[Show music begins]
Noah Fried: Hello, and welcome to Episode 36 for Alohomora! for June 22, 2013. This is our live show. We’ve just watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m Noah Fried.
Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.
Caleb Graves: I’m Caleb Graves.
Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And guys, our fan guest this week is going to be all of you. So there are two ways you can get ahold of us. First, by phone, and note that this is not a free call, but people in the US should probably be okay. The number is 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287). And the second way to contact us is by logging on to Skype, and this is best for international listeners. You can shoot us a call at AlohomoraMN. If you don’t get through the first time, keep trying. There’s a lot of people trying to reach us at the moment.
Laura: Okay. So obviously, like what Noah just said, and all of you guys have been following along, we just finished watching The Prisoner of Azkaban, and we’re going to talk a lot about that, but before we begin on that, we’re going to talk about some of the comments on our discussion from last week, which was our book wrap-up of Prisoner of Azkaban. So this first comment comes from She Floo Like A Madman, and it says,
“I totally agree with that comment that Dumbledore brought Lupin in because he knew he could help Harry – with Lupin’s family history, his specific expertise with Dark creatures, he was always going to be the go-tovguy for a year with Dementors. Since Lupin hasn’t ‘met’ Harry before, getting him to Hogwarts would be an ideal opportunity for them to bond, thus ensuring that DD has yet another man around who will be dedicated to protecting James'[s] son…”
Caleb: It’s pretty logical.
Laura: Yeah, I don’t think we… didn’t we…? We talked about, obviously, the fact that he’d be teaching about Dark creatures, but I don’t… did we talk about the fact that Dementors would be on the premise of the school? That that’s why Dumbledore would want Lupin there?
Kat: No, but that makes sense. I like this logic. That’s good.
Laura: Yeah. Okay, well, this next comment comes from SaiyanGirl, and it says,
which is the nickname we gave Pettigrew.
“… I doubt Voldemort giving Pettigrew the silver hand affected his ability to transform. I just think he would’ve ended up with a silver paw, which would most likely make the other rats mistrust him. He’d also be more conspicuous, so it would kind of lose the point for as far as Voldemort would be concerned.
When Peter went to Albania in search of his master he didn’t have the silver hand yet, and thus he could complete his search as a rat.”
Noah: Laura, two points about that. One: It’s not “SAI-an Girl,” it’s “SAY-an Girl.”
Noah: If you’d watched Dragon Ball Z as a kid, you would know that. Anybody in the chat watch Dragon Ball Z? All right, good. Let me know later when it catches up with your comments. But to…
[Kat and Laura laugh]
Kat: Yeah, they’re on a little bit of a delay.
Noah: They are, they are. But to the Silverpaw point, it’s interesting that you think the rats would mistrust him because of the silver hand. I thought they might come to worship him, SaiyanGirl, because he’s highly different. And probably he’s smarter than the other rats because…
Laura: He’s the leader.
Noah: He’d be the leader because he’s a human on the inside. And they’d just sort of gravitate to that, or they’d see there’s something about him. Or maybe they would mistrust him because of the silver paw. I don’t know.
Laura: So what was the correct pronunciation? “SAY-an Girl”?
Noah: Yeah, it’s “SAY-an Girl” because that’s a reference to the fact that Goku is a Saiyan. He becomes a Super Saiyan.
Laura: All right. [laughs]
Laura: Okay, and this next comment comes from cassandra1447. This was in response to me saying that maybe Voldemort would have been a good… could have taken a teaching job. Everyone disagreed. [laughs] It said,
“Voldemort had murdered and created Horcruxes by this point…would you want that type of person teaching your kids?
“I do not for one second think Voldemort would have been satisfied with the DADA post. He would have used it to build his influence/army and to pursue his ultimate goals of pureblood domination. He might have been more subtle in how he pursued his goals, but I don’t think he would have stopped. He might have used his post to charm and influence the school’s governors and Ministry officials, maybe even arranged for an ‘accident’ to befall Dumbledore and get himself appointed Headmaster.
“Frankly, past the first murder, I believe Voldemort finding redemption is wishful thinking. Dumbledore absolutely made the right decision in refusing Voldemort a place at Hogwarts.”
Caleb: That’s legit.
Kat: I completely agree with that.
Laura: I take it back. I was glass half full. I thought everyone deserves a chance but whatever.
Kat: Yeah, Voldemort does not. He does not deserve a chance.
Caleb: Ain’t nobody got time for that. So…
Kat: Exactly. [laughs]
Caleb: All right.
Noah: I mean, Laura, you don’t think there…? You thought that he was actually going to change his ways just through teaching. And it’s probably true. He wanted to…
Laura: I thought… I mean, not totally, but I think because of how lost he was and how he didn’t have a family, I thought that there was a possibility that if he remained at Hogwarts forever and had a purpose and a place and stuff, I think he could have possibly made a turn around.
Noah: I think there’s a small part of him that really, really wanted to do it. Not only to get followers but because it was his dream.
Noah: To just be a teacher and do that. Yeah.
Kat: I mean, everyone in the chat is agreeing with the comment, so…
Laura: Well, fine.
Caleb: Pretty solid.
Kat: Except for one person said that Voldemort would be a great teacher, but they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Laura: I’m not saying that he’d be a great teacher. [laughs] There’s no evidence that supports he’d be a great teacher. I think that he could possibly, possibly, just a little bit of a chance have…
Noah: He’s… could imagine he would be a great teacher if he’d gotten it.
Laura: … made some personal improvement when put in a good environment. Whatever.
Noah: No, probably not.
Caleb: [laughs] Settled. All right, well, last week you guys – or last episode – also talked about, as we usually do, the book covers from all the different versions, which I was personally really sad to miss because it’s my favorite part. But a couple of comments that you guys sent in… one from LilyRose on the forums, talking about the French cover. She says,
“I am French and unoffended! I think the French covers were much more marketed towards children rather than reaching both audiences, I don’t know many French adults who actually read the Harry Potter books.”
How dare they.
“Also, I find the French translation very childish, especially with the names of houses and Hogwarts, so perhaps the cover fits better that way!”
Laura: Hmm. I mean, I always liked the French covers, even though they are kind of childish. They almost look like they’re drawn in crayon, sort of.
Kat: Yeah, that’s what I was saying without being… without hating on the French. Yeah.
Laura: I don’t think they’re baby-ish.
Caleb: I’m always…
Laura: I think…
Caleb: The French are always my least favorite.
Noah: Be careful. It’s a live show. Anybody from France in the chat?
[Kat and Laura laugh]
Caleb: I’ll survive. I have nothing against the French personally. I just don’t like the French covers.
Noah: I mean, it makes sense.
Kat: Ellendawn in the chat says that they missed you on the covers episode, Caleb.
Caleb: Aww. Thank you. I’m back now.
Noah: He is back.
[Caleb, Kat, and Noah laugh]
Caleb: So the next comment comes from Saiyangirl on the forums, and it says,
“Regarding the Dutch cover, I believe I heard Kat say that it was Harry riding Buckbeak. It’s not; if you look closely you’ll actually see it’s Sirius with his long, matted hair. He’s also in a grey, slightly torn prisoner outfit. They were really going for ‘the prisoner of Azkaban’ breaking free here. It would’ve been so amusing to see them adopt that as a nickname for Sirius, although it might only have been Snape doing that in OotP or something… ‘Oh, look, it’s the prisoner of Azkaban. A prisoner in his own house… Pity.'”
Kat: All right, thanks for pointing that out. Obviously, that was one of the ones that we had a very bad photo on, so yeah.
Caleb: Yeah. I went and tried to look at a better version, and yeah, that’s definitely right, which is really interesting because I think if Saiyangirl wouldn’t have pointed this out, I would have probably assumed it was Harry also because you don’t really think twice about it.
Kat: Yeah. It makes sense that it’s Sirius since…
Kat: … Hermione would be with Harry if it were Harry.
Caleb: Right. Okay, the next comment comes from Ali Wood from the forums, and it says,
“I have to agree about the American covers; for me, they will always be ‘the’ covers. Though as soon as possible, I’m picking up a complete set with the original British covers!
“I believe it was Laura who was saying that the American covers give too much of the book away, but I think that’s one of the reasons I love them – there are all these little details thrown in that you have no idea about until you read the book! I find it genius that the artist was able to incorporate so many details in there, many of them hidden.”
Laura: Well, I mean, to me… I mean, I… that’s totally a valid opinion. To me, it’s just… it’s a bit overkill. It’s kind of like “how many plot points can we stick in one cover?” rather than just picking some theme. Like I had said, Japan’s was definitely my favorite just because it’s a lot more subtle, and we actually… we didn’t talk about the British Signature Editions, which also kind of just do one scene, but I’m definitely much more a fan of subtlety than just throwing… or one scene without showing…
Kat: Well, that’s why I like the Hungarian covers so much because they’re insane. They’re awesome.
Laura and Noah: Yeah.
Caleb: Yeah. I agree.
Caleb: The last comment we have is Lupin13 on the forums, and it says,
“The Iran one is definitely the most random with all the animals at the bottom, especially the tiger. Maybe in some weird way the tiger is meant to represent Crookshanks. He is an orange cat, and the tiger is a big orange cat. Though if that were the case why they would make him a tiger is quite beyond me.”
Laura: I actually – when I had originally seen this cover – did think of it, and then when we were discussing this on the show, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the… what conclusion I had drawn, so thank you for this person for remembering it. But that being said, that’s crazy that the tiger’s supposed to represent Crookshanks.
Kat: Wait. Wait. The tiger is Crookshanks?
Laura: Well, remember there was a tiger, and we had no idea what the heck the tiger could possibly be?
Kat: That’s ridiculous.
Laura: Well, it’s an orange cat. [laughs] What else comes close?
Caleb: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s ridiculous that that’s the comparison. I agree. I don’t think there’s anything else it could be.
Noah: It’s not the Whomping Willow.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Noah: It’s not. It’s probably…
Kat: No, it’s not the Whomping Willow. That’s true.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Caleb and Noah: So…
Noah: So is it time for the next phase of the discussion?
Kat: I believe it is. The main reason that we are here. Yeah.
Noah: Why are we here?
Kat: Because we just watched Prisoner of Azkaban, and we’re going to talk about it. Right?
Noah: Yes. Yes, we are. Let me start this off by saying that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [is] easily my favorite movie of all of them, even after Deathly Hallows and all the crazy special effects. Everything. I just like the sense of narrative. It’s just the best movie.
Laura: So maybe we should do that right off the bat: establish what team everyone’s on of…
Noah: That’s right.
Laura: [laughs] … where they stand overall – just real quick – on Prisoner of Azkaban. So Noah… it’s his favorite.
Kat: Yeah, Noah loves it. I’m Team Indifferent. I…
Kat: … like it as…
Kat: … a standalone movie. Hate it as an adaptation. How’s that?
Caleb: Yeah, I actually feel the same way as Kat. Alfonso Cuarón is one of my favorite directors. His films are absolutely stunning, but… which is why I think this movie is amazing as a film but – agreed – absolutely terrible as an adaptation.
Laura: I feel slightly more harshly toward it just because I think visually, yeah, it’s gorgeous with everything with the Whomping Willow Alfonso-style and stuff, but in general, I just… as an adaptation, I hate it, but I also don’t particularly like it as a movie either. I think it looks pretty, but… there [are] a lot of redeeming things about it, but… also, Prisoner of Azkaban… [for] a lot of people it’s their favorite book, and that’s why they have so many feelings about this. Prisoner is not even close to my favorite book, so I don’t have a lot of… care that much about it.
Kat: Right. And we have a caller on the line. Caller, what’s your name?
Caller: Oh, wow. This is HPAlison.
Kat: Hi, HPAlison. How are you?
Caller: I could say my name is Stephanie or Amanda or something, but I just wasn’t that creative. I just said my screen name.
Kat: [laughs] It’s okay. What do you want to say? What’s your comment?
Caller: I was calling to talk about how I did not like this movie at first, but it’s grown on me.
Caller: I think it’s appreciating… because Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book, but it’s appreciating the movie versus the book, separating the two of them.
Caleb: That’s very fair.
Kat: So what was it that made you come to like the movie?
Caller: A lot of it, actually, is because of David Thewlis and Gary Oldman and just seeing… they’re really not in the movie for that many scenes overall, but it’s just they just really shaped it. Even though I hate the way that… I don’t like David Thewlis’s… Lupin’s mustache drives me crazy.
Caleb: It took me a long time to get over that as well. [laughs]
Laura: To get over what?
Caleb: David Thewlis and his mustache.
Laura: No, I love it.
Noah: Yeah. I love it, too.
Caller: But I love the scene where – it’s really from the books – Harry was telling Lupin that… “Oh, the map lied because I saw Peter Pettigrew on it,” and I love Lupin’s look. “That’s just not possible.” It’s a side that we don’t see in the books. It’s almost like we’re seeing Lupin’s perspective, for just a second there, that we never got to see in the book.
Kat: That is true. And I, too, am a huge fan of Gary Oldman and David Thewlis. I love them. Amazing.
Laura: Yeah, and it’s really for… as much as we criticize the director, he had to make two really important casting decisions here. These two characters are fan favorites, and they’re around for the majority of the rest of the series. They were pretty important decisions, and I think he did a great job with both of them.
Noah: That’s why I’m not sure why people… that’s why I love this movie, particularly, is because those actors got their start right here.
Kat: [laughs] Well, that’s not true.
Laura: They’re awesome. I mean…
Caleb: Yeah, they, as actors, did not get their start with these movies.
Noah: No, of course, but I mean as characters in the series for the movie franchise.
Laura: Yeah, but they’re awesome because they’re awesome. That’s not…
Laura: … the movie’s doing. [laughs]
Noah: That’s true. But that does something for me in ranking this movie as higher, but that’s just…
Laura: I do agree with our caller that this movie has grown on me over the years a little bit.
Laura: Because when I first saw it, I was a lot younger, and I just hated it. Everything about it. Because…
Caleb: It’s the only movie I remember walking out of being vehemently angry.
Laura: Right, exactly.
Caleb: The only one in the whole series.
Laura: And I think a lot of it has to do with just how different it is from the first two, style-wise. It’s not even that it’s necessarily a bad change. It’s just that it’s so different that it came as shocking. It was like, Hogwarts was so happy, and now everything’s so dark and sad. But it was kind of necessary, I guess, to make that change, but it’s such a different, fat, big change that it was definitely shocking when I first saw it.
Kat: So we’re definitely going to be taking your calls from here on out. So if you want to get ahold of us, again the number is 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287 – or on Skype at AlohomoraMN. Noah, it’s all you buddy.
Noah: Is HPAlison still here?
Kat: She is not.
Noah: Oh. She said her name was actually something else or…?
Kat: I think she was joking.
Noah: Oh. Yeah. Because I believe she’s a main commenter. We talk about her all the time. Always great in the forums.
Kat: We do.
Noah: So just starting with a little bit of background information from Wikipedia. The film was released on May 31, 2004, in the United Kingdom and on June 4, 2004, in North America as the first Harry Potter film released into IMAX theaters and to be using IMAX technology. It is also the last Harry Potter film to be released on VHS as well as the last film until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Oh, wait, sorry. That got… somebody… anyway, it was the… it was rated PG, and then the two next movies were rated PG-13, and not until Half-Blood Prince was there another PG rating, and you all remember that that was kind of a big deal because the movies were supposed to be getting darker. For a while…
Laura: And the Inferi are the most terrifying things ever and are deserving of a much higher rating.
Noah: Right. I mean, that’s another conversation. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Original Music Score and Visual Effects) at the 77th Academy Awards. While Prisoner of Azkaban grossed a total of $796.6 million worldwide, its box office performance ranks as the lowest grossing in the series. Nonetheless, it currently stands as the 40th highest grossing film of all time. So Caleb, I mean, you left angry, and maybe it’s possible other fans left angry because they didn’t…
Caleb: See it again.
Noah: This movie perform great gross-wise.
Caleb: I think almost every other film after that I saw more than once in the theater, but this? Absolutely not.
Kat: Yeah, I saw this movie twice, only because it happened to be playing at the drive-in the second time I saw it, but…
Laura: [laughs] Exactly the same thing for me! That’s so funny.
Kat: But the other ones, I think, by the end… Deathly Hallows – Part 2 I think I saw eight times because I kept bringing different people with me.
Caleb: Girl! Jesus.
Laura: That’s a lot. That’s so expensive.
Kat: I am single-handedly keeping WB in business.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Laura: I saw Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the most, but… yeah, for this, I think it’s interesting that it’s the lowest performing. I would think Sorcerer’s Stone would be, just because it hadn’t gained that traction, yet. But… [laughs] yeah, I don’t know where I was going.
Noah: I think it’s also the fact that they had to thematically shift because the first and the second movies in a way are very similar in terms of their themes, their structure, and their audience. And the third one… they were going for a little bit… just because it had darker material, they had to change it a bit, and that probably contributed, perhaps…
Noah: … to the downgrade.
Laura: Yeah, that’s very valid because I remember very distinctly when the trailer came out, and I was still in elementary school, but I remember it being significantly darker. And I think the trailers for the first two movies were very whimsical and everything, but all the campaigns, if I remember correctly, for this were [around] Sirius Black being this mass murderer and being crazy and the Dementors and everything…
Laura: … that I think, yeah, it’s possible a lot of parents didn’t take their kids.
Noah: That’s another thing. I wonder if that was an issue. I mean, there are several scenes… even during the boggart scene… maybe that could have scared some fans or these kids away. And you had Hermione punching Draco, which we are going to get into later, but just a lot of stuff in this movie that totally changed the…
Noah: The tone, yeah, absolutely.
Kat: I think part of it, too, is that the first two movies came out so long after the books had been out. When I say “so long,” [I mean] a couple years. Prisoner… the movie came out almost a year after the book, and I think that that’s… wait, my calendar has the wrong information.
Kat: Never mind. Scratch that. Continue, Noah.
Caleb: Well, I mean, it came out when the series was probably at a really high peak, so people were very attached to the story at that point, so…
Noah: And maybe it[‘s] also just based on the fact that the buzz of the fandom was in a sort of lull because there was a big push for the first movie and then the second movie, but at the third maybe it was just naturally there was less of a sensational thing because it was like, “Okay, another Harry Potter movie.”
Noah: People hadn’t really caught on, yet, necessarily. I mean, it was huge, but I can easily see it toning… going down a little bit.
Laura: Because I mean, it is, like you said, still the 40th highest grossing film of all time. So even though we’re making it seem like it was a bomb…
Noah: Oh, no!
Laura: … it still did pretty well for itself.
Kat: It did pretty [well]. Yeah.
Noah: It’s completely an achievement.
Kat: And we have a caller on the line. Caller?
Kat: Hello! Hi!
Caleb: Hi! What’s your name?
Caller: Hi! I’m ellendawn on the forums.
Kat: Hi. Nice to meet you! Thanks for calling!
Caller: I’m from Eastern Canada, the smallest province.
Kat: Awesome. You have a question or a comment?
Caller: Yeah, I was just listening to you guys talk about how you were comparing the book and the movies for the third book and movie, and I was thinking about how I didn’t personally come out of that movie angry because that was more the way I felt in the first movie. Because for the first movie, when you see it, it’s very close, but the adaptation… how they missed the troll at the end part, and there’s a couple things missing obviously. And then I found that slowly throughout the series, I started getting used to the fact that obviously they couldn’t put everything in the books in, so by the time they got to the third movie I was kind of okay with the fact that it wouldn’t be exactly the same as the book, and I just kind of took it as a separate… as separate [from] the book and I enjoyed it.
Kat: Yeah, you were able to separate the two.
Caller: Exactly, yeah. So as the series went further on, and the books got bigger, it made it easier, so I liked the third movie.
Kat: Good! Oh, one in Noah’s camp. Finally.
Caleb: Well, power to you because I could not separate the two, at least at first, so… [laughs]
Noah: Unfortunately for me, too – and you’re all going to hate this – I think I might have watched the movie before reading the book. [laughs]
Kat: I mean, that doesn’t surprise me.
Laura: Oh, my God.
Caleb: How dare you?! [laughs]
Noah: [laughs] And the entire fandom just confronts me. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah. Doesn’t surprise me.
Laura: So I guess that would impact you liking it, perhaps, then.
Caleb and Noah: Yeah.
Laura: Because the main reasons for not liking this film [are] adaptation-wise.
Kat and Noah: Right.
Noah: But yeah, Movie 3 – best movie. Thank you very much. [laughs]
Laura: [laughs] End discussion. No.
Noah: So should we…? Should I move to the next bullet point?
Noah: Okay. So as a matter of fact, Cuarón, who had directed these other amazing movies, came out saying… I happen to like Children of Men – really cool – and he’s very notable for his camera angles and just the way of telling the story.
Noah: He was initially nervous about accepting the directorship [since] he had not read any of the books or seen the films when he was asked to do the film. But after reading the series he changed his mind and signed on to direct, and he was immediately connected to the story. So that probably goes to show… so even though he did become a fan he wasn’t to start, so that could possibly explain the departure from the straight adaptation. But nonetheless, J.K. Rowling approved of Cuarón because she saw his film Y Tu Mamá También and was impressed with his adaptation of A Little Princess. Heyman found that tonally and stylistically, Cuarón was the perfect fit for the movie, so there you go. David Heyman thought it was a good idea, too, even if fans may have departed. And the Wikipedia article goes on to show that his first exercise with the actors Rupert, Emma, and Daniel actually involved having them each write an autobiographical essay about their characters written in the first person that talked about their entire life, just to sort of really get into that character or role. And when asked if he had done his essay, Rupert Grint said that he didn’t.
Noah: He said, “I’m Ron. Ron wouldn’t do it, so I didn’t do it.”
Noah: And Cuarón said [that] that was exactly right, so I thought that was…
Kat: [laughs] That’s awesome.
Laura: And I remember that. It was true to form with the other two, too. Daniel Radcliffe did like two sentences, and then Emma did like, a seven-page novel.
Caleb: Yeah. Also, it’s not… however you are saying his name, Noah…
Laura: It’s incorrect? [laughs]
Noah: It’s not [pronounces “CURE-on”] “Cuarón”?
Laura: [pronounces CUAR-ahn] Cuarón.
Caleb: It’s [pronounces correctly] “Cuarón.”
Laura: [pronounces correctly] Cuarón.
Noah: Cuarón. Oh.
Kat: Noah clearly cannot roll his “R”s.
Laura: He cannot do accents.
Caleb: I mean, I can’t really roll my “R”s either, but I can at least get the name right.
Caleb: Come, on man.
Noah: Cuarón. That’s kind of sexy.
Kat: I met him at the Studio Tour grand opening, and he spoke so eloquently about his time on Potter that it just makes me love him more as a director. I’ve always been a fan of his anyway, but after speaking to him about it, I just fell harder.
Caleb: Yeah. He’s great.
Kat: Yeah. Amazing. Children of Men is one of my favorite movies.
Caleb: Same. I have a big poster of it sitting up on my wall right now.
Noah: Just briefly – and this is completely off-topic; this isn’t even in the doc that we’re working on, guys – I would like every single person in the chat to please spread the word about the podcast going on right now – live show. Just tweet about it, Facebook it, however you want to do it. If every single one of you do it, it’s possible that more people will join us, and that could be cool. We want to spread the word about the reread, so please, everybody, gather together. Just do that if you can, of course.
Kat: And use the hashtag that we talked about before: #AlohomoraMN.
Kat: But first, we have another caller on the line.
Noah: Ooh. Welcome, caller.
Caller: Hi. How are you guys?
Caleb and Kat: Good. How are you?
Laura: What’s your name?
Caller: I’m good. I’m… geez, I’m so nervous I forgot my name.
Kat: Don’t be nervous.
Caller: My name on the site is Arrowline9.
Laura: Oh, very…
Noah: Hello, Arrowline9.
Laura: You said something very funny during the discussion. I don’t remember what it was, but it made me laugh out loud.
Caller: Oh, was it the one where I said there was no word for “Hufflepuff” in Dothraki?
Laura: Yes, that was it.
[Caleb and caller laugh]
Noah: You said that?
Laura: The four of us were on a call.
Noah: That deeply offended me.
Kat: Oh, stop. Do you have a question or comment for us?
Caller: [laughs] Yeah. Basically, I just… we’re discussing the movie, right? And I see your “I’d like to complain because I’m that way.” Not in a mean way, but anyway…
Kat: Feel free. We complain all the time.
Caller: [laughs] I just thought it was really weird that Alfonso Cuarón had a lot of time for all of these other things that I thought were pretty useless. Instead of doing just maybe a little expo on the Marauders because, I mean, afterward, do we even hear about them in any other movie?
Laura: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s probably the biggest criticism of the movie from fans: the explanation of the Marauders in particular. You see that, obviously, there’s a connection between James, Lupin, Sirius, and Pettigrew even – to a degree – but there’s [nothing] explicitly said like, “We made the Marauder’s Map. We’re all four of us in a gang,” anything complex with Snape and everything. Nothing is very explicit, but at the same time nothing is even very subtle. It’s hard to pick up on unless you’re a fan.
Kat: Yeah, that’s definitely my biggest criticism as far as adaptation goes. Is that that whole story line just got completely cut out.
Laura: And is never really addressed further on.
Laura: I know I also – just quickly before I forget – saw someone comment during the chat, do they ever say throughout the whole movie how Sirius escaped from Azkaban?
Kat: No. Nope. Just doesn’t matter.
Laura: All right.
Noah: Yeah, we mentioned it. That’s mentioned later in my notes. But there are tons and tons of places where the adaptation just falls flat, but then as we’ve been saying, the movie speaks for itself as a different… as a thing in and of itself. It’s a cool thing.
Laura: But before we get ahead of ourselves…
Noah: Before we get ahead of ourselves, yes.
Noah: But I was kind of offended by the Dothraki thing because I think a Hufflepuff can ride a horse, too.
Noah: Just maybe not as… it’s a different kind of horse. Maybe a unicorn or something.
Kat: It was definitely a personal attack, so definitely take it personally.
Noah: I am.
[Kat and Laura laugh]
Caleb: Plus, Noah, you’ve read the books. Riding horses is hardly all of what encompasses being a Dothraki, so…
Noah: Woah, Caleb, I don’t know about that. Riding horses is one of the most important things for a Dothraki.
Laura: Let’s stay on track, guys.
Kat: Continue, Noah, please.
Noah: All right. Well, now I want to get into the basic movie discussion. So it begins with Harry casting “Lumos Maxima! Lumos Maxima!” There’s a slight change in the book because he has an actual flashlight there, but just at the very start we get introduced to the way the movie’s going to be because Harry gets upset, and Aunt Marge blows away, and the music is pounding. And it’s funny at the same time, but it’s also sort of a dark humor because we have this character blowing away. “Floating away,” I mean. It’s funny, Not too dark.
Kat: It’s hilarious!
Laura: I mean, it’s funny because it also just right off the bat. You can start the rage right in the first second, which I saw the comments in the chat did, [with] Harry being able to do the Lumos Maxima and not setting off the trace thing [by] using magic outside of school. It’s right off the bat… damnnit! [laughs]
Noah: What’s up with that? What’s up with that, Cuarón? Didn’t read that?
Caleb: I’m pretty sure…
Kat: Is it funny that I never thought of it like that?
Caleb: Oh, I did. I think I threw my hands up at that scene like, “Well, I’m done. I’m over it!” So…
Kat: [laughs] Might as well leave right now!
Noah: How old was everyone when the movie came out?
Laura: What year did it come out?
Caleb: What year was that again?
Kat and Noah: 2004.
Caleb: So I was sixteen.
Laura: Nine. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Sorry, you’re so little.
Noah: I was thirteen.
Caleb: I was a sophomore in high school? A junior?
Kat: Oh wait, wait, I was 21 because it came out ten days before my birthday. 21.
Laura: Wait, wait, what month did it come out in?
Kat: It came out June 4, 2004.
Caleb: Oh, so I was fifteen. Wow. Oh, God.
Laura: Yep. Nine.
Kat: You guys make me feel old.
[Kat and Laura laugh]
Kat: I was in college.
Noah: Was it a big event? Did you take all your college friends?
Kat: I was an art student, so a lot of my friends didn’t do things like go to the movies.
Caleb: How dare they.
Kat: [laughs] But…
Laura: My mom took me.
Kat: I went with my best friend. My best friend had lost her mother about two months before this movie came out, so this was a really emotional movie for her.
Noah: Oh, shout-out to FelicisStone17415: “Harry doing Lumos under the covers was supposed to represent him becoming a teenager and experimenting with” dot dot dot.
Caleb: We’re not going there!
Kat: Yeah, we’re not reading that.
Noah: We’re not… I read that comment.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Caleb: We’re not going to go there!
Noah: That’s all I’ve done.
Kat: All right.
Noah: Nothing more. [laughs] But…
Noah: Back to what I was saying: So much humor in this movie. Is it possible that this movie focuses too much on humor that it takes away from the story? Guys, what do you think?
Laura: No. Half-Blood Prince.
Kat: No, because that is Half-Blood Prince‘s MO.
Laura: Yeah. No, I don’t think this is particularly humorous. Like I was saying a few times during the chat, there [were] so many lines that I just totally didn’t pick up on because I guess I haven’t seen this movie enough in comparison to the rest of the films. Like Ron talking about his leg having to be cut off.
Kat: Oh, best line: “They might chop it.”
Laura: And then Malfoy saying of Buckbeak, “You and your bloody chicken.”
Laura: I find these really funny, but they’re really quick. They’re just thrown in there. Half-Blood Prince is where they focus on way too much of the humor. But I mean, the book is kind of that way, too, but… meh.
Noah: I mean, I just thought that this movie was just full of just awkward, funny scenes just from the very start. So then after Marge blows away, Harry runs off, and he goes out, and we get the Knight Bus, and we’re introduced to… what’s the name of that guy? I feel terrible now. The…
Noah: No, not Tom.
Kat: Stan Shunpike?
Noah: Stan Shunpike!
Noah: Very clever character. I think that entire scene is hilarious.
Noah: But I know people have mixed opinions about that little talking head. [in a Jamaican accent] “Take it away, Ern!” That guy. Do you think…?
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah. I mean, it was obviously completely out of place from the book, but I still found it really hilarious.
Laura: Yeah. I think I hated it when I first saw it just because of how… I was like, “What is this?” But from having rewatched it…
Noah: [in a Jamaican accent] “Take it away, Ern!”
Laura: … I love it!
Kat: Yeah, it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s hilarious.
Laura: [in a Jamaican accent] “Two… two and three quarters…!” [laughs] Love it.
Noah: And then they show up later in the [Three Broomsticks]. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, I think it’s awesome. Amazefest USA. [laughs] You like that?
Noah: I thought it was really clever, and that’s the thing I love about this movie is all these really weird details that aren’t in the book. Which I know, its a problem, and it’s all about what we’re talking about, but it’s that kind of stuff that’s cool. And then another one of those is Tom the innkeep[er], who looks like this really weird Igor character, who’s completely different from Igor. Not Igor. Completely different from Tom. Something happened to him because Tom in the first [movie] is this normal guy…
Caleb: He’s Igor. [laughs]
Noah: There’s a picture of it. But in this, he’s this weird… he’s got a hump in his back.
Kat: [laughs] Yeah.
Noah: He’s creeping around.
Laura: I can’t even do the laugh. Someone… Caleb, you’re better at that kind of thing. [laughs]
Caleb: Oh, I might need to prep for that one.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Caleb: The funnier… the laugh, though, is when he gets called off, and then he just slowly whips around.
Laura: [laughs] Back to your corner!
Caleb: [laughs] Back to your corner where you belong!
[Kat and Laura laugh]
Noah: He really just seems to do Fudge’s bidding, but are we expected to think that that character runs the inn? Because I think to the movie viewer… they just think he’s this weird, creepy guy, who hangs out…
Kat: The henchman for the Minister? Yeah.
Laura: Yeah. I mean, Tom is clearly… he had a rough two years. Something had to have happened.
Kat: He’s not an important character, so who cares what he looks like?
Noah: I just thought he looked funny.
Noah: That is Cuarón changing a lot of…
Kat: That was better. That was better, Noah. That was better.
Noah: Cuarón. Cuarón. [laughs]
Kat: We have another caller on the line.
Kat and Noah: Hello.
Kat: What’s your name? Where are you from?
Caller: I am RoseLumos on the site and commenting now, but my name is Alyssa, and I live in Orlando, Florida.
Noah: What’s up?
Caller: I’m at the Wizarding World. [laughs]
Caleb: Oh, you’re at the site of LeakyCon next year, too.
Caleb: I said, “That’s where LeakyCon is going to be next year.” Back in Orlando.
Caller: Oh, wow, I didn’t know that.
Caleb: Yeah, totally.
Caller: That’s exciting.
Kat: Yeah. You have a question or comment for us?
Caller: I do. I really just don’t like how directors – when they adapt stories – try to put in new things. I feel like a director’s job is to stay as close to the source material as possible because it is an adaptation. It’d be one thing if they say it was based off the story, if you were going to take… I’m going to take these new, recent fairy tale things and take the old story Beauty and the Beast, and they make it new, that’s one thing. But if you’re taking the Harry Potter books, which are clearly successful, I don’t see the reason of… I don’t know, just adding new things for the sake of adding new things.
Noah: Well, I hear you, RoseLumos. And by the way, you’ve got a huge audience in the chat. People just…
Caller: I see that! Hi, guys!
Noah: They think you’re awesome. I think that a movie… it has a different audience. It has to appeal to the large audience of fans, and I think it’s okay for it to throw in some crazy stuff as long as it’s true to the spirit of the book. Which I know is a very abstract term, but I feel so deeply that this movie was true to the spirit of Harry Potter. For me.
Caleb: Hmm. See…
Laura: I mean…
Caleb: … I definitely agree with Rose. I mean, I… because it took me a long time to get over… I actually disliked Cuarón after this movie was made, and once I got more into film and appreciated his stuff later that changed. But I agree with her… or I guess my fifteen-, sixteen-year-old self definitely agree with her because…
Noah: [high-pitched] You’re right, girls!
Caleb: Yeah, well, because… I don’t know. It’s… I see what you’re saying, Noah, but it’s different with Harry Potter when you have fans who are so avidly engaged in the books. It’s different when they are attached that much to the source material.
Laura: Yeah. I’m on the fence. I hear both of you guys because I’m not such a purist where I need everything to be an exact, straight-up adaptation. I think there’s room for some leeway. I think honestly a lot of the stuff [Yates] did bothered me more than [unintelligible]. Because I think Cuarón didn’t exactly change things. He just left things out and then added artistic things, but he didn’t drastically change much. Versus [Yates], where it was… if you got burning down the Weasley house, which is of course the biggest sin committed in the series, and then the whole changes with the final battle and everything. Those struck me way more, and that got me way angrier than this. I don’t like this movie, but I think the changes were more artistic than plot-wise.
Kat: Yeah, no. I agree with that. There are other things that annoy me quite a bit more, so…
Noah: And there’s stuff that’s annoying in other movies that make them… little stuff that’s added that doesn’t help make it a better movie. Like dragon balls in…
Kat: Why do you keep bringing up Dragon Ball Z?
Noah: It’s just stuck in my head, but I’m thinking… you know the scene I’m talking about where… ?
Noah: … with Snape and the dragon balls, and Cormac throws up?
Kat: Oh, okay. [laughs]
Noah: Yeah. That was a little addition that wasn’t really amazing for me. Actually thinking back that was pretty funny. Never mind.
Noah: Next points.
Kat: Okay, yeah. Move on.
Noah: Then we get to the Dementors. These are the first introduction we have to the Dementors, and they’re… I like these Dementors more than the Movie 5-7 ones, where they use their cloaks, and I wanted to hear everybody’s opinion on that because these were my… I mean, maybe it’s because these are the first ones we’re introduced to, but they’re also the ones that I pictured in the books, possibly because…
Kat: Well, I mean, yeah, they’re described as being cloaked and that their faces are hidden, so I agree. I prefer these Dementors.
Caleb: Yeah, I think I agree with that.
Noah: These seem much more evil, and they seem like they can…
Caleb and Kat: Yeah.
Laura: I’m trying to get a visual. I don’t know the dif… I’m trying to figure out what the difference is because I’m having trouble remembering.
Kat: The later ones don’t have hoods if I remember correctly.
Noah: They don’t even have… I mean they have cloaks, but they’re more wrapped around the bodies.
Caleb: Yeah. I just remember that scene on the Hogwarts Express when they first show up…
Laura: Yeah, all right. I’m looking at them now.
Caleb: … and it was completely everything I expected with a Dementor.
Laura: Wait, you said you liked that scene?
Laura: Yeah, I agree.
Caleb: It was one of the better scenes in [unintelligible].
Laura: I like the whole thing with the hand and everything.
Noah: Yeah, that is an intense scene.
Kat: That’s so creepy.
Caleb: That scene… you feel cold as you watch it. It’s just so well done.
Kat: There was someone in the chat saying that, just by coincidence, the air conditioning came on in the theater when she saw it…
Kat: … as soon as the Dementors showed up on screen, and she freaked out.
Laura: It’s 4D films!
Kat: That’s awesome.
Noah: Is that scene another example of how this film is maybe too dark and lost the kids in a way?
Caleb: No, I don’t think that.
Kat: Kids can watch Lord of the Rings, and the Ringwraiths are way, way…
Laura: I don’t think it lost kids. I think parents underestimate their kids. I think it lost parents taking their kids because that was very commonly featured in the trailer – mad man murderer Sirius Black and these creepy Dementor things with the hands. My… because I mean, that’s how I got started with Harry Potter was I was seven, and my mom wouldn’t let me see the first movie. She thought it’d be too scary for me, so I read the book, and I was like, “Ha!” But I think parents do that. I think overprotective ones wouldn’t have wanted their kids to see it because it looks scary, but yeah, I think kids can handle it. It’s fine.
Noah: Well, here’s a little bit more from the Wiki article about Cuarón: He “originally wanted to move away from the CGI toward puppetry” in terms of special effects, especially for the Dementors. “He hired master underwater puppeteer Basil Twist to help, using puppets to study the potential movement of the Dementors. Once it became apparent that puppetry would be too expensive and unable to portray the specific elements of the Dementors, Cuarón turned to CGI; however, he and his team did use footage of Dementor puppets underwater as a basis of the flowing movements of the computer-generated Dementors.” That’s pretty cool.
Kat: And I knew that. That’s not to keep saying that I’ve been there, but that’s something that I learned at the studio tour, actually, because…
Noah: Oh, really?
Kat: … they have this backpack thing that looks like somebody was wearing, and the cloak would go around the person, and then the Dementor head sticks up or whatever.
Kat: And that’s what they used during those underwater scenes and stuff, so that’s pretty cool.
Noah: That’s cool to think…
Laura: Can I just say how awesome the career title of “Master Underwater Puppeteer” sounds? I want that job. [laughs]
Kat: Pretty rad, I agree.
Noah: Yeah, that’s something. I need a job. I could do that.
Noah: But yeah, that makes sense because the cloak was all flowing and evil in that scene, and clearly that makes sense because that’s what it would look like underwater if you had puppets. And there’s so much. Didn’t he consult a magician for the Marauder’s Map for this movie as well?
Kat: Maybe? I don’t know.
Noah: No? That would have been worth it.
Laura: Why would that be necessary?
Kat: Yeah, I’m not sure why he would have.
Noah: I just thought I heard that somewhere. But isn’t David Thewlis the perfect Professor Lupin? I think he was the best for that role – for that character – because I’m going to that scene in my head. I think one of you was saying that you didn’t like him for that role?
Noah: Or you didn’t like his mustache?
Caleb: At the time, I was not sold. When it first came out, yeah, I was not very sold on Thewlis’s Lupin. As the movies went on, he grew on me a lot. But at the beginning I wasn’t about it.
Laura: Why was that?
Caleb: It just didn’t fit right for me. He wasn’t who I saw as Lupin in my head, and it just didn’t connect with me. I can’t really put a finger on it.
Laura: For me, it was kind of the opposite. I mean, I love him, but I think he does such a good job in this movie, and I think – now this isn’t his fault so much as the writing – as the movies progressed, his character is not as good. I don’t know. I don’t think they do a good job with him throughout the films.
Kat: And we have a caller on the line. Caller, what’s your name? Where are you from?
Caller: Um, me?
Kat: Yeah, you!
Caller: Okay, [unintelligible] I’m LoonyLovegood in the chat. Hi.
Noah: Hi, Loony!
Caller: Hello, I had a question. If you could have Cuarón come back and direct any other film, which one would you choose?
Caleb: Ooh, that’s a really good question.
Kat: Order of the Phoenix.
Caller: Yeah, why?
Kat: Well, one: because it’s my favorite book, and since Cuarón is probably my favorite of the directors on Potter, I would choose that book, but also I think that Order of the Phoenix has the dark undertones that Cuarón could really fly with.
Noah: Yeah, he could have made that movie really great.
Laura: For me, I think… all right, well, this is kind of difficult to answer because I love the Goblet of Fire movie, and so I don’t want it changed, but at the same time I think Alfonso could have a good job with it. Just because that’s a very artistic-driven movie, or at least it could have been, because it’s very visual with all the tasks and everything – I think of the mermaids and all that. I think he could have done a good job with it, but that being said I love Goblet of Fire as it stands.
Noah: I would just say all of them for me except for the first two because Christopher Colombus had to do those first two, but for everything else… David Yates didn’t sell me really at all. I have an issue. I could go back to those films, but he didn’t really speak to me as a director. He didn’t direct the fourth one, too.
Kat: I mean, I like David Yates. I have no problem with him, but…
Caleb: Yeah, same.
Kat: … as far as overall favorite director of [Movies] 1, 2, 3, [and] 4, it would be Alfonso for sure.
Laura: Yeah. Yates for me is very half and half. I hate him, or I love him. Part 1 of Book 7 is my favorite film of all. I think it’s a beautiful film, but Half-Blood Prince is my least favorite, so it’s…
Laura: … he’s responsible for all of them, so…
Caleb: Wait, no. Goblet of Fire is not Yates.
Laura: Yeah, I know. I said it’s Mike Newell.
Caleb: Oh, okay. I’m sorry.
Laura: I said my favorite film is Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
Caleb: Oh. Okay, I gotcha.
Noah: Which is also a great movie.
Laura: When we get to that in five years.
Noah: So another thing we want to think about in the movie is there are so many different cut scenes that are famously in this movie. We have the Whomping Willow squishing the bird, you have Harry in his common room making animal noises with Neville and Ron. Kind of an interesting scene showing camaraderie between everyone. And there’s another one where the Dementors are coming through, and the flowers are freezing. It’s really… there’re so many. What were your guys’ thoughts on those because I think that in a lot of the other movies it tends to go straight through whatever Harry is experiencing, or you get occasional scenes from other characters, but I think this movie more than the other ones just had… it created a world so much more, and I think it’s due to these cut scenes that might be artistic, but there’s also foreshadowing because we get introduced to the Whomping Willow and what it does because of all those scenes as opposed to somebody talking about, “Oh, yeah, the Whomping Willow did this. It’s violent.”
Noah: So stuff like that.
Laura: That’s a good point.
Kat: I’m fine with the cut scenes. I just wish that there were a few less of them.
Laura: Yeah, or shorter even. I really like what they do with the Whomping Willow and the seasons changing, but there’s one scene – I don’t remember which season it is – that lasts a fairly long amount of time. [Those are] seconds that could have been used [for saying], “By the way, we’re the Maurauders.”
Kat: Right, and thank God. At least they cut out the one where the bird flies all the way down to Hagrid’s hut, and all this…
Laura: Oh, is that not in there?
Laura: That’s what I was talking about.
Kat: Yeah, no. That’s in the… that’s a deleted scene, thank God.
Laura: Oh, ABC Family plays them with the deleted scenes.
Kat: No, they do, and I love that they do that, but…
Noah: Yeah, me too.
Kat: I’m glad that they cut that out.
Noah: That bird would just fly everywhere all over the castle because Cuarón is just creating such a landscape, but it’s…
Kat: I like to pretend that that’s the bird Draco puts into the thing in Movie 6, and it’s getting it back for being such a pain in the ass in this movie.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Noah: One comment from Gringotts713 on what we’re talking about: “I think the cuts were artsy, and [they were] great but did not fit with…” Uh oh.
Laura: It’s gone.
Noah: The comment’s gone.
Caleb: See ya.
Kat: Well, you’ve got to read it faster than that, boy.
Noah: It was a good comment.
Kat: “Not good for the rest of the series…” Oh, shoot. I lost it, too.
Laura: All right.
Noah: I got it.
Kat: “It didn’t stand out. Not in a bad way but…”
Kat and Noah “… just different from the rest.”
Noah: That’s right. Thank you, Gringotts.
Caleb: You worked hard for that one.
Kat: How many people does it take to read a comment?
Caleb: Dur, dur, dur.
Noah: That many Alohomora! hosts. But yeah, so now I’m just going to jump to the boggart scene with Lupin because this movie is full of so many iconic moments – so many cool things – and I thought that this scene more than the others highlights the way that music is used in the movie.
Noah: To bring about a tone. So there was a lot of jazz and swing music in that scene.
Noah: Oh, hello. Who are you?
[Laura and Noah laugh]
Kat: Hold on, [unintelligible]. Noah, finish your thought.
Noah: I will finish my thought. That’s fine. I don’t mean to accost the listener. So it kept switching between jazz and swing and some more serious music to sort of show the scene itself, which was [that] you’re going to be confronted with your fear, and then you’re going to make light of it, so it goes back and forth to “this is scary,” but here’s the happy music. So I thought that – just in terms of musical choice – it was really perfect, and the whole way the scene was shot, and you had David Thewlis just going back and forth. He was getting really into it. The whole class was, and you could tell. It really created this – for me – feeling of “this is the best Defense Against the Dark Arts class,” which is a sentiment that Harry keeps, so…
Laura: The music for sure I love. I mean, I’m such a fan of jazz [and] swing music, which is why I’m never going to get over the fact that they – for Half-Blood Prince – recorded the Weasley Wizard Wheezes big band song and then didn’t use it.
Laura: It’s fantastic.
Laura: But I think the jazz in this is really great, particularly at the end when Lupin and Harry are talking, and it’s just playing on the gramophone, and it’s like, “Oh, remember the days when we did that boggart thing, and it was really fun?” and it’s subtly there.
Kat: Mhm, exactly. So caller, now it’s your turn. What’s your name? Where are you from?
Caller: Hi, sorry.
Kat: It’s okay.
Caller: I’m Tweak6 [on] the forums. I’m in England, but I grew up in the States, so that’s probably why my accent might sound odd.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s really… I was wondering. That’s really interesting.
Laura: That’s an interesting combination. Where in the states?
Noah: Tweak6, what’s up? Where in the States?
Caller: I lived in Arizona and moved over here two years ago.
Noah: How do you like it?
Caller: It’s cold.
Kat: Oh. [laughs] Okay.
Caleb: Well, compared to Arizona, yeah, I’m sure.
Kat: Yeah, quite the difference.
Kat: Do you have a question or a comment for us?
Caller: Yeah, I was calling just to complain a little bit about my biggest pet peeve with this movie, which was the lack of uniforms.
Caleb and Noah: Yeah!
Caleb: A lot of people say that.
Noah: Muggle clothes.
Caller: Yeah, they just stroll around in Hermione’s pink sweatshirt.
Caller: And I don’t understand why.
Laura: Actually, this is… I’m going to go way back here. I don’t know if anyone in the chat will remember these. There was this magazine called Disney Adventures. Anybody?
Kat: Oh, my God. You’re so little.
Laura: [laughs] Yeah, I used to have a subscription to Disney Adventures when I was really little, and I remember when The Prisoner of Azkaban was coming out was when I had that subscription, and I remember reading that they were like, “No more uniforms anymore,” and saying how they were going to be all American – not American, Muggle – in their clothes, and I remember being devastated like, “How could they ever do that? Just take away the uniforms?” but Oh, well.
Kat: I think it was just… they’re trying to… I don’t want to say “Americanize it,” but they’re definitely trying to make it appeal to a broader audience by putting them in Muggle clothes as opposed to their uniforms is what I think.
Caller: Yeah, I think that’s what they were trying to do, and my biggest issue was that it took away a lot of the idea of Hogwarts. They’re supposed to be in robes because they’re wizards, and everybody wears robes.
Kat: Right, the magical aspect of it. Right. I understand. I miss the hats, personally.
Kat: The black, pointy hats. Maybe that’s just me.
Caleb: Yeah, I didn’t miss the hats too much. [laughs]
Laura: Yeah, the hats would have been too much.
Noah: I miss the hats.
Kat: Thanks, Noah.
Kat: Thanks, my man.
Laura: Well, it covered up all the ridiculous hairstyles.
Kat: I mean, that…
Noah: Would that have really been a bad thing?
Caleb: Not even.
Kat: Right. That’s a good thing.
Noah: All right, where are we? And in that boggart scene, there’s a really creepy clown. Have you guys…? What do you guys think of that clown? That creeped me out.
Kat: It’s terrifying.
Laura: Someone in the chat… they were like, “Parvati, you’re doing it wrong.”
>Caleb: [laughs] Girl, keep it together.
Kat: And that… a bunch of people were talking about, too, that clown, jack-in-the-box thing, or whatever was at the exhibition.
Kat: The traveling exhibition.
Laura: It’s huge.
Caleb: Nope. I would have walked out. Nope.
Kat: It’s huge. First off, it’s huge. It’s – what? – eight or nine feet tall. Humongous. And it’s terrifying. It swings back and forth.
Caleb: Nope. Get out of my life. Nope.
Kat: [laughs] Awful. WestCoastRico says, “I can’t sleep. The clown will eat me.”
Caleb: Oh, God. Please stop.
Kat: It’s true.
Noah: Yeah, that’s even more of a fear than a joke at a certain point, that clown. But what did you guys think of this movie in terms of its special effects now? You have Buckbeak. How did you feel Buckbeak was designed? You have Lupin as a werewolf, Sirius as an Animagus dog, and Peter Pettigrew, the Whomping Willow. I thought there was a lot…
Caleb: All of it was great except the werewolf.
Laura: Yeah, agreed.
Laura: It’s consistent that everything’s awesome. The Whomping Willow is a little over the top, but yeah, the werewolf’s a disaster.
Kat: Buckbeak isn’t a hundred percent CGI, by the way.
Caleb: Right, okay.
Laura: Isn’t he in the studio tour, too? Not the studio tour. The…
Kat: He’s in both. He is in the studio tour and at the exhibition, yeah.
Laura: He gets around.
Kat: [laughs] He sure does get around.
Kat: I think there’s more than one of him.
Caleb: Ow ow!
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Noah: So now I’d like to move us to a conversation about some of the key differences between the movie and the book, and just… if you have a thought during it, just keep in mind which ones you seem… you wish they were brought in, or you think that it was okay that they were cut out. And if you think of anything else, let me know.
Kat: Okay, I just want to throw something in there real quick.
Kat: We are probably going to go a little bit past two o’clock, so everybody who’s fearing there’s only twenty minutes left, don’t worry. And I just wanted to tell you all the number again: It’s 206-462-5687 or on Skype @AlohomoraMN. The calls are just flooding in, so if you’re not getting through, keep calling. I’m going to try and get to everybody. That’s it. Thank you.
Noah: So obviously we’ve already talked about the way that the movie opens with the magic is different. Harry is using Lumos Maxima instead of a flashlight. And then you have the shrunken heads. There'[re] also tons of other interesting things, such as the frog choir singing. I think that’s really cool. That “Double Trouble” song is actually from Shakespeare. Macbeth.
Laura: Oh, we didn’t talk about the fact that Flitwick changed in appearance pretty drastically in this one.
Noah: That’s true. He lost a lot of hair.
Laura: It wasn’t even… well, in this film he isn’t even Flitwick. He’s called “Choir Master” or whatever in the credits, and then they just made him Flitwick again in the next film.
Caleb: He’s trying to youth himself up. He’s getting dark hair. He’s trying to look for a lady.
Caleb: That’s exactly what’s going on.
Noah: Who’s the lady? McGonagall?
Caleb: No, Noah.
Caleb: Leave my girl alone.
Noah: [laughs] So [an]other difference [is] the connection between Harry’s parents and the Marauder’s Map is only briefly mentioned. There’s really nothing there. And same goes with the rest of the Marauders’ tale. It’s really cut from the movie. There’s not too much about it. Maybe hints. Just at the end, there’s really a whole big talk about the Marauders and what they were doing with Sirius and Lupin in the Shrieking Shack. The nicknames Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs are not hashed out, or those are not brought to focus as the actual names of the Marauders. And most of Sirius Black’s backstory is cut out, as well as no mention of the fact of how he got out of Azkaban. That’s not mentioned at all. There'[re] some other things, too.
Laura: Well, also, a thing that I realized watching it this time around was that the whole “Harry trusting Sirius” happens a lot faster in the movie than it does in the book. There’s a lot more explanation that goes on, particularly from Lupin and Sirius, in the books [before] Harry really gets on their side and everything. Harry is very quickly BFFs with Sirius in the movies.
Kat: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s because most of that chapter is – I mean, not most of it but a lot of it – an internal dialogue with Harry, and how are they going to do that?
Laura: Yeah, I mean, I guess Pettigrew turning into a rat is pretty much enough.
Kat: Yeah, I would think so.
Noah: That’s true. And just at a certain point in the movie, you have to cut stuff just to make it believable. It’s not only fans of the books but [also] other people, too, so you don’t want to go into too much backstory.
Noah: The film also doesn’t really go into the magical education [as] much as we saw the first two movies, where you have Herbology and Potions Class. This movie really just focused on Defense Against the Dark Arts if you think about it.
Kat: Yeah, well, that’s because Lupin is there, and he’s awesome, and…
Noah: Want to establish that.
Noah: For Care of Magical Creatures, there’s merely the one hippogriff seen there instead of all the hippogriffs.
Kat: And whiny Malfoy. Yeah.
Noah: Yeah. So many classic Malfoy parts in this film where he just gets really whiny and then just ends up leaving. Or he gets hit with snowballs. And then, of course, the legendary punch in the face by Hermione…
Noah: … which inspired many parents to either argue that or say, “Yes, this is great.” There was also a lot of conv… I remember just a lot of discussion back in the day about how that had something – could be argued – about feminism in that. Do you think so? Do you think there was…? Is there anything like that? Or is she just upset, and we shouldn’t read into it too much?
Kat: I think it was about time she stood up for something other than…
Kat: … shoving her wisdom in her face. I think she’s just frustrated at this point. And who wouldn’t have done that?
Laura: Yeah. I think, also, is this really the first time we see Malfoy being a whiny little brat? Because in the first two, obviously, he’s awful, but he’s much less pathetic with the whining. He’s much more bullying and threatening, and he bosses around Crabbe and Goyle, and he’s threatening toward Harry, and he’s got the whole Quidditch team thing. This is when he starts to… you’re like, “Wow, he’s pathetic.”
Noah: Yeah. And that his character is obviously evolving here, too. Which is another thing about this movie.
Laura: Devolving. [laughs]
Noah: Well, yeah, devolving, but it’s all sort of a process. A lot of focus on individual characters in this movie more than in the other two movies, where it’s all about plot and what needs to happen.
Noah: So this movie really set the stage for the others. Where it was going to go. And Steve Kloves and the next directors had to keep that in mind, where Cuarón was going to take this movie. There wasn’t much about the Fidelius Charm in this book. That wasn’t really explained.
Kat: That’s because it is a giant black hole of nobody understands. That’s why.
Noah: It’s even pretty confusing for us.
Kat: Yeah, I mean, there’s so many unanswered questions. I can understand why they left that out.
Noah: And here is a really interesting comment from the chat that happened during the movie viewing from spellephant: “What if Sirius [had] got bit by Lupin when he was a werewolf when Sirius was in dog form?” We haven’t discussed that.
Caleb: That is a very good question.
Noah: Would he transform? Is he somehow okay because [he’s] an Animagus?
Laura: I mean, it looks like they are biting at each other.
Laura: At least the way this is…
Caleb: Yeah, I mean, regardless of what the movie says, I think the question is more based on what would happen canon-wise.
Kat: That’s a really good question.
Caleb: I mean, it’s hard because first you have to answer the question “Does it count as a real dog?” That’s really tough.
Noah: Yeah, I mean, I think technically you would transform, but then didn’t James, Peter, and Sirius hang out with Lupin all throughout that time? It was going to happen, right? At some point, someone was going to bite some other person. So how did they manage to do it without becoming werewolves? All of them. Or maybe they just all became a little bit more wolf-ish.
Caleb: I mean, mine… I guess my initial instinct is if he gets bit as an animal, he’s not going to become a werewolf. That’s my instinct.
Kat: But something has to happen.
Caleb: Yeah, I think something has to happen. I agree.
Laura: I think maybe he would be wounded in the same way if you would have been bitten by just an animal. I think they do make it clear that werewolves prey on humans.
Noah: Yeah, you know what? I think it only works with the human. When you’re an Animagus, you turn into that. You’re going to turn into an animal, and werewolves can’t turn other animals into werewolves. That doesn’t…
Laura: Well, that’s probably why Sirius transformed to fight Lupin. Or control him…
Laura: … because he was the only one [who] could do it.
Kat: It would be idiotic otherwise, too. [laughs]
Noah: So I think when you transform, you’re safe from that, and my guess is that if you get bit, it’s not going to work.
Kat: So we have a caller on the line. Caller?
Caller: Hi. This is… I’m Alicia from Redding, California, and I just wanted to comment. I loved the movie, but as far as the adaptation to the book, my expectations were let down a little bit.
Kat: How come? What let you down?
Caller: I expected to see a lot more… there’s a lot less out of the book that I was looking forward to see. At the moment I can’t really pick out a specific point.
Laura: Yeah. Well, that’s a lot of…
Caller: And I think the biggest shock for me was I knew there was a different Dumbledore, but just seeing the difference was just shocking.
Laura: That’s something we haven’t talked about yet.
Kat: Yeah, the Gambon topic. We haven’t even gotten there, yet, have we? But…
Laura: It’s probably…
Noah: Not really because this looks…
Caleb: I think it becomes more polarizing in the next movie.
Kat: Yeah, it does. It’s true.
Laura: Uhh, yeah. I mean, yes, that’s true for Goblet, but that whole scene in particular where he’s talking while Harry is sleeping or pretending to sleep… it’s kind of weird.
Noah: Kind of cheesy. [laughs]
Laura: Yeah, cheesy, but that’s the way Dumbledore speaks for the remainder of these films.
Noah: That’s true. I just don’t like it when Gambon says it.
Kat: … I’m Team Gambon.
Kat: I like Michael Gambon. I’ve said this a million times before.
Noah: Team Harris.
Kat: I don’t think Richard Harris could have hacked it.
Kat: I love Richard Harris.
Caleb: With the exception of the scene in Goblet when he attacks Harry after the Goblet of Fire scene. I mean…
Noah: Knocks him down and just like…
Caleb: Yeah, that is, obviously, a big whatever but…
Caleb: .. .other than that, I’m so with you, Kat. Team Gambon.
Laura: Okay, I’m not viciously on one side or the other because I do agree, especially, that Harris wouldn’t have been able to really… I mean, it’s unfair to say because we didn’t really get to see… but just of how gentle he is. But that being said, that doesn’t make me like Gambon necessarily more, but I will say in The Half Blood Prince when he is doing the whole scene with drinking the potion, that was amazing work, and that was the only time I really was, “Okay, I’ll get on Gambon’s side. That was fantastic.” But that was it.
Noah: Yup, so I’m still with the Harris team, but this movie was really the first time that fans felt that because Richard Harris was gone, and they had to make that switch. That was another component that went into making this film. But Gambon is not terrible. I don’t mean to come off that way but just not as Dumbledore-ish for me, personally, but that also comes with the way that the movies introduced us to Richard Harris first.
Laura: Yeah, I think that’s my thing is that Harris is more the Dumbledore that I pictured, but Gambon didn’t do a terrible job.
Kat: I mean…
Laura: … just not a good job.
Kat: Wait. Okay, so everybody always says this: that Harris looks more like Dumbledore.
Kat: They both have long beards and the silly hat and the robes.
Laura: Oh, no, I don’t think looks have anything to do with it. I think they’re pretty lucky that they got two people to look that similarly. I think it’s more his disposition.
Noah: Yeah, Gambon was just…
Laura: He’s so much more gentle and wise-sounding.
Kat: But Dumbledore isn’t always gentle and wise. Dumbledore is a jackass. He’s not the coolest character, and I mean, that’s my biggest reason why I don’t think Harris could have pulled it off. He doesn’t have the balls that [were] needed in the later movies.
Noah: They’re really old, though. He is really old.
Kat: Yes, I know, but I just…
Caleb: I mean…
Kat: I mean, I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I can’t see it. That’s all.
Kat: That’s all.
Laura: But that’s what I’m saying: Even though I agree that Harris wouldn’t have necessarily been able to do the rest of it, I just… that doesn’t make me like Gambon.
Noah: Well, my final thought on the movie – or final discussion point – was the ending, which is a different ending from many other movies and is interesting because Harry just gets the Firebolt, and he gets really excited, and all the boys run outside, and then he just flies off, and then you get just a picture of his head, basically, just with the whole shadow coming back, and he’s super happy, and then [it] just goes to credits. Now, this is sort of different from more Yatesian endings of the movies, where they’re sentimental, and you’ve got a sunset, and…
Kat: I like your word. “Yatesian”?
Kat: I mean, that’s nice. I appreciate that.
Noah: Oh, thank you.
Noah: Yes, yes. So these Yatesian endings where Harry walks off and talks about [how] it’s good to have… what was that last line in Book 5 that still eludes me?
Laura: They stare off into the sunset every time.
Noah: [as Harry] “I know what Voldemort doesn’t have. Something worth fighting for!”
Kat: Oh. [laughs] “Something worth fighting for.”
Noah: [as Harry] “Something worth fighting for!” [laughs] And then just he…
Laura: I never realized how beautiful it is up here.
Kat: Yeah, Yates always has a way of putting that last…
Laura: “Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?”
Kat: Yeah, right?
Laura: Oh, my God, there’s one for all of them.
Kat: Yeah, definitely.
Noah: But this one it’s just Harry, and he’s going off, and I’m like, “You know what? That’s what I want. I like that. It’s done. We’re done with the movie.” No sort of afterthought of “Ooh!” We have Fawkes flying away.
Kat: It matches the ending of the book perfectly because this is the last book that ends hopefully…
Kat: … and this is the last movie that ends hopefully as well.
Laura: But why couldn’t he just be flying on Buckbeak and continue to fly off into the sunset and it fade or whatever? Why did it have to do that weird face thing?
Noah: I like it. It’s interesting.
Caleb: I laughed out loud in the theater.
Laura: So did I! I was like, “What?” [laughs]
Caleb: And then got up and stormed out.
Kat: I mean, he’s happy. It’s cool. Whatever. I’m not a fan of it, but it could have ended a lot worse.
Laura: Well, you could have easily just continued to have flown off into the sunset like the rest of the films do.
Noah: It should have just ended with the Whomping Willow just doing some weird shake. [laughs]
Caleb: A dance. Screaming.
Laura: The Whomping Willow…
Kat: How it actually should have ended is on the Hogwarts Express with the letter from Sirius because hello!
Noah: That didn’t happen. [laughs]
Kat: And that, I think…
Laura: … was going to wave goodbye.
Kat: … is what bothers me, when they leave out the little things like that. That’s a sixty-second scene. That’s like an extra five hours of shooting.
Kat: How hard is it to put that in there? For reals. I’m just saying.
Laura: Also, I mean, this… it also changed Harry getting his Firebolt. Oh, we didn’t even talk about that. The fact that the whole Quidditch World Cup – not World Cup, Final – and all that, with Wood winning the Cup and everything. I understand that would have slowed down the pace a lot, but it’s sad that it’s not in there.
Kat: Nah, that’s okay. I don’t care about Quidditch in the movies.
Laura: I was so emotional, though, when Wood got the Cup. I don’t care about Quidditch for the remainder of the series.
Noah: You just care about Wood.
Laura: Yes, I just care about Oliver Wood.
Caleb: Oh, man, I’m the opposite. I love Quidditch so much.
Kat: Yeah, but Wood is not even in the movie, so that would have been awkward.
Laura: Well, then they should have put him there.
Kat: Meh, I don’t care. He’s an erroneous character. I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for that.
Noah: Well, before we talk about that…
Caleb: Yeah, you are.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Laura: You’re going to get mail from me. Texting you right now: “Hate you.”
Kat: Okay. Well, you’re going to see me in four days…
Kat: … so you can slap me or trip me or something. [laughs] I mean, don’t, but…
Noah: That’s about all I have guys.
Caleb: Well, then I…
Kat: That was a good chat, I think.
Caleb: Yeah, it really was, and this has probably been the most active audience chat we’ve had so far. Definitely more so than [for] the first two movies. So you guys are awesome for keeping up so well with us.
Kat: And for all the phone calls, thank you. We know it’s really nerve-racking, and it’s hard to call, but we thank you.
Laura: We love you!
Kat: Thank you. Wait, wait! I think we should give a round of applause to all our callers.
Caleb: Yeah, okay.
Caleb: That’s for you guys. What’s up?
Kat: And for everybody who couldn’t get through, I’m really sorry. I can only answer one call at a time.
Kat: But there’re still five more movies that we have to watch. So…
Caleb: Oh, dear.
Kat: It’s okay. Next time. I promise.
Caleb: All right, well, if you would like to be on the show, we are currently scheduling our guest hosts for the next book, Goblet of Fire. So get us your clips. To find out how you can be on the show, head over to our website – alohomora.mugglenet.com – or email us at alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to us on iTunes, and leave us a review, so we can read what you guys have to say.
Kat: And don’t forget to… all of our ways that you can get in contact with us on Twitter – @AlohomoraMN – facebook.com/openthedumbledore, and the phone number you’ve been calling all day. You can always leave voicemails on that. You know we play them on the show. So that number is 206-GO-ALBUS.
Noah: And we also want to mention our store. You can get T-shirts from us, and we should be expanding to other merchandise soon, but mostly it’s those shirts, different host shirts with sayings on them. I believe the link is alohomora.spreadshirt.com. That’s right, guys?
Kat: It sure is.
Noah: Okay, so you should go there and check out the show – shirts – and wear them because they’re… I mean, shirts are to be worn.
Kat: I’m thinking that we need to make Team Gambon [and] Team Harris shirts because it seems that’s pretty polarizing.
Noah: We can do that. Or mandrake [and] Desk!Pig shirts.
Kat: Yeah, those are being worked on. So it’s okay.
Laura: All right.
Caleb: Chill, Noah. God.
[Laura and Noah laugh]
Laura: Okay, and also, be sure to check out our app. It is available in the US and UK for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle. $1.99 in the US and £1.29 in the UK. That has transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. And it’s really important that you guys get it this week because we’re going to be at LeakyCon next week in Portland, Oregon, and we’re going to get lots of cool stuff there.
Kat: Yeah, and our show – just for all of you [who] are going, and we’ll hope that you’ll come and see us – is Saturday, June 29 at ten in the morning. We have some amazing special guests lined up and a really cool topic. So we hope that you can make it.
Laura: Okay, so that wraps up our live show on Prisoner, and that wraps up Prisoner in completion. Next we’ll be talking about Goblet.
Kat: [sighs] Sigh. It’s finally over.
[Show music begins]
Laura: So I’m Laura Reilly.
Noah: I’m Noah Fried.
Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 36 of Alohomora!.
Noah: Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]