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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Do set tours and makings-of ruin the magic of movies for you?

Hogwarts interior Gryffindor common room

Want to visit Hogwarts? Soon, you’ll be able to… or as close as can be. From the London Evening Standard:

It is as if Harry Potter himself has waved his wand. As if by magic, the world of Hogwarts has been recreated so fans can feel as if they are walking in the boy wizard’s shoes.

Construction has finished on the studio tour of the film sets, allowing people to step into headmaster Dumbledore’s office at the wizard school and “shop” for wands and cauldrons in magical Diagon Alley.

Warner Bros, the company behind the films, today confirmed that all the major construction has been completed for the attraction, which is set to become a major draw when it opens near Watford at the end of March.

Visitors will be able to peek into Dumbledore’s office, complete with the Sorting Hat, walk the solid stone floor of the Great Hall and the Gryffindor common room, and see the cupboard under the stairs where Harry spent his time away from Hogwarts.

Stuart Craig, the Oscar-winning designer whose original sketches for some of the key locations will be included in the tour, said it was lovely that the original sets had been saved. “All the significant sets that served all of the movies have been rebuilt in this new situation,” he said.

Tickets are on sale now at the studio tour site.

In re of this, reader Kirk writes:

Now, I’m a movie nut and watch all the ‘Making of…’ bonuses I can on DVD and Blu-Ray, but I can’t help but think that maybe the movies are doing fans a disservice. How can movies be ‘magical’ (all of them, not just Harry Potter) if all the secrets of moviemaking are made public?

Even now, when I go to a movie at the theater I’m thinking “miniatures – green screen – CGI – …” instead of WOW! Is all this explanation and exposure improving or degrading the movie-going experience?

So here’s the question: Do set tours and makings-of ruin the magic of movies for you?

I don’t find that the illusion is destroyed when I know how an effect was created. Somehow, I am simultaneously able to hold in my mind the contradictory notions that what I’m watching is both entirely fabricated — and sometimes wondering at how it was fabricated — and also entirely real within its own context. (That is, assuming that the FX are good enough to be that convincing.) I realize that not everyone does that, or even wants to do that.


(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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