MuggleNet's Harry Potter Wizard's Collection Review
By Rosie Morris
My first thoughts on receiving the Harry Potter Wizard's Collection were
that this box set is just as magical as the name would suggest. Complete
with 36 DVDs, this set is any Harry Potter fan's dream, packed full of
extras, artworks and memorabilia.
Made up of the eight ultimate editions of the Potter films, the collection
sees the movies packaged in a brand new way. The series started as books and
has returned there with each movie receiving its own beautifully designed
board book to host its DVDs. The set, designed by MinaLima - the graphic
designers of the Potter films, is a veritable chest of delights, reminiscent
of Professor Lupin's traveling chest from Prisoner of Azkaban.
On lifting the lid, the artwork is stunning. Adorned with the symbols of
Hogwarts Houses, patterns which would feel at home on the walls of the
Gryffindor Common room, and stars and snitches that make the whole box
magical. The sides of the box pull away to reveal hidden drawers and
magnetic boxes all of which hold wonders that I'll talk about later.
As a fan who had not previously bought the ultimate editions, this set is
perfection, though a Blu-ray player is necessary to watch the special
features past Prisoner of Azkaban. For fans with the ultimate editions
already, the draw of this set would be the beautiful concept artwork by
Stuart Craig, the replica of the Locket Horcrux, as well as the presentation
of the box itself.
The artwork is really beautiful. The bottom drawer holds a scene concept for
each movie: the chessboard, an exterior of Hogwarts, the Whomping Willow,
the Durmstrang Ship, the Thestrals, the seascape beside the Horcrux Cave,
Shell Cottage and Dobby's grave, and Hogwarts on fire. Each piece is
beautifully presented on card and reminds me of presentation cells of
animated movies. Owning this art is really owning a piece of the Potter
world, and I would happily display any of them simply as beautiful artwork.
Within the top drawer is a book of labels as designed by MinaLima which
adorn the props within the movie. From potion labels to Honeydukes products,
luggage labels and items from Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. These labels hide
in the scenery of the film, but they are essential in making the movie-world
real and now for the first time you can hold them in your hand and see how
much work went into creating these magical products.
Beneath the labels is an envelope of Stuart Craig's own concept sketches,
including the view down to Gringotts within Diagon Alley, the first sketch
of Hogwarts' exterior as seen from across the lake, and Hagrid's hut with
Sirius's motorbike parked outside. Stuart's work is incredibly detailed and
beautifully drawn and you can see each of these scenes within the movie,
showing how much of the world we've come to know came directly from Stuart's
Within a secret hidden panel at the back of the set, beneath the lid and
behind the top set of disks resides the 'Harry Potter - Catalogue of
Artefacts' displaying props from the movies arranged by character or scene.
These show previously unseen details from key props, including the badger of
Hufflepuff's cup, the chain of office of the Minister of Magic and the
Chudley Cannons print of Ron's bedroom. Also in this hidden section is a
beautiful blueprint of Hogwarts Castle from the Deathly Hallows movie and a
printed cloth map of the Hogwarts area including Hogsmeade, the Quidditch
Pitch and the castle itself.
Moving on to discuss the content of the discs, aside from each copy of the
movies in DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download forms, the most exciting
sections of the DVDs are the previously unreleased Parts 7 and 8 of the
'Creating the World of Harry Potter' documentary. While we are aware that a
few box sets may be missing these discs (we hope they'll receive
replacements soon) most sets appear to be complete and they really are a
Part Seven features a conversation between Jo Rowling and Steve Kloves that
really was brilliant. The 45-minute segment shows them discussing the entire
process of changing each book into a movie, how hard it is to stay true to
the books and how the focus remained on keeping true to their characters,
their opinions on the directors, actors and the movies themselves and the
wonderful relationship that the two writers built up over their ten years of
conversation. Personally, this conversation is my favourite interview I have
ever seen in regards to the movies. It is the perfect way to end the series
and see how much love both writers have for each other's work.
Part Eight reflects on the actors of the films and how their lives changed
due to growing up with Potter. From their earliest interviews to the last
day of filming, the documentary shows previously unseen footage from behind
the cameras, including the real school within Hogwarts, the friendships and
professional attitudes that they all developed and how within the studios at
Levesden, the young cast were never treated as 'famous actors.' Instead they
received as normal a childhood as possible, encouraged to have fun and enjoy
their time within the magical world.
On the bonus disc, the 'Designing Potter' documentary really champions the
unsung heroes of Potter that we have really come to appreciate in the years
since the movies were made. With the opening on the Studio Tour, fans are
able to get up close to the detail of the movies in a new way and this
documentary is the perfect accompaniment to this as we get to put faces to
the people who really built the world of Potter. My thanks to Stuart, Jany,
MinaLima, all the props and set designers and creators. It's wonderful to
see their processes and how they brought the world from our imaginations to
This set is the most complete Potter movie experience, the only way to make
it better would be to put on a screening of the set within the walls of
Hogwarts itself. It really is a must have item and with its status as a
limited edition, with only 63,000 being made - each with its own certificate
of authentication, I feel very lucky to have been given the chance to review
one. To those with the ultimate editions, the cost may be a little high, but
the care that has been put into the production of the set rivals the care of
the details of the movies, and I for one think it's worth every penny.
Read Micah's Review