, "We need you to stay in the tent and stay there." I'm, like, "What? What is this?" I mean, [laughs] when did...
Andrew: Urgh! It was nuts.
Micah: It was disappointing.
Andrew: And it was all because they wouldn't close down the street and my theory is they could have closed down the street if they wanted to. I think they chose not to.
Eric: Well, that's it, isn't it? I mean, why didn't they make that choice?
Andrew: Because the stars - I hate to say it, the stars didn't want to go meet the fans? I don't know.
Andrew: That's the only thing I could think of.
Micah: Well, clearly that's not true though. You look - Tom Felton went over there to sign some autographs.
Micah: I think...
Eric: He braved his own life by doing that, crossing the street.
Micah: Well, I don't know about that.
Andrew: [laughs] He braved his own life!
Micah: The cars were going pretty slow. I think that it could have been that the cast that they had for this particular film on the red carpet was so small that maybe they didn't think it was necessary to close down the street. You're only talking about a handful of actors from the films that were there.
Eric: As opposed to the London premiere? Or...
Micah: As opposed to even Half-Blood Prince, from last year. I mean, you had the trio, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, and that was it.
Andrew: Last year we had Alan Rickman...
Eric: Well, this was a different venue than before, wasn't it? Or not?
Andrew: It was a different venue, that's the other thing. This is the first time a New York premiere wasn't held at the Ziegfeld Theater.
Eric: I thought so.
Andrew: So, we don't want to dwell on it but it was a little bit of a disappointment. I don't know.
Eric: I noticed a sheer drop in our coverage too. I mean, the London premiere...
Eric: No, on MuggleNet there were updates, a live stream, all sorts of stuff coming out of London, and New York, it was the next day, it was nothing.
Andrew: Yeah, I know. It was hard, it was hard, it was hard. But okay, so what else is going on in the news, Micah? Other than that.
Micah: You were over in London and there was a press junket that took place.
Micah: And some of the information that came out of this press junket - one of the biggest pieces of information is that they are going to be reshooting parts of the Deathly Hallows epilogue, and you got a chance to talk to, I think it was David Yates, about it?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, I didn't get to, but then at another table - by the way, the press...
Micah: No, you asked him at the New York premiere.
Andrew: Oh, right. Yeah...
Andrew: ...at the New York premiere I did. [laughs]
Eric: Well, the New York premiere...
Andrew: No, but...
Eric: ...was so low-key it didn't even happen, really.
Micah: I can't remember if it was...
Andrew: [laughs] No, I know.
Micah: Was it Yates...
Andrew: I rate it...
Micah: ...or was it David Barron? I can't remember who you asked.
Andrew: No, I asked Yates.
Andrew: I asked Yates. But yeah, so this piece of info originally came out at the junkets which, by the way, went very well. That was very well-organized and we got a lot of time to talk to everyone, and I wrote up a report which is on MuggleNet now about that. But anyway, so they are going to be reshooting some of the epilogue scenes and David Yates, Radcliffe, Watson and Grint all confirmed this. Basically the studio looked at it and they want it - basically what Yates said to me was that they needed to draw it out a little more and not in a bad way but so people can appreciate the moment more, can really get in the scene. It can't feel rushed, it has to feel just right because this is the final scene of the series. So, they're going back to do some reshoots. They're not going to King's Cross...
Andrew: ...they're going to be doing these at the studio. They originally shot the epilogue at King's Cross so I'm sure they're going to mix the scenes together. So, it's a bit of a surprise but it's good that they're doing that because I think everyone's worst fear would be this scene being screwed up...
Andrew: ...being rushed or not feeling long enough.
Micah: I agree, yeah. And last bit of news - you mentioned it earlier, but let's talk for a few minutes here about the Quidditch World Cup that took place over the premiere weekend and Andrew, you and I and Richard got a chance to go check it out firsthand. And I have to say, I was pretty impressed, I thought it was kind of cool. And a lot of different colleges and universities were there, I didn't realize how big of a sport this has become. And people had, literally, fans that were there, I guess classmates from their school that came to cheer them on, and overall it was a pretty impressive event to watch.
Andrew: Yeah. So, for anyone who doesn't know, the Quidditch World Cup - we talked about it on Episode 213 and we said we were going to go, and Micah and I were going to have a picnic. And we didn't have a picnic but we did have a fun time watching and Richard was there, too. And yeah, it was just a lot of fun. I mean, it's really - it was more exciting than I thought it would be and it got very violent at some points, these people are tossing balls at each other and knocking each other out. A few people had to be sent to the hospital because they were - I don't know what exactly, what injuries...
Andrew: ...they received but [laughs] there was blood being shed.
Andrew: It's a brutal - it's a surprisingly brutal sport [laughs] so it was a lot of fun to watch. And presumably it's going to be in New York again next year and anyone who can make it there should definitely go. We saw a lot of MuggleNet and MuggleCast fans there too, so shout-out to them who all went. They all had the right idea by going. Richard, do you have any other thoughts about it? I know you were enjoying it, too.
Richard: Oh, I loved it. I wrote up a review as well, so if anyone wants to...
Andrew: Oh, right.
Richard: ...find more information about it then they can check that out. But I thought the highlight of the entire thing was the commentators because in true Lee Jordan style, they were hilarious throughout the entire process.
Richard: Occasionally they reported on the matches but mostly they were going off on random tangents about Death Star trash compactors and...
Richard: ...epic Nicolas Cage movies and... [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, they were improv students at Middlebury College which is the college that started this whole Quidditch World Cup thing.
Micah: And won this year.
Richard: And won.
Andrew: And won again. They have won every cup. [laughs]
Eric: Man, that's like Gryffindor, man.
Andrew: I know.
Micah: And how about the Snitches, though? I thought that - the things that they did were pretty creative.
Richard: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: So, how did they do the Snitch?
Andrew: The Snitch was the best part. It would be one person - sometimes a guy, sometimes a girl - dressed in all yellow and she would have a - he or she would have a ball hanging from their waistband, bouncing on their butt, basically, because when they're running...
Andrew: ...it's bouncing off their butt. And then - so they will come out onto the field and they will start running around. And there's a couple of rules in place so if a Seeker gets hit by - I guess it was a Bludger or a Quaffle, they have to go back and tag their end of the field...
Andrew: ...before chasing the Snitch again. And then the Snitch could run around anywhere, it didn't just have to be the field, so they were running outside of the park...
Andrew: ...they were hiding in tents, they were wearing referee costumes pretending to not be the Snitch...
Andrew: ...a bunch of clever stuff like that. It was cool.
Eric: That's hilarious.
Andrew: Yeah, that was the best - the funnest part. And the Snitch was only worth thirty points so that way it wasn't an automatic win.
Andrew: But it did end the game.
Micah: Yeah, I thought they did a really good job. It's kind of a creative game where they let the Snitch go wherever he or she wants to go at the beginning of the match. And everybody has to keep their eyes closed, I guess it's kind of an honor system, that you don't take a peek as to where the Snitch goes. But I think there is so much going on on the pitch that it would be hard for the Seekers to - or not the Seekers. What do you call the people that go after the Snitch?
Eric: Yeah, the Seekers.
Richard: The Seekers.
Andrew: The Seekers.
Micah: The Seekers. Sorry, yeah.
Andrew: [laughs] What did you say? The Sneakers? Like the Nike shoe?
Micah: No, no, I said, "Seekers," but I thought I had it wrong.
Micah: No, I think it would even be hard for them to find this person, especially with four other matches going on or whatever it was, so I don't know. I had a good time, I thought it was well done.
Andrew: I did too, yeah.
Richard: Even if they did find the Snitch, each Snitch could really take care of themselves.
Richard: They were all...
Micah: Especially that one girl.
Richard: ...pushing and punching people away from them.
Micah: I want her name.
Andrew: There was this one girl who was...
Micah: Yeah, she was awesome.
Andrew: ...the Seeker - or was the Snitch and then on one of the teams, the Seeker was this big guy. And I was, like, oh man, this is not fairly matched. I mean, this big guy is going to take this little girl down quick.
Andrew: But she was standing on her own, she was doing good, fighting him off and stuff. [laughs]
Richard: She was slapping him on the back of the head and running away! [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, it was excellent. So, that's the Quidditch World Cup. We'll report - we'll definitely let everyone know when the next one is. Presumably it will be in November 2011 and we hope everyone who can get there can go because it's really worth checking out and we'll try to get there next year as well. So, now let's get to the big story, the main event, the bread and butter.
Micah: And what would that be?
Andrew: That would be the countdown to Part 2.
Micah: There you go.
Andrew: [laughs] No, the movie, let's talk about the movie. So much to talk about, too. We should actually give some box office numbers to start. As of Friday, it brought in $61 million for the opening day and that puts it on track to break a franchise record which is highest opening weekend of all time for a Harry Potter film. So, the previous record was set by Goblet of Fire, actually, which brought in $102.7 million and experts believe that [laughs] this film, Part 1, will break that record. So, very cool to hear, very exciting to hear. And let's talk about the film now. Let's get - we'll start with overall thoughts, then we're going to break it down scene-by-scene. And then we're going to go into favorite new character, least favorite scene, talk about the split and get some listener thoughts as well, so we have a lot to get to. Eric, let's start with you. You, of course, saw it at a very, very, very early screening in Chicago, practically last year at this point, and the special effects weren't complete. So, now - and the music wasn't either. So, now that you've seen it complete, has your thoughts on it changed at all? Better? Worse? What do you think?
Eric: I loved it even more this time than I did the first time and many people may not think that is possible, but it is. I loved it, I absolutely loved the movie. I think it's my favorite movie, I think it's - I would even go so far as to say it's very close to perfect, in my opinion.
Andrew: Were there any big changes that you saw that - between the screener copy, the screening that you went to a few months ago and this one?
Eric: There were ...
Andrew: Like any scenes added or removed?
Eric: Yeah, there were six that I counted that were either just different shots - none of them are huge, but there were six different kind of changes and I mean, I don't want to talk about them all here but I will talk about them later on in the show.
Eric: But yeah, I thought that this movie just blew the others away, especially with the completed soundtrack. I hadn't heard it at all the first time and it fits so well with the film just as you're going through. And I mean, I listened to the soundtrack the night before too, so I just had it on my mind. But it seemed to match everything in the film, it didn't disappoint. We were worried - we talked on MuggleCast about the soundtrack possibly being less or different from what fans expected but I thought it was perfect, and I just - I loved it.
Andrew: Richard, your overall thoughts, please.
Richard: Well, I think mine is pretty much the opposite of Eric's because I came out of the cinema feeling pretty disappointed, to be honest.
Richard: I didn't think that much of the film. I thought - I don't want to go into too much detail at this point but I thought the first third of the movie - the first thirty minutes was brilliant. That was some of my favorite scenes from any Harry Potter movie. And from then onwards I thought it deteriorated. It was dragging, it became dull and I thought the ending was quite anti-climatic, so - I don't know. Overall - I mean, I'm not that impressed with it.
Andrew: Micah, similar thoughts to Eric or Richard?
Micah: I'm going to go somewhere in between. I think when I left the theater, I felt as though something was missing and I'll go into that a little bit more, I guess, as we talk about different scenes and plot points, and things like that. I thought the book-to-film adaptation was great and I think it's probably the closest to anything we've seen since the first two films, and Steve Kloves did a great job. I think overall it's a good movie but I have some issues with it. I'll leave it at that.
Andrew: I think I would have to side with Micah, I agree. I enjoyed it a lot and I'll get into some specific favorite scenes in a bit, but overall - I was shocked at first and I was a bit worried that fans were going to have the same reaction that I did but I was proven wrong. I mean, most fans it seems like really, really loved it and really thought it was going to be - or everyone thought it was the best. So, obviously we have a lot of opposing thoughts which is good...
Micah: Which is good, yeah.
Andrew: ...so we can...
Eric: It's going to be a good show.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, so we're not all going to be, like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" So, let's go first to major scenes and we're going to go in order to try to keep this as orderly as possible. [laughs] We'll start with the opening montage, at least I've been calling it the montage because we see a variety of scenes sort of all mashed together. It's not a montage like what we've seen in Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, which I didn't like. But the opening montage with the Minister making a speech, Hermione Obliviating her parents' minds, the Dursleys leaving, shots of Ron at the Burrow, all those. That opening montage got me really excited for what I was about to watch. Did anyone else have that sort of feeling?
Micah: I thought those opening few minutes were great and it was really impactful the way that Hermione went about Obliviating her parents' minds.
Micah: And I think people who maybe didn't get the severity of what was going on in this film got it right off the bat...
Micah: ...with what she had to go through. And with the Dursleys though, I really felt that - and I put this in the review that I wrote - possibly one of the most redeeming moments in the whole series was questionably omitted here, specifically when Dudley asked why Harry isn't coming with him. That was in the book but in the movie all Dudley asks is why they have to leave. And I'm worried about how they're going to tie in Petunia to the next film, even though I know David Yates mentioned when we spoke to him on the red carpet that that scene is a deleted scene on the DVD. So, why they didn't include it? I was a little bit upset about that...
Eric: Sorry, what scene?
Micah: ...because I thought it really redeemed - a scene between Harry and Petunia. But I feel that leaving that scene out, it was a redeeming moment for Dudley and I think a lot of people were actually looking forward to that.
Andrew: Maybe they took it out because his character really wasn't developed...
Eric: Yeah, I think...
Andrew: ...in the past few films.
Eric: Exactly. I think people have to remember that the Dursleys - the role of the Dursleys is quite diminished in the films, especially as of late. In the first three films I would say they were probably given due credit, but lately it's been reduced. I mean, I think the most - especially with Dudley, it's been Movie 5 when he obviously gets attacked by the Dementor. But I don't know that it would have had the same effect that Petunia and Harry are talking. Meanwhile the rest of the world is in - a lot of people are going through a lot of horrible things. I don't know that it would have meant anything to the audience, especially those unfamiliar with the books.
Andrew: One thing that Emma brought up at the junket in London about that scene with Hermione Obliviating her parents' mind is she said she could really connect to that, and she said - she was like, "I don't want to get very emotional but my parents separated, and so I could really connect with that, having to split the family into two." I was, like, "Oh wow, she had something really to relate to for this very small scene."
Andrew: But it was very - it really struck a chord with her.
Eric: So powerful, too.
Eric: And just - I know we will be saying this a lot but I mean, Emma Watson, man, she was awesome in this movie.
Richard: She was. I thought her acting...
Richard: ...was the best I've seen in any of the Harry Potter films, and she kind of stole the show a bit. And you always saw in every scene how much emotion she was pouring out, and particularly in the Obliviating scene.
Andrew: And another fun fact about that scene was those baby pictures of her were her actual...
Andrew: ...baby pictures. [laughs]
Eric: I was trying to think - are those the same parents they had in Chamber of Secrets?
Andrew: Well, not the same...
Eric: The same actors?
Andrew: Those weren't her real - oh, I don't know. But the shots of Emma in those photos were her actual child photos, not - the parents were obviously...
Andrew: ...replaced for the film.
Eric: I thought it was fitting because she is removed from those photos. So, the fact that they had to place her in those photos is kind of funny, it's kind of easy to create that effect...
Eric: ...if she hadn't really been in those photos to begin with. Just before we move on, there was a small change in Dursleys departing. There wasn't the scene with Harry and Petunia, I didn't see that and I'm interested. But actually what Dudley says to Vernon, I guess in the film, is, "Why are we leaving?" And Vernon says, "Because it's not safe."
Eric: Is that - yeah. Originally at the pre-screening, there was another shot of Vernon and Dudley learning - sorry, loading the car and Dudley asked him - Dudley asked Vernon, "Why isn't Harry coming with us?" or "Why isn't he coming with us?" And Vernon says to him, "Because he doesn't want to." And it's not the kind of scene - it's not like he's telling Dudley that Harry is being a jerk. He's saying very matter-of-factly he doesn't want to diffuse the emotion. It's this great...
Micah: So, you're saying that that was cut out...
Eric: That was cut out.
Micah: ...of the final film?
Eric: And in fact replaced...
Micah: Yeah. And I don't know why that...
Micah: See, I do think that could have been, as I said before, a redeeming scene for Dudley because despite what you said, he wasn't as built up as much as a character, with the exception of Order of the Phoenix. I still think that when you look at that family as a whole and how they have treated Harry, to have their son turn around and say something like that...
Micah: I think it was something that people were looking forward to.
Eric: And I think maybe it was removed because people would think it would be confusing because obviously Vernon is saying Harry doesn't want to. Maybe people would have taken that literally but what it really means is, what the line in the film is, it's not safe. So, I guess that was just one of those - but that was the first change that I noticed.
Andrew: Another scene I really liked in this montage was when Harry opens the old cupboard under the stairs again. And I'm trying to page through the book right now to see if that is actually in here, but does anyone remember that actually being in the book...
Andrew: ...where he sort of looks at that?
Richard: It's in the book.
Andrew: And he - it is? Okay. And he picks up the old pieces from his...
Eric: The knights.
Andrew: The knights which he played with in Sorcerer's Stone, right?
Eric: [laughs] Those...
Andrew: In the film. I thought that was awesome.
Eric: I'm surprised nobody made off with those. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, that was really cool. I thought that was a really good throwback and that was one of the things I've been hoping to see in this film, just a lot of references to the older films, a lot of little tributes like that. That was definitely a nice little tribute that they did.
Eric: And that first shot from inside the cupboard, when he first opens the cupboard door, the camera is inside the cupboard and it just looks so much like that first teaser for Sorcerer's Stone...
Eric: ...years ago, in 2000, maybe it was? "There's no such thing as magic," and he...
Eric: ...slams it shut. But it's so reminiscent of that that it was painfully beautiful.
Andrew: Somebody should do a side-by-side shot of those two...
Eric: [laughs] Well, it will still be a vent in the cupboard when all is said and done.
[Andrew and Richard laugh]
Andrew: Next big scene: Seven Potters. We all know it well from the book. I had made it very clear this is one of the scenes that I was most looking forward to on past episodes of MuggleCast and I was pretty satisfied with it. The one thing that I thought - and I teased this on the last episode of MuggleCast, I said I didn't want to spoil it for anyone too early. But I think that where the camera sort of does a pan around and you don't see their true transformations, you just see their early transformations, I thought that was a bit cheap at first. But now, seeing it in the film, in the context of everything, I thought it was really well done and the audience in the fan theater that I went to just ate that up, with all of the different Harrys talking in different people's voices.
Andrew: That was hilarious.
Eric: Yeah. Interestingly, they kept the continuity of, I guess, Chamber of Secrets, which is a departure from the book, that you don't sound like the person you are changing into. Complete movie-ism, but it works so well again in this film because even later at the Ministry, you need to remember who is who. It's just a lot easier. But it was interesting they kept that and that pan-around shot is why I liked the Seven Potters. It's one of two pan-around shots in the film that were just so awesome and - I mean, the other one being later in the woods when Hermione's protection is tested by the Snatchers. But I was just blown away by everything the camera is doing, even this early on. It was awesome.
Micah: Yeah, I agree. This scene was done very well. We got a pretty good sense of it beforehand because most of it was released online. But there were parts of it that I was surprised weren't in that clip, that 90-second clip that we got and I thought it was one of the better scenes of the entire film.
Richard: I seem to remember the girls at my screening seem to enjoy when Harry was taking his shirt off.
Eric: And there was a bra underneath.
Andrew: And Harry in a bra was very funny as well. And by the way, we got our answer to the question of how they would introduce Bill Weasley and it was basically how I predicted. Micah, were you satisfied with that? I mean, basically Bill just says, "Hey, I'm Bill!" [laughs] And that's it.
Micah: Yeah, and he mentions that he was attacked by Greyback.
Andrew: Right, which was said so quickly and so...
Micah: I don't know if people picked it up.
Andrew: Yeah, I don't think so either. And he had a thick accent, in my opinion, so [laughs] all I heard was, [mumbles] "Greyback." [mumbles] [laughs]
Eric: And then Lupin makes the joke about steak which is in the books. But yeah, it's kind of rushed.
Andrew: Yeah. So, at least we got that. And also Fleur was, like, "Oh, hey, hey! How are you?" And...
Eric: Oh, Tonks and Lupin are kind of pregnant.
Andrew: Yeah, that was really quick too! Because we don't hear her say it, we just hear her...
Eric: Yeah, she gets cut off...
Eric: ...by Moody.
Micah: Let's talk about the scene at Malfoy Manor because we completely left that out.
Andrew: Oh yes, of course. Malfoy Manor, when Snape gives Voldemort what the plan is to move Harry. The Malfoy Manor scenes overall, each one of them was my absolute favorite because Ralph Fiennes was just fantastic, as was Alan Rickman, and Bellatrix was just incredible!
Andrew: I mean, she had this extra sense of craziness to her.
Eric: Well, not just craziness, but I want to say she was more rooted in reality. Sure, she's serving this dark wizard, but she just seemed to be in the zone a little bit better than she has been. She's not just crazy laughing for no reason. She was kind of seriously - she wanted to be the one to kill Harry.
Richard: She was...
Eric: And she asked permission and then she was denied permission, and she bowed her head, kind of sulky.
Micah: She looked like a beaten dog.
Micah: Or not a beaten dog. Like when you scold a dog and the dog puts its head down?
Micah: You know what I am talking about? That's exactly what she looked like.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. [laughs]
Richard: I just thought she came across as pure evil. I mean, there is no other word to describe it.
Eric: I wanted to talk about Lucius just quickly because...
Micah: Oh, yeah.
Eric: ...Jason Isaacs in this film - he didn't shave for a couple of days.
Eric: Lucius is kind of rough around the edges and [laughs] when Voldemort asked him for his wand, I think this is one of the standout scenes in the film, is when Voldemort takes Lucius's wand, and snaps off the little...
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: ...extra bit and just throws it on the table, and it clunks and you could just hear it clunk. And the face Lucius makes, he's just defeated.
Andrew: In my theater when he cracked it, everyone went, "Ooh."
Andrew: [laughs] It was very creepy. I don't know if this was in the book: did Voldemort steal Lucius's razor, as well?
Andrew: I couldn't figure out why he hadn't shaved.
Eric: Yeah, yeah, I don't know.
Micah: I think they really did a great job of showing how stressed out Lucius Malfoy has been...
Eric: The whole family. Micah. Yeah, the whole family, really, over the course of, I guess, the couple of weeks since we last saw them in Half-Blood Prince. I mean, you could really see it in Jason Isaacs, just how embattled he was and everything.
Eric: A change is brewing.
Micah: The stress that he's been under, yeah.
Andrew: So, now let's move on to The Will and Testament. This was, of course, right before the wedding, when Scrimgeour comes in. And this scene, I was pretty pleased with this because it turned out to be pretty funny because Ron is sort of just acting a bit dumb. He's just, like, "Oh, cool." [laughs] And Bill Nighy, he was just great, I thought.
Andrew: Anyone have any problems with this scene? Or...
Richard: I actually didn't think - I didn't really like his performance. I think I'm one of the only ones because...
Richard: Well, in the book, you get the impression that the Minister - he was an ex-Auror, he's really rough. He kind of personifies a sort of power and bravery. I didn't think he came across as that. I thought Bill Nighy's accent was sort of middle England and he was kind of a bit afraid, he was a bit weak. I don't know. I didn't think he was that great.
Eric: It's interesting because obviously in the book, he has a little bit more time to try and persuade Harry. I think even in the movie he tries to persuade - he says something like, "You can't fight this on your own." And it's almost like he is extending an invitation to cooperate, to work with Harry. But it's not developed and if they - obviously he's dead in the next - in the very, very next scene, it's the wedding and we find out that he's just been killed...
Eric: ...mere hours after visiting Harry, so I guess maybe that was a choice so that they couldn't - I mean, if they had made him more - stronger, they would have had to develop sort of why he was able to die. We're just able to believe that he was overpowered and that's just how things were, without asking too much about it.
Micah: And can I bring up a larger point here? Because I think it's kind of the bigger problem that I had with this film and it relates to Scrimgeour. One of the biggest disconnects I felt with this movie is in large part to do to what didn't play - take place in previous films, particularly Half-Blood Prince. And I felt that they really missed the boat to show just how much danger Voldemort presented to the rest of the world.
Andrew: Which they emphasized a lot in the beginning of Half-Blood Prince.
Micah: Well, yes and no because I think if they would have done the "Other Minister" scene, sort of that transfer of power from Fudge to Scrimgeour and then meeting with the British Prime Minister, it would have made people realize just how much danger he did present, the gravity of the situation, so to speak. And I think that when this all transfers over to that road opera with the trio traveling in the woods - if they would have developed that earlier, it would have made this all make a little bit more sense and more believable. And that's what...
Eric: You're saying people need to know more about how Voldemort poses a threat to non-wizards?
Micah: Exactly, because I - and to show the danger that he presents to...
Micah: ...the real world.
Eric: ...the only cast - the only characters in this film are wizards and...
Micah: Right, but...
Eric: ...the whole movie is about wizards.
Micah: ...they are traveling in the "real world."
Andrew: Right. I mean, they go...
Micah: When they go to the forest they are in the real world and there is this danger of these other wizards attacking them in the Muggle world. They're no longer in the magical world anymore and I think that that's where Deathly Hallows really just - it lost itself when they transferred over to the road opera, so to speak.
Richard: Yeah, I completely agree. I don't think this film at all managed to capture the sense of fear that the trio had throughout or the entire wizarding world has throughout, the whole fear of what Voldemort's up to and he's killing everyone. And the only time you even got a slight reference to that was when Ron was playing with the radio, and the only way the film sort of personified was that Harry didn't like it and Harry got annoyed with it. And there's no other real way of capturing what the world is feeling right now, and I thought that was my biggest letdown of the entire film.
Micah: Yeah. And just on Scrimgeour, one more point. I think if they would have introduced him a movie earlier - and Eric, you mentioned the fact that there was sort of this pre-existing relationship that nobody really got because they didn't introduce him in Half-Blood Prince - people would have had a better idea of just how they felt toward each other. And it's not even stated in this movie that perhaps the most influential and powerful government official in the wizarding world just died for Harry Potter.
Micah: It's mentioned in passing by Kingsley's Patronus that the Minister is dead, but you have no idea how that impacts Harry in terms of him moving forward as a character, so...
Eric: Right, because didn't he refuse to give over Harry's whereabouts or something like that?
Richard: He did, yeah.
Eric: Yeah. So, he refused to believe that the Ministry was corrupt and then at the very last moments of his life, when he was forced to believe that the Ministry was corrupt, he didn't sell Harry out.
Andrew: Well, speaking of deaths, were you guys satisfied with the reaction to Mad-Eye's death? I mean, it does come very sudden in the book. Did you like how it was transferred to the movie? Personally for me, it felt...
Andrew: It did feel a bit rushed, but I hate to say that because it's, like, how long do you want to actually dwell on that?
Micah: Well, I feel though...
Micah: The way it was introduced, though, was poor. I think it was Bill who said, "Mad-Eye's dead."
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Micah: And here's a character...
Andrew: I agree.
Micah: If it was delivered by a character that we had seen throughout the other movies it might have been more impactful. Having Bill do it, I thought - it was just, like, "Oh, Mad-Eye's dead," and it didn't have any emotion behind it.
Eric: I think the emphasis - I think using Bill to do it was the right thing. Bill was, I think, the right choice as an actor. I think they cast him well, he looks just like the others, so I believe instantly when he's, like, "Hey, I'm Bill Weasley." Oh okay, so that's Bill, I just went with it. And when he says Mad-Eye is dead, he is sad about it. And the fact that somebody we've never met can be that sad about Mad-Eye's death shows that there is a larger world. It shows that there is this larger Order, people we haven't maybe even considered, who are affected by Mad-Eye's death, who are affected by the deaths of these characters we do know.
Micah: Well, no. I mean, it comes after a very comedic moment where George talks about being holey. And then you just get that quick one-liner, "Mad-Eye's dead."
Eric: They weren't sure about it.
Micah: I don't think it was delivered well, in my opinion.
Richard: Yeah, I agree with you, Micah.
Andrew: I agree. You nailed it. The introduction was my problem with it because - yeah. I mean, you just met this character, Bill. Most people really still don't know [laughs] who he is. And they don't spend too much time on it, but that was okay with me because you've got to keep the pace of the film moving and maybe a little more reflection would have been okay.
Eric: Yeah, I just think that they really - their concern was George. I mean, not everybody had returned immediately. And when George lost his ear, the Weasleys, obviously their main concern is going to be their own, who is cursed. It was each other at first and then when mostly everybody arrived, they were able to focus on George. So, I don't know when they would have announced Moody's death if it were sooner than that. And I guess I can see kind of where you're coming from, that it was Bill, a periphery character, to say it. But I think they - I think it all meant the same to them and I'm glad they didn't dwell on it anymore.
Micah: Yeah, but there wasn't even a question from, say, Arthur or Remus, "Where's Mad-Eye?"
Eric: I felt like that was just synonymous with how life changes suddenly like that. It's kind of - I guess it was supposed to be like a shock to everybody but to also the audience, that this character who had just been making jokes about goblin piss - Fred and George were taking the piss out of him for that...
Eric: ...is just gone. No longer going to be in the film, he gets no outro, he gets no nothing. It's just boom, he's dead, and I think that was the intended effect.
Andrew: Closing point, Richard.
Richard: Oh, all right. I was just wondering when George lost his ear, was there any reference to Snape since he was the one that actually did it?
Richard: Because that could be important because I'm assuming they're going to have a montage in the next film about Snape's good side and there was no reference to that at all. I thought it would be a nice entry point.
Andrew: It is kind of weird that they really didn't play up the Snape, "Do we trust Snape?" angle...
Richard: Not at all.
Andrew: ...in promoting this film at all because with the book it was such a big question and maybe because they figured everybody knows the outcome anyway or most people do. But...
Micah: Yeah, he got very little screen time other than just really the opening few minutes.
Micah: And that was it, right? I mean, he didn't appear at all in the rest of the film.
Eric: Although interestingly, Harry is looking at the Marauder's Map at one scene after he hears on the radio that Snape is the new headmaster, so there is those little bits...
Eric: ...but they are easy to miss, but there are those little bits.
Andrew: Yeah. So, let's get to the wedding scene. Of course we don't see the actual wedding, we just see the after-party. And Harry is sitting there talking with Muriel, and she gives some information about Dumbledore and Harry starts to distrust him. And that's one of the main themes of this film, is, "Can Harry trust Dumbledore?" and the viewer is supposed to take that in, too. So, I personally don't think that it was emphasized enough.
Micah: Yeah, I agree. I completely agree here with you. I thought they did - this is the only part where they developed sort of the distrust of Dumbledore, and then they don't revisit it all throughout the course of the movie. This is it, when you have that...
Andrew: Well, they do a little bit when Ron says, "Oh, we're chasing down all these Horcruxes, and..."
Andrew: "...Dumbledore didn't give you any information?"
Micah: But as far as his background, as far as sort of the plan that has been laid out for Harry - or lack thereof - as Harry goes through and learns more and more from the book that Rita Skeeter wrote, there's just - you don't hear much about him. And I felt like this was a great opportunity because I think when we read Deathly Hallows, we all questioned Dumbledore. I mean, Eric, you were the one who said he raised him like a pig for slaughter...
Eric: Which he did.
Micah: ...and that was not even touched on in this movie after the wedding scene where Harry is sitting down with Muriel and Elphias Doge.
Eric: I think you've got to look at a few key things. The first is that Hermione - in the movie, Hermione is the one reading The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. She picks it up at Bathilda's house quite late in the film and is shown only about halfway through it, I think, in a scene closer to the end of the film. So, she's still kind of picking up things about it. It's kind of like you wait until the end of the book to do a book review. So, I'm saying maybe a lot of that will come into play in Part 2, especially when they are going to introduce Aberforth because they made such a big deal about the mirror and we can talk about that later. But little things like casting the photographs of Grindelwald and Dumbledore that are in the book, I feel like the groundwork is all laid. I didn't feel shorted at all on the, "Dumbledore, can we trust him?" subplot, particularly because whoever they got to cast as Muriel is a freaking bitch.
Eric: She just tore Harry apart and...
Andrew: Her costume was amazing, though, what she was wearing.
Eric: A friend of mine made the comment - they didn't feel it was right to include the characters of Elphias Doge and Aunt Muriel in the film because they are periphery and my friend felt that they could do more with the actual main characters if they had those characters do some of the exposition. But again, my feelings on that - if I can echo them here if anybody else is feeling that way. Again, outsiders who we as the film viewers have never met talking about Dumbledore, who even the film viewers should know, again it gives the illusion of the wider world - the wider wizarding world. Characters we've never met talking about someone we know intimately and casting a different shadow on him, I think that was fine. Plus not to mention, it's canon to have those characters and I thought they were well acted.
Micah: I think that it would have been better if Harry would have questioned Dumbledore more throughout the course of this film because you're just left with Aunt Muriel saying to Harry, "Honestly boy, how well did you really know him?" and that's it, and that was my problem, ultimately.
Andrew: They drove that point home, too, because they got a close up of her and...
Andrew: ...it was like they really emphasized that. And by the way, that was our little cameo from Rita Skeeter, Miranda Richardson, so...
Eric: What, on the back of the book?
Andrew: Yeah, on the back of the book. That's what she came in to film. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Her winking suggestively?
Andrew: Right. "Check out my book!" So, that was the wedding scene and then we get to...
Eric: Well, Kingsley's Patronus, not fully formed. Why not?
Andrew: Not fully formed - yeah. Well, maybe...
Eric: And what's with those faces?
Andrew: I think they didn't fully form Kingsley's Patronus because a regular viewer would not know why it's in the shape - why it's in a particular shape.
Eric: But then there's the silver doe. Do you think if they would have filmed or fully formed Kingsley's Patronus that maybe they didn't want the audience to know that the silver doe exactly, specifically was a Patronus?
Micah: Well, they also had Umbridge's in the Ministry, though.
Eric: Oh, and that was so cool. I just noticed...
Andrew: That was cool. I loved that.
Eric: ...for the first time last night that that was what was keeping the Dementors at bay in the court scene.
Andrew: Yeah, that was awesome.
Eric: I hadn't realized that.
Micah: Did anybody else not feel as much of an impact as when you read it in the book about Kingsley's statement that the Ministry had fallen?
Richard: Yeah, I thought it was dragging out and he was sort of telling a short story as opposed to saying, "Hey, get the hell out of here!"
Micah: Because it was a "holy bleep" moment in the books. And this, it didn't come across that way. The same way I didn't feel the ending came across either, but we'll talk about that later.
Eric: "They are coming, they are coming."
Andrew: By the way, Viktor Krum, completely cut out of the wedding.
Eric: Change number two. Change number two.
Andrew: He did - he was in your screening, Eric?
Andrew: In the Chicago...
Eric: There's a scene where Hermione talks to Krum or she goes up to him. He kind of says hi and then he looks at her like he recognizes her and stuff, but then a Veela girl passes, and he actually just turns and walks away. So, they filmed it and he probably got paid to be in this movie, but they cut him out of the film.
Andrew: At least he got his pay, and hopefully we'll see him on the DVD.
Eric: Actually, that's what I liked about the wedding, too. I just realized there were some Beauxbatons girls there and I thought that was - obviously it's important to include them. But they were dressed in their blue uniform from the fourth movie. There were just a few scattered around the wedding in the background and I thought maybe the film - I think that's kind of a testament to the Department of Costuming. They said, "Hey, we need some old school friends of Fleur's here."
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