The Harry Potter Experience

Wizards Chess
Wizard’s Chess Pieces

Back in January I was lucky enough to visit ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ for a second time, the Warner Bro’s studio based in Watford is the perfect day out for all Potter fans. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to now write up my studio experience being that I really wish to go again!

The outside of the tour has large statues of the infamous wizards chess which is perfect for pictures especially if it isn’t too busy and you manage to get one taken in front of it! The tickets are quite small so could be easy to loose and feature the characters, it’s a surprise which character you will receive as my first ticket has a Mandrake on it and my second has Dobby which I was so pleased to get. The tickets currently cost £30 but will be going up to £31 after July.

Harry Potter TicketOnce you get into the building you are instantly in the presence of Harry Potter props before the tour even begins! Large character canvases are jotted around the walls as well as the Weasley car hanging from the ceiling, before entering the actual tour you also get to see the famous cupboard under the stairs! The great thing about the tour is that you can take as many pictures as you want and its mostly self guided minus a small talk at the beginning illustrating the success of the Harry Potter franchise across the world which is really interesting.

Harry Potter Great HallThe tour is only one way so once you’ve finished you cant go back unfortunately! It’s split into 3 parts with the first being the Great Hall which is the perfect place to start, again as many pictures as you want can be taken here but of course you cant touch anything! After the Great Hall comes many props and costumes from the film which seem so unreal, it really is a mind blowing experience and you may just be shocked at how many props were actually made for the films!

PropsHarry Potter GraphicsOne of my favourite parts is seeing all the graphic design elements, the newspapers and letters just look amazing and again it’s so unreal to see them in person! It really does make you think about all the hard work that goes into film making! You have to make sure you walk around the tour at a good pace so that you don’t miss out on anything and I would recommend taking as many pictures as you can because it makes great memories.Acceptance Letter

Tom Riddles Grave

The second element of the tour takes you outside where you can drink Butter beer (I didn’t personally like it) visit Tom Riddle’s Grave a part which I again really enjoyed and of course take a trip to Privet Drive where it all began! There’s also a little picnic area so you can have lunch or just a quick break before visiting the third and final part of the tour which features Diagon Alley, animatronics, art work and of course the model of Hogwarts!

Hogwarts In The Snow
Hogwarts In The Snow

The moment you reach the beautiful Hogwarts model will melt any fans heart, it’s quite large and has great attention to detail, you can actually walk around the model so you can take photographs from every angle which I really do recommend as you can get some amazing pictures from this, sadly once you reach the model the end of the tour is near but the exit is through the gift shop which has some wonderful memorabilia. 

Chocolate FrogsOn the first occasion I only purchased a Ministry of Magic Mug for about £10 due to have very little money then (student life) but on the second visit I purchased a feather quill lollipop for about £2, Lord Voldemort’s Wand £25 and a Chocolate Frog for £8, don’t be out off by the price of the frog as it features a Wizards card just like in the film and the chocolate frog is actually quite large! I haven’t actually eaten my frog but my card was Godric Gryffindor.  I would fully recommend this tour and gift shop as it’s a great experience! Just ensure you have plenty of money for the gift shop as it can be quite expensive if you buy quite a few things.

Voldemort's WandPlease note that all photo’s were personally taken by myself.

Disney Goes Live Action

Beauty & The BeastAfter the incredible success of Maleficent comes the news that Beauty and the Beast is also set for the live action format, Bill Condon director of Breaking Dawn (Twilight) is said to have signed up for the project. Also up for the live action reinvention is Cinderella (2015) directed by Kenneth Branagh and staring Lily James (Wrath of the Titans)  Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau as well as The Little Mermaid.

CinderellaBeauty and the Beast is such a stunning animation so I personally don’t feel the need for it to become a live action feature, ive also seen theatrical versions of it such as a fully musical based one and a more dramatic piece without the musical factor and both were thrilling in their own ways, they weren’t trying to replicate the classic Disney version.  A postmodern version of the classic fairy tale has already been presented in the form of Beastly staring former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens.

Maleficent may have been a big success but this doesn’t necessarily mean that all future live action films will be, Disney may just be seeing dollar signs when it comes to the concepts of this and I hope that the production is actually well thought out, it’s great for classic Disney to continue to be recognised by newer generations but re-developing the stories aren’t necessary.


*images from Google

Maleficent Movie Review

MaleficentAngelina Jolie was born to play Maleficent

Having been excited for this film for months I can finally say it was worth the wait, the last live action I recall was Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton) which sadly left me disappointed but Maleficent was magnificent. This re-telling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty changes your perspective of the dark fairy Maleficent, she isn’t evil like she was originally portrayed, in fact she is quite complex and has a softer side to her.

Starting off in the Moors divided by two kingdoms, those of the fairies and magical creatures and those of the humans we meet a young Maleficent who is graceful and curious, she encounters Stefan a human who has very little and wishes to one day rule the kingdom, the friendship blossoms and soon love blooms. The humans invade the peaceful kingdom and Maleficent becomes the protector of the land, this prompts the dying King to request the death of her and whichever loyal servant does this will rule the kingdom after he is deceased.

The film is visually stunning and borrows elements from the original Disney film and adds it’s on unique twist to it, Maleficent isn’t the Villain we all grew up thinking she was, like all humans she put her trust into the wrong person who betrays her. Unfortunately this betrayal see’s her become bitter which is why Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) is on the receiving end of this and of course has the infamous curse cast on her.

Elle FanningAurora is portrayed brilliantly by Elle Fanning and like a young Maleficent is curious of the magical kingdom and life, a funny part in the film is when she mistaking thinks Maleficent is her fairy godmother, as I do not wish to spoil the film I will leave out most of the details but if your a fan of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty then you already know the fate of young Princess Aurora. 

The only part I didn’t like about this film was the three magical Pixies/Fairies (named as both within the film) who are there to protect Aurora, as they are quite annoying but luckily they don’t feature throughout the film in large doses. The three are played by Leslie Manville (Flittle), Imelda Staunton (Knotgrass) and Juno Temple (Thistlewit)

Director Robert Stromberg cant be faulted for this film and all Disney fan’s will love his take on the classic, if you read other reviews then they may well compare it to Frozen which is irrelevant and completely different so trust your own instincts on the film and you too may enjoy it as much as I have. With it’s twists and beautiful scenery the film is a must see for all Disney and Fairy Tale fans alike.

I watched the 2D version of the film so cannot comment on the 3D version but personally I don’t think it needed any, it was magical enough and the story was well written that it didn’t need extra effect to carry it.

Film Rating 5/5MaleficentWhy not check out my Top 5 Disney Villains?

*images from Google

Top 5 Disney Villains

Disney VillainsWith the soon to be release of Maleficent (May 28th) I thought I’d celebrate with a post dedicated to my top 5 favourite villains! It’s no surprise that Disney and Pixar has a wide range of villains to choose from so it wasn’t an easy choice, maybe your choices will be different so leave a comment with your top 5!

Gaston Beauty and the Beast5) Gaston- Beauty and the Beast

Kicking off at number 5 is Gaston, the arrogant anti-protagonist from Beauty and the Beast, on his failed quest to marry Belle we see his true colours. His manipulation and evil plans to have Belles father locked away in an asylum is one of many reasons why he is unlikeable, he sees Belle as a ‘trophy’ wife and tries to harm the beast so naturally he has to be villain no.5!   

Hades Hercules4) Hades- Hercules

God of the Underworld Hades from Hercules has always been a favourite of mine, Pain and Panic also contribute to this due to not being fully committed to the evil plans. Hades isn’t a very good villain, how can he be when his brother is Zeus right? but his jealous behaviour and unleashing of the Titan’s showcases some great monsters for Hercules to defeat in his quest to be re-united with his father.

Lotso Huggin Bear3) Lotso- Toy Story 3

This cute little villain that smells of strawberries contributed to the brilliant but incredibly heart breaking Toy Story 3, Lotso wasn’t always bad mind you which is why I think he makes a great villain, it’s the betrayal from his owner that made Lotso turn bad. Another reason he makes my list is because he is a cute pink bear, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Disney Store bear which still has the strawberry scent! It just goes to show not all bad guys look scary.

Scar Lion King2) Scar- The Lion King 

One of the saddest moments it Disney has to be when Mufasa dies, so it’s only natural that Scar scores high in the list. Again like Hercules jealousy plays a part in this story. Be Prepared has to be one of the best villain songs within Disney and is one of my favourites from The Lion King which is why Scar takes the number 2 spot, it also helps that he is scary and distinctively looks different to the other lions with their golden manes.

Maleficent1) Maleficent- Sleeping Beauty

It comes to no surprise that my all time favourite villain is Maleficent, her scary appearance and wickedness contributes to many factors that makes her a powerful villain, her cunning plans and evil minions are what make her wickedly evil. Although her minions aren’t as clever as she’d like she still proves that she doesn’t need them in order to get what she wants. Also the fact that she turns into a large dragon is quite terrifying when you’re a child. 


*images from Google