Showing posts with label harry potter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harry potter. Show all posts

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Dan Fogler Makes A Fantastic Appearance at MegaCon Orlando

In J.K. Rowling's spin-off series to Harry Potter, No-Maj Jacob Kowalski captured Potterheads' hearts in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Leading the franchise alongside Eddie Redmayne, Katharine Waterson and Alison Sudol, the rising star Dan Fogler made a fantastic appearance at MegaCon Orlando with a panel full of impersonations, tales from the set and questions about the series' future.

A big topic of conversation at the panel was arguably Fogler's most popular character to date from Fantastic Beasts. Fellow Potterheads delved deep into the wizarding world about his time at the theme parks, his own favorite baked goods, and so much more. Here's a general transcript of fans' questions from the panel that are not included in the videos below.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

(Spoiler-Free) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Movie Review
Warner Bros Studios Pictures
The importance of family, power of love, good vs evil – the Harry Potter series was a master at being a universal phenomenon. No matter where you came from or how you found the story, author J.K. Rowling offered a doorway into storytelling as easy as flicking your wand and make-believing you were a witch or wizard on your way to exploring her wizarding world. Ten years after her first series ended, and the start of a new chapter has begun, it's a little clearer with the Fantastic Beasts series that the story we loved is not as accessible as it used to be - whether you’re a die-hard fan of the series already or just curious about the franchise's future.

Following Newt on his adventures, the second Fantastic Beasts film travels to the Paris wizarding world where Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) promises freedom for his growing, loyal band of followers who want to be liberated from the shadows of the No-Maj/Muggle world. In trying to stop his rise to power, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) requests the help of his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Meeting in the middle are both foes and friends alike - Tina Goldstein (Katharine Waterston), Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), Leta Lestrange (Ezra Miller), Nagini (Claudia Kim), and Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) – who called to decide which side they are on.

To say the least, there’s a lot going on in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Where the previous film Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was a mere appetizer, its follow-up is the meaty hook of what’s ahead. With three more installments on the way, Rowling as screenwriter employs all the world-building and story-development she has at her disposal– introducing new characters, uniting or pitting familiar faces against each other, and trying to connect her novels to this other set of adventures. Her revered imagination and ability to weave her ideas together is the film’s best and worst assets. 

To the sequel’s long-awaited credit, there’s no way that you can’t not feel like this film gives you your fill of exploring the wizarding world. From returning to Hogwarts to seeing new avenues of the French wizarding world, every stone feels unturned as the intricacies of the impending wizarding war connects to all of the characters’ journeys and motivations. Unlike any of the Harry Potter films he’s directed before, David Yates sheds the constricted nature of his previous installments from Order of the Phoenix and beyond to make this film as gorgeously grim as it can be. He and cinematographer Philippe Rousselot creates fresh and interesting angles of the world we love that we haven’t seen before. With every fresh installment of the phenomenon, the escapism gets better and better from James Newton Howard’s ominous score to the glorious production design by Stuart Craig. Every time you think you’ve seen what this series has to offer, there’s more around the corner - that reason alone is what keeps fans coming back for more.

Story-wise, the film also has a lot of intricate moving parts with the characters and doesn't shy away from making this the darkest entry in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchise. Primarily, because of Grindelwald. Similar to Voldemort, he is a grave threat against the wizarding world, a master behind the curtain pulling all of the strings. The entire ensemble is in one way or another an outsider- they don’t fit in with their peers or society. Some are searching for their long-lost identity and validation (Credence, Leta, Nagini); others have weaknesses that can be exploited by Grindelwald or help them take a stronger stance against him (Newt, Tina, Queenie, Jacob, Theseus, Yusaf). And because of that, we truly get a  sense of how powerful he is by how he uses other characters as a pawn for his vision. As moviegoers, we're left to watch what Grindelwald is capable of, and root that our favorites don't fall into his cat-and-mouse schemes. As much as the film is darker in its tone and explores human nature more, there's also a lot of lightness to be adventurous, romantic, and charming. Unlike Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, this installment has a better balance of flipping between both styles. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Teaser Reaction

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Newt Dumbledore Poster
Photo Credit: Warner Bros Studios
Ya'll know how much I love Harry Potter, but if you dived into the penseive with me for a might be surprised to know my initial reaction to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them wasn't the rapturous adoration one might expect. Fast forward two years to today, and the first film has increasingly become one of my favorites of the series. I've watched it countless times to the point that I have it memorized, not to mention that I just want to hold Newt, Tina, Jacob, Queenie, and all of his magical creatures and never let them go.

So it's pretty exciting that after a long, controversial wait for more news about the sequel, the official teaser has finally been released! #WandsReady? Let's go! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

10 Favorite Memories of Harry Potter (so far)

Harry Potter's been alive and well for two decades. While celebrating the 20th anniversary, I started wondering what bewitching memories I've been lucky enough to experience since I was a kid. From reading the books for the first time to visiting the theme parks, it's been one magical journey so far. Let's take a dip into my own little pensieve with a tour of my ten favorite memories as a Potterhead. What are your favorite memories of Harry Potter so far? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Harry Potter Means to Me

On June 26th, 2017, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone turns officially turns twenty years old. As a devout Potterhead, I tried thinking back to the time when I was a kid during the very beginning of the series J.K. Rowling had created. I don't remember much about the nineties, and maybe that's a good thing, just by the lack of coherent trends that took place then. The memories that came to mind was just how much Harry Potter means to me, and the weird road it took from pre-fan to a hardcore one.

Unlike an almost entire generation, I didn't grow up with Harry Potter in a typical way - dressing up and queuing at bookstores, anxiously reading each new adventure, chatting and befriending other Hogwarts students on forums and websites until the new book was released. Ultimately, being apart of the fandom culture that is so much more well-known and celebrated today in the open.

As a pre-teen, my little town was very hush hush about the wizarding world. In classes, kids who were given permission by their parents to read the books were as odd as the ones who were forbidden. My classmates chatted about their favorite characters, but it all felt very off-limits; that even though it was allowed, it was still wrong. It didn't help matters much that the quiet protest at school was only amplified on the news with groups hailing the Rowling's fantasy saga as 'evil' and 'satanic' burned copies, and the increasing controversy that the series was recruited impressionable children into worshipping the occult.

Either from the library or my mother, somehow I managed to finagle Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. I don't remember reading them in secret, one after another, but being shy, I hardly ever vocalized what or how much I loved the books. If my mom took me to the mall, of which Warner Bros. used to have stores filled with Loony Toons, Animaniacs, and Harry Potter merchandise, I'd usually oggle everything knowing it was too expensive to buy but secretly wanting it anyways. She knew I was interested, but we didn't really know how much by a long shot.

Then, the one time I really expressed my love of Harry, everything changed.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gilderoy Lockhart Chocolate Frog Card Reveal

Gilderoy Lockhart Chocolate Frog Card
One of my favorite things to do on magical trips to Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando is to collect chocolate frog cards - the snacks Harry and his friends enjoy on their trips to Hogwarts and Honeydukes.

Recently, I attended A Celebration of Harry Potter, where Universal Studios revealed new merchandise for their theme parks. One of the items I couldn't wait to get was the Gilderoy Lockhart chocolate frog card!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017
For the past few years, Universal Studios has held A Celebration of Harry Potter event at their theme parks in Florida. For an entire weekend, wizards and witches celebrate the Harry Potter books and movies at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure through demonstrations, Q&A’s and exhibits.

I’ve been very lucky over the past few years to attend, and this year was no exception. Though I was only able to attend one day and aimed to pack in as much as possible, the event is held over three days. If I could’ve apparated to both parks I would’ve, but chose to stay at Universal Orlando to visit two of their expos and a cast Q&A.

The day started off early with getting line for the first expo. Inside, Scholastic, Warner Bros Studio Tour, the Harry Potter Exhibition, and MinaLima had individual exhibits.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016) casts a mediocre spell

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them movie review
Photo Credit: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them / Warner Bros. Pictures
Five years ago the Harry Potter film franchise ended. I would've never believed then J.K. Rowling would be at it again. But her endless imagination apparates again to the big screen with an adaptation of the Hogwart's fictional textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Based in the 1920s, magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) briefly travels to New York City while en route to Arizona. Unaware of the U.S. wizarding government's ban on magical beasts, Scamander's creatures are in danger when they're accidentally set loose. No-Maj - American equivalent to Muggle - Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger), a former Auror Tina Goldstein (Katharine Waterston) and her sister Queenie (Allison Sudol) team up with the British native to catch his critters before the wizarding world is exposed.

Veteran Harry Potter director David Yates returns to helm this next franchise with Rowling tackling the role of screenwriter. By reputation, this duo have some fair expectations to live up to but also the freedom to start from scratch. Introducing a new collection of characters into a familiar setting is no easy feat, and together they conjure an enjoyable flick.

Mainly we ride the Hufflepuff coattails of bashful and awkward Scamander. He's naturally more comfortable with animals than people, but instead of fully succumbing to a fear of not fitting in, he protects his unique "beasts" from being abused or mistreated by other wizards. His creatures are absolutely adorable (GIVE ME A NIFFLER AND BOW TRUCKLE NOW PLEASE), and the story lovingly explores his struggling relationship with humanity.

Along with him for the ride are two witches and a No-Maj. Career gal Tina Goldstein might do anything to get back into the President's good graces but her doubts against Scamander are transformed by his sweet but oblivious nature. Her vivacious sister Queenie uses her telepathic gifts to help, and they all develop a close friendship with Jacob (beautifully played by Folger). Each character is connected by the world ostracizing them. Their humility, warmth, and kindness unites them to face mayhem and create a little mischief together.

But a few other minor characters bewitched my interest a little bit more. No-Maj Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) runs a horrific crusade against witches and wizards. She takes advantage of impoverished children by invoking fear of evil and witchcraft to earn their trust and implement her beliefs. One of her children, a traumatized teenager Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), is secretly taken advantage of by a mysterious wizard (Colin Farrell). Morton's intimidating presence, alongside Farrell's dark intentions, creates quite a startling difference from Scamander's humorous escapades. As a trio, they effectively stand-out, especially Miller. Their scenes could've been a fascinating movie of it's own.

Like the Harry Potter films, the locations are almost characters themselves. The production splendidly swoops us into another dimension. Costume designer Colleen Atwood never fails to create beautiful wardrobes befitting everyone's personality. Veteran Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig creates wonderful to disturbing landscapes with the dark Barebone house to the opulent Magical Congress of the United States, and Tina and Queenie's homely apartment. While there might be a bit of CGI explosion to cover Scamander's creatures, every tiny production element lends a great deal to how this era of magic looks and feels.

Unfortunately, the gamble to make this movie a prequel and give Scamander is his own adventure doesn't come without a few problems. Some of it exists merely in our Muggle world such as controversies over white-washing, Rowling's distortion of Native American legends, and news of Johnny Depp's casting. For the movie itself, Rowling creates intriguing characters but she doesn't fully flesh out the story. The bulk of the plot even reminded me of the super-disorganizedSuicide Squad. 'A band of misfits tracks down unjustifiable threats in the city, only to be thwarted by an unstoppable superpower who is manipulated by an unsuspecting antagonist.' The plot between the two is inherently the same, just a bit more fantastical for the latter.

Fantastic Beasts welcomes us back to the wizarding world, but its intricate details often contradict each other. This mostly stems from Rowling toying with allegory and segregation, but not firmly establishing them - either as obstacles that should come into play against Scamander or for the xenophobia she touches upon. One-half of the story centers on her rules of both societies, and the other half is a pure delightful escape. They often give the impression of being different movies instead of complimenting each other.

Out of everything, David Yates might've delivered one of his better directorial work for the Potter series, even if it has pacing issues. There's nothing not to love about Rowling's new band of misfits and villains. The only issue is that the movie tries to do its own thing, but allow her to drop hints for the future. Which even being fully aware that more movies are on the way, it's a slight shame this doesn't feel complete. As much as I'll probably revisit this spectacular world again in the future - inevitably, it is still Harry Potter - this tale struggled to be the spellbinding cinematic return I anticipated.

Rating: ★★☆
Have you seen Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them? What did you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pottermore Releases New Quiz: What's Your Patronus?

Pottermore Patronus Quiz
As far back as Pottermore's old beta-mode in 2011 for their initial interactive launch, the site has been promised a Patronus quiz for young witches and wizards. Finally, FINALLY, our dreams came true because Pottermore released a Patronus quiz.

Surprisingly, taking the test was a little emotional for me - not almost as emotional for me when I took the Sorting Hat quiz and was literally praying to the powers-that-be I ended up in Gryffindor ('cause I always was sorted in Gryffindor).

Growing up, I always thought of my patronus as my dog Lola, a Jack Russell Terrier. As my best friend who was almost like a therapy dog for me, she was by my side for twelve years (half of my whole life) before passing away last year. She is still a source of so many happy memories, but like many important parts of our pasts, my time with her now has a subsiding grief over a lost companion.

My only other consideration for a Patronus was a duck at one point. Only because one of my hobbies is to swim as much as possible.

It was good a reminder that a Patronus can change over the years, so it wasn't very realistic to have a major attachment to any result. Eventually, I put my big girl Hogwarts robes on and went for it like Harry trying to catch a golden snitch.

This was my result:

I was a little surprised by the quiz, to be honest. At first it tells you to be calm and think of your happiest memory. Which kooky and geeky me made me smile of my dog or swimming or reading. But then the prompts are timed so I have to choose quickly or it will move to the next. I was asked to choose leaf, blade or thorn, hope, trust or love, who or why, sweet or salt, mind, heart or spirit..

My result was a robin. Pottermore doesn't include more info about the kindred animal's meanings, so I dug around. Robins as symbols represent (to people) putting dramas behind them, seeking joy, reveling in a song, and look for new beginnings for growth. A part of me almost wants a hippogriff-like patronus that's a bit of everything: half-dog, half-duck, and half-robin. but a robin suits me too.

What were your results? Are you happy with your Patronus? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Friday, August 5, 2016

(Book Review) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book cover
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is finally out. It's the official eighth installment of J.K. Rowling's fantastical world as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger pass the wand off to their children's experiences at Hogwarts. The book is a companion script to the play that will be begin on the London West End.

On Harry Potter's thirty-sixth birthday, the special rehearsal edition of the play was published. Of course, I lined up for the midnight release party and was super excited to be apart of the phenomenon once again. Even though we're encouraged to "keep the secrets", the play is public now and I couldn't help but want to share my thoughts.

WARNING BEYOND THIS POINT - this review contains spoilers.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wizard Hair, Don't Care

It wouldn't be a surprise if fans were divided into different corners as the expansion of the wizarding world continues: some don't care about any new developments, many rightfully feel ostracized, others have trepidation but are still excited.

I would be lying if at some point I didn't feel all three over the past several years. (After all I hope I don't have the emotional range of a teaspoon.)

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them hitting theaters? Yes, please. a part of my soul is already standing in line at the movie theater.

Pottermore updates? haven't cared about it so much since the show was re-vamped the website as the wordpress encyclopedia J.K. Rowling promised us all those years ago.

Harry Potter and Cursed Child play? I'd be excited to see the play in person, but a nervousness creeps in with the book. Did I really want to see more of Harry's life post-Voldemort? Will the story live up to this wait we've had all these years? to the five star reviews for the stage production?

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was more excited for the midnight release party than the book itself..

My journey with Harry is a complicated one:

Like all the other kids I read Harry Potter growing up as the books were released. But on my way to reading Prisoner of Azkaban, super conservative relatives shamed my love of the series and convinced me it was wrong to read them.

Not only was my relatives against the series, convinced I go to hell if I continued on my way (yes, they told an eleven year old this) but the books were also a controversy in my neighborhood.

At school kids were divided into those who could be allowed to read them, and those who couldn't, whose parents were concerned about the magical and occult aspects.

On the news I saw people burning the books and exclaiming J.K. Rowling was a witch trying to convert children into the occult.

The protests of the series both close to home and the world via the news, my love of the series scared me and so I stopped reading. This change wasn't something I told anyone about. From my brief description above about my family, it's pretty obvious that my family was quite dysfunctional.

My yearning for the the series became something I tried to hide very well. Every year I pined to go to the book and movie releases. I wanted to catch up by checking out the library books but felt they were permanently reserved in the restricted section. The trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince still stirs up certain emotions because of how much I wanted to see that movie.

I really didn't get into Harry Potter until the last movie was being released. Like if there was ever a definition in a fangirl dictionary of being the last person to jump on a fanwagon like Harry Potter, it would me: trying to cram seven movies in a month before the last movie release, buying the books after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two and taking my time to read them, feeling both elated and alone that the whole phenomenon passed without me.

As for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child itself, it can't necessarily be judged by it's spoilers but given that some of these spoilers are true, well, as Hagrid says, "What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does". For a lot of fans, this may not be the 8th book some desired in The Mirror of Erised once upon a time.

Cursed Child might pre-emptively sound like a mess, but wizard hair, don't care, Dream come true, muggles! I can't wait to start the 8th book and then possibly, immediately regret my decision. I'll be back with my thoughts in a few days....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ranking the Best and Worst Every Flavor Beans

One of the best things about being a fangirl is when food, places, or merchandise come to life straight out of a book, movie, or television show.

Every Harry Potter fan has wanted to live out fantasies from J.K. Rowling's series - receiving a letter from Hogwarts, having the wand choose us, and so many other things. We've all definitely wanted to snack on Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans from Honeydukes. When I got my hands on some Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (truly from HoneyDukes!), it was pretty freakin' magical.

What's fun about Every Flavor Beans is that you never know what flavors you're gonna get. I'm not sure if the manufacturers have a quota for certain flavors to be in every package, or if it's just random. Mine had at least one of every flavor, so I felt very lucky.

(If you're looking to try some of these out for yourself or haven't visited Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks yet, you can also find them here!)

For my first try, I picked random ones and tried guessing the flavor. Let me tell you, I didn't think a jelly bean could get as good as Marshmallow and then as bad as Vomit or Dirt. Gradually I ranked the best and worst, and thought it'd be fun to share my thoughts below.
Harry Potter instagram

Initial Thoughts: 

Banana - Sorry Minions! It's not a good flavor, no matter what incarnation it takes.
Black Pepper - Pretty spicy!
Blueberry - Strongest flavor next to cinnamon and soap but tastes GOOD.
Booger -  Doesn't have a specific taste but feels slimier the longer it lasts in your mouth. UGH.
Candyfloss - Cotton candy with a hint of floral-scented perfume. Nice!
Cherry - Already my favorite flavor, so it's hard to not love this. Tastes exactly like cherry.
Cinnamon - Maybe my tongue is just sensitive but it's HOT! so so HOT!
Dirt - Imagine garden manure as a taste. Yep, that's it.
Earthworm - Doesn't taste too different from dirt, maybe slightly less stronger.
Earwax - It's deceptive to tell Earwax apart from Sherbert Lemon. Their colors are pretty similar. It's surprisingly crunchy.
Grass - Pretty sharp flavor, kinda like the smell of freshly mowed grass.
Green Apple - A little disappointed. It's not as sour as you would expect.
Marshmallow - Like a fluffy mini-smores you can pop into your mouth anytime. COOL!
Rotten Egg - Actually, sweeter than expected. I thought it would be muskier.
Sausage - A little difficult to tell Sausage apart from Dirt. Simple BBQ flavor that's not overwhelming.
Sherbert Lemon - I can see why it's Dumbledore's favorite. Sweet and not too sour.
Soap - YUCK. NASTY. Actually made my stomach churn.
Tutti-Fruitti - Fruitilicious with a hint of bubble-gum, but not very memorable.
Vomit - ABSOLUTE WORST. Exactly like bile.
Watermelon - Some tasted like fresh watermelon, others tasted warm and rotten.

Official Rankings:

Best: Marshmallow, Cinnamon, Blueberry, Cherry
Personal faves: Marshmallow, Candy Floss
A-Okay:  Banana, Sherbert Lemon, Sausage, Tutti Frutti, Watermelon
Most Creative: Bogie and Dirt. Bogie doesn't have a strong flavor but creative texture. Dirt is right on with its flavor (I'd imagine anyways).
Could Be Stronger: Green Apple, Rotten Eggs, Earwax, Grass
Worst: Vomit, Soap, and Dirt. Interesting to try, but all made me absolutely nauseous.

Have you tried Every Flavor Beans?
What's your favorite or least favorite flavor?