Warner Bros. has done it again and provided avid Harry Potter fans with a deeper look inside the world of Harry Potter embedded in the bonus content of Harry Potter’s Wizard Collection. Released on September 7 in the U.S., this 31-disc set is the largest Harry Potter collector’s set that features the goodies we have seen previously released plus exclusive material no one has laid eyes on.
Having watched the extensive special features, as a Harry Potter fan, I couldn’t be more pleased.
The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 special features disc shows us brand new material from:
- Creating the world of Harry Potter, Part 7: Story
It starts with J.K. Rowling simply stating she knew they wouldn’t be able to make the movies scene by scene from the book because it would result in 12 hour movies. There is an interview between Rowling and Steve Kloves, the screen writer for the films, and he states what matters most to him while writing the films. They share a great hour-long conversation that reveals their personal discussions about the movie and their struggles. Many things are discussed including: why Rowling thought it was the best experience of her life, how she went from weary to relieved working with Kloves, who their favorite characters are, Harry Potter’s function as a whole, explained complexity of characters and the biggest challenge for both of them individually.
They also discuss how the actors did, including Rowling stating, “Rupert knocked it out brilliantly and then went to play darts for a bit.” And at the end of this segment, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson read a bit of their character from the books.
This disc also features content we have seen before from the DVDs and online releases. These should not be looked over as they are just as magical the second time you see them. To remind you of a few:
-David Heyman’s reluctance to split the seventh book into two movies
-Rupert talks about the seven Harrys and how they created them
-Dan says Rupert’s got a “sexy wiggle” in his walk
-Cast/Weasleys meet Bill for the first time
-Taking over Piccadilly Circus
-Rupert on destroying the horcrux
-A section on the Weasleys, “The New Guys” and “On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James”
-The trio’s running competition
-The frozen lake and Ron’s return
-Deleted scenes and trailers
Disc two encases much more never-before-seen footage including a massive amount of Rupert Grint material. The brand new “Behind the Story, Part 8: Growing Up” features our favorite trio as little tykes again and their transition into grown actors.
-Their first press conference
-“I’m scarily like my character.” Rupert Grint
-Tricks Dan and Rupert played on Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid)
-Fun of filming the Devil’s Snare
-A montage of Rupert’s giggle moments and reflection on Ron’s love life
-“Danger Ball” with Rupert and Dan (a personal favorite for fun and insight to off-camera action.) Also reveals Rupert’s dressing room/game room
-Underestimated sadness from actors at the film’s end
A special treat for all Harry Potter fans is the extended and delightfully interesting conversation between Daniel Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling. They discuss the characters, her view of them and the immense span that Harry Potter has created. Rowling talks about her involvement in the films, the first dominantly, they discuss the color of Dan’s eyes and Dan tells her the shocking fact that he turned out to be allergic to Harry’s green contacts. Rowling shares what she told to which actors about their characters, giving viewers the insight into how they tapped into the minds of their characters. They also talked about why she killed off specific characters and who almost didn’t make it. They also laughingly discuss how Rupert has spent his money “like we said we would have when we were seven.”
Another new feature premiered on this disc is extended version of Hogwarts’ Last Stand. It neatly showcases how each character gets their moment to shine and how simply bad ass Minerva McGonagall is.
This disc, like the previous, has all the detailed and enlightening special features we have been exposed to already, but are endlessly fun to watch. Like Rupert talking about his and Emma’s “romantic fall” onto the Great Hall’s rubble, his one bad fan experience, the goblins of Gringotts, the powerful and inspiring women of Harry Potter, The Kiss (which none of us can ever seem to get enough of), Neville’s battle makeup and all “The Quest” scenes fans uncovered online.
What's great about these two discs is how the directors, producers and all up-top individuals spoke to their part in creating the world and what it all meant personally. Their intuition and perception for the films and the effort that was put into filming/creating was incredible to see and learn. Producers' and directors' perspectives give viewers an idea of how meticulously everything was done and how rewarding it was to work within that world.
Lastly, the bonus disc is a world of newfangled discoveries for fans. “The Harry Potter You Never Met” introduces the stunt doubles for the actors and see inside their hard-hitting lives. The stunt doubles were there for much of the 7 Harrys scene, the dangerous battles/stunts and my personal favorite was Hagrid’s 6-foot-10 double.
The all new “Secrets Revealed! Hagrid” material was great to watch. We see Robbie Coltrane turn into a giant, have a double who is almost a foot taller than him, and when he is on stilts, Hagrid stand as 7-foot-6. He’s also got a body suit and a Hagrid head to wear.
Secrets are also unmasked for Quidditch and the varying suits/effects behind its magic. It was said the books left Quidditch up to the readers’ imagination, so the special effects team had it open to make it their own. The team and Chris Columbus wanted to make it feel like a real sport as much as possible. They show the camera movement, broom riding and lighting effects to make it all as authentic as they could.
The extended version of “When Harry Left Hogwarts” includes the emotional goodbye from the trio, cast and crew and the strangeness of the last day of filming. We all go on an emotional ride when Dan makes his goodbye speech and see the trio in one last embrace on set.
A great way to end the series is going back through and deciphering what moments were the best out of all the spectacular scenes in the films. The “50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments” is one of the best parts of this bonus DVD. We relive the best of the best times and not wanting to spoil all the fun in watching I’ll just let you in on a few: at number 50 – when we first meet the trio on the train. Nothing better than their introductions to each other on the Hogwarts Express. 40 – Ron and Harry’s argument/row in the tent. 30 – the epic battle between Snape and McGonagall. 20 – Ron defeats the horcrux. 10 – Platform 9 ¾ of course! Number two, when Voldemort dies is a scene we had been waiting six books and seven movies for. And I won’t reveal the number one greatest Harry Potter moment of all time, but I think we can all agree it is the most moving and magical moment in the series.
What made the world of Harry Potter so magical was all the effort put into the movies that doesn’t get the most credit: design. Stuart Craig, the designer of the films, said, “We started with a blank sheet,” which couldn’t be more true. We had only seen what was in our minds from the words in the books, but Stuart Craig brought it all to life with his imagination and devoted search for the perfect location and detail. He said it started with the real set and the magic would grow out of it; starting with an early sketch, to construction of models, to building the sets, to decorating and finally filming on them. The first thing Craig and Tim Burke collaboratively built and designed was Hogwarts’ exterior. They impressively spent years designing, comparing to real buildings and reworking the textures to get it right. The first sketches of Hogwarts and our favorite sets are included in the content for the Wizard Collection. It is a rare treat to see the tangible sketches and Craig’s thoughts on prints.
Next was decorating the sets to make them magical and this was done by Stephanie Macmillan. Her process was to sketch, get approval and go all out on the mood/vibe of the sets and scenes. We get to see her thought process on decorating the Burrow, Grimmauld Place, Malfoy Manor and much more. What made her decorations come to life were the graphics and, further, costumes.
Jany Temime, costume designer, enlightens us with her profound thought process on each character’s wardrobe. She starts with reading the script, knowing the background on the character, sketches the costume and gets it approved. She describes one simple dress for Ginny in such depth, viewers will get a whole new understanding on what specific costumes mean to their character and role in the film.
The graphics designed for the props and costumes are so detailed, the actors sincerely believed they were in Harry’s world. The filling details for the books, labels and little intricate things put the final touch for Harry Potter authenticity. In the Wizard Collection, we are presented with a booklet chock full of individual, color labels and specific graphics used in the films to make the magic come to life.
Everything about the Harry Potter Wizard's Collection will charm and enchant fans again and again with these special features. You get an exclusive insight into the world of Harry Potter, see how everything was put together with the most enthusiastic and creative people on the planet and you also get to experience it with the actors and crew who created this world just for you. Warner Bros. never let us down, and this collection is no exception to Harry Potter’s extraordinary excitement.