Wow, I whined a bit and then woke up yesterday to 4 comments on my blog. You guys realize you're rewarding bad behavior, right? : ) Even more surprising is that all those comments were from people I've never actually met...I'm still slightly surprised that anyone I do know takes the time to read this (other than my mom, who has to because she's my mom, HI MOM) so having anyone else read it is pretty cool.
Vader says hi. He's currently staring at me like he expects me to do tricks, or maybe feed him my lunch (nice try, little dog--the taco soup is MINE!!). I think he just pulled a trick on me; the doorbell rang and no one was there when I went to answer it in my purple snowflake pajama pants. I just don't know how Vader and Sadie could have pulled that one off.
But anyway, let's return to the world of Harry Potter, shall we?
This is a terrible picture of the Horcruxes; all the non-living ones were in this glass case: the diadem, the ring, the locket, the cup, and the diary. I hope I'm not giving away too many plot points here. If I am, then you've obviously been living under a rock for the last 10 years or so.
You may recognize this as the door to the Chamber of Secrets. This was one of those things that you would think would be an all-CGI effect, but in fact it was a mechanical rig. I'm not nearly as keen to have one of these in my house as Dumbledore's gryphon. Also a mechanical rig was Lupin's suitcase from Prisoner of Azkaban, you remember the one that opened its own drawers and pushed out books and moved shoes? They had it on display and you could press a button to make all the parts move to either pack it all up or open it and display all the contents.
In one corner, they had a bunch of vehicles like this one (the Gringotts cart from Deathly Hallows) and they showed several short films about special effects, including one on what they call "invisible effects". That's when they have to do effects that you hopefully don't notice at all and wouldn't think are effects; for example, when Harry and Hermione are in the graveyard at Godric's Hollow, it's snowy out so you'd expect to see their breath when they talk or breathe. That was filmed on a soundstage though so they had to add in the breath clouds to make it look right.
Hagrid's motorbike complete with sidecar; of course it originally belonged to Sirius. They built several since they got kind of distressed during the shooting of the movie.
Here's another one of the sets, the Burrow where the Weasleys live (my Splitcoast profile lists my location as "at the Burrow with the rest of the Weasleys". I wish!) They had little kiosks where you could press a button to make the pan in the sink wash itself, or the iron move to press a shirt, or the knitting needles to go to work: all mechanical effects. They also said that the set was designed to have pretty much zero right angles and it's meant to look as if this is something that Arthur Weasley built himself. I heart that table with the mismatched chairs. (And I'd totally love to have self-cleaning dishes...I hate scrubbing muffin tins.)
Another set, this is Umbridge's office at the Ministry of Magic in all its pink frou-frou glory. See the kitten plates on the wall? They said everyone's favorite day of shooting is when they brought in all the kittens for the kitten plates; most of the animals were rescues who got to be in the movies and then were adopted out afterwards, which is pretty cool. Save a life, adopt a pet from your local animal shelter (that's where both Sadie and Vader came from).
Several of Umbridge's costumes...as she rises in power at the Ministry, her clothes get progressively pinker. Lee thinks she's the worst kind of villain (and I kinda have to agree): the type that acts all nice but really she's a viper behind the veneer of civility.
Offices in the Ministry of Magic. They're full of cardboard furniture and filing cabinets since real props would have been too heavy for the construction.
More of the Ministry of Magic. The walls look like marble or something, but it's actually thin pieces of wood treated with a gazillion layers of paint and finish to make them look like that. It's pretty impressive, even the small piece they still have standing; I bet when the whole set was there it was amazing.
There's a courtyard between the two soundstages where they have items like this motorbike. I kinda wanted Lee to get in the sidecar but apparently that wasn't cool enough, he had to drive the bike : ) You can see the Knight Bus in the background; you could step up onto the back end of it where Harry boarded the bus and take pictures there, but you can't go inside. We did look in the windows though and it's totally got beds and chandeliers in there.
We had forgotten that Number 4, Privet Drive totally looks like the front of our house (terrible picture taken when it was getting dark but what can you do). The diamond pattern on the windows, the tile roof, the color of the brick...all of it is just like our house! (We're much nicer than the Dursleys though.)
This is a bit of the bridge at Hogwarts. It was never mentioned in the books, but Alfonso Cuaron (director of Prisoner of Azkaban) wanted to have it to make scenes in that movie more dramatic and visually awesome, so they built this.
Here is the Potters' house that Voldemort attacked when Harry was a baby (though if you watch Sorcerer's Stone, the house in the flashback scenes looks totally different than this one). From reading the books I kind of think the upper floor should have been more dilapidated and blown up.
They had another line of the Sorcerer's Stone chess pieces along the wall next to the door to the next soundstage.
The faceless thing is kind of creepy. Then we went in the second soundstage to the Creature Effects department and saw some creepy faces!
Here I think the creep factor is that they have no eyes and I totally took a picture up that goblin's nose. The dude in charge of this department said that by the time they got to the Gringotts scene in Deathly Hallows Part 2, their techniques had advanced so much that even the goblin extras' faces were better than the best goblin face produced for Sorcerer's Stone.
They also had a bunch of wigs on display (though I didn't take pictures of them). I still wonder why they gave Narcissa Malfoy skunk hair.
This is one freaky-looking merperson from Goblet of Fire. I can imagine playing a prank on someone and holding this over their face when they wake up--AAAIIIEEEEE!!!
A momma thestral (minus the wings) and her baby. They had the Hungarian Horntail dragon's head on display above the thestrals but my picture came out totally crappy.
On the left is the shark head rig from Goblet of Fire when Viktor Krum partially transfigured himself for one of the tasks in the Triwizard Tournament. On the right, of course, is an electric blue Cornish pixie from Chamber of Secrets, though you also see one or two in Deathly Hallows Part 2...the cool thing about these movies is they never got rid of ANYTHING so they were able to reuse a lot of stuff and you can find all kinds of things in the Room of Requirement that you'll recognize from the earlier films.
Last shot for today is Aragog the acromantula, another terrible picture but it looks kind of cool. Originally it was almost all black and when I did auto-correct on it, this is what the computer gave me. I know it's not a real spider but he's still plenty creepy to me...I saw three giant spiders in my house last week though thankfully none of them was the size of Aragog. *shudder*
So there's Part 2, and believe it or not I still have more pictures for Part 3, coming soon!
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