Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday Movie Musings - Harry Potter Exhibition

So today's movie musing isn't so much about a single movie, but rather the Harry Potter Exhibition I went to with the kids last weekend.

We hadn't planned on going; I figured our big museum-type experience for the winter was the Picasso exhibit, and pretty much ignored the ads for the HP event. (We live a good hour and a half from the town where both exhibits were shown, so attending them is a full day experience.)

Then Midkid entered a drawing at Borders and won two tickets to the exhibition. Couldn't let them go to waste, could we? No, of course not. So last weekend I packed up the kids and trekked to the big city for a visit to Hogwarts.

(First, though, we had to get our tickets. Because they were free passes, we couldn't reserve our spots online, and we were nervous about being able to get in. As we reached the ticket booth, my heart sank. It was 10 am and the sign posted said the first available entry time was 3:15 pm. Ten minutes after our parking pass was set to expire. I went up to the booth, showed the saleswoman the passes, and explained the predicament. She worked her magic and found us tickets for the 11:45 am entry. Yay!)

So after a quick snack and some time in the science center playing around with the exhibits, it was time to go in. And let me tell you, this exhibition was absolutely worth the effort. Part museum exhibit, part Disney-style fun, it's fascinating and enjoyable for any fan of the movies. Even if you're not a Harry Potter fanatic, it's great to get an up close view of costumes, set pieces, and behind-the-scenes movie magic.

The kids enjoyed the opening schtick, especially GPS, who was "sorted" into Gryffindor by the sorting hat and a friendly guide. The sorting was followed by entry into a circular room, similar to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, with a multimedia intro, followed by fog machines, engine sounds, and a wall opening to reveal the Hogwarts Express engine.

There were costumes galore, from early Harry Potter to Draco Malfoy to Professor Snape to Quidditch robes to so many more I can't name them all. There were actual wands used by the characters in the movies. Ron and Harry's dorm room beds were there, with items from the set to make it seem like they'd just stepped outside for a moment. There was a message board from the movies, something that had been likely just put up in the background for "flavor", but so detailed and *right* it made me smile.

The books looked like they'd been taken out of someone's library. There were professor's desks and Hagrid's hut and Lockhart's many publicity photos. You could tug on mandrakes in the garden set and make them squeal, and toss a quaffle through a hoop. (The quaffle was much squishier than I'd expected, like a cross between a soccer ball and a football, but with some of the air let out.) All three kids sat on Hagrid's chair, grinning at how small it made them seem. We studied the posters on the wall, advertisements for the Quidditch world cup and wanted posters for the characters on the wrong side of authority. We wandered through the Great Hall and scoped out all the food on the banquet table.

It was fascinating, and lots of fun, and gave me some insight into how much detail goes into creating a movie world like Harry Potter's. It's ended in Seattle, but supposedly will be touring to other locations soon. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend going to see it.


Kinsey Holley said...

I wonder if it's coming to Houston. If so, I'd definitely take Diva and the Monsters.

Kate Davies said...

They're being really cagey about where it's going next ... the exhibition just ended in Seattle and the website only says "more locations soon!" But I think it's supposed to travel for at least a few more years. Definitely worth it!