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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Exploring the Warner Bros Archive

A little over a month ago, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post about a new Fantastic Beasts exhibit. Now, as you know, I'm a huge Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts/magical world fan, so I needed to go see it. The exhibit was to be mixed with items from the Harry Potter movies as well and found at the Warner Bros Archive at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank, California. Lucky for me, I was already going to be in SoCal and arriving a few days after the exhibit opened.  

warner bros studio tour

If I had been in town a week earlier, I would have been there in time to visit during the press preview and met with Dan Fogle (who plays Jacob in Fantastic Beasts), but it was not meant to be. Instead, I took the tour like everyone else can and had a short time to explore the exhibit before the tour moved on. Now, there's a lot to see on the tour, so I'll just focus on this exhibit in this post.

I'm not sure what I expected when we arrived at this building. It certainly wasn't that it was going to be two floors packed with magical goodies. The top floor was devoted to Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter and the bottom to DC Comics, including Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, and Marvel's Suicide Squad. I quickly ran upstairs to soak up all the magic and was immediately surprised by how much was packed into the space.

I was greeted by Harry's Hogwarts letters spilling from the fireplace and a mini gallery of movie artwork. This is just a small sample of what was on display, and each piece was gorgeous. Around the corner came even more awe-invoking props:

Up close, you can see all the creativity and colorful illustrations done by MinaLima Studios for all the movie newspaper, sign and toy props. 

And look! I met Aragog! As much as spiders seem creepy in real life, I have a soft spot for Aragog, even though he's bigger than me and tried to eat Harry and Ron that one time. I mean, Hagrid raised him from an egg!

THE SORTING HAT! Sorry. I was just really excited about meeting him. He sorted me...into Ravenclaw. Big surprise. {I'm sure that lovely man told him to do so, but still.} Also, check out the amazing costumes behind me. So fantastic. I still had the urge to touch them all, but there was more to see, so I restrained myself. Plus, you know, security. Here's a quick video of Eric getting sorted:

Fun, right? Here's a bit of the Triwizard props (and the omnioculars from the Quidditch World Cup). A moment of silence for Cedric, one of the greatest Hufflepuffs.

While we're not weeping over an untimely death, let's move on. You can see some of the fantastic school robes on the left. On the right was a case with the golden egg and the Triwizard Cup. 

You know had to stop to ooh and ahh over Arthur and Molly Weasley's awesome wizard wear. Who doesn't want one of those robes? They dress pretty well for being poor, in my opinion anyway. I just now notice that her shoes look a bit like peanuts. I'm sure that's just the lighting though. Ha!

Now we're on to the Fantastic Beasts part of the exhibit. You're welcomed into the world the same as Newt, by going through Port Authority. Check out all the fun luggage!

Again, we see MinaLima's great artwork in these newspapers and poster. Even though it has a very different vibe, it's just as beautiful and whimsical as their previous contributions to the wizarding world.

Jacob's apartment is not much, but it's home. The prop department did a lot to convey how bland and simple his life was, and then you see the contrast between his plain clothes and the colorful wizarding world. 

Is it weird that I was excited to see that we Americans get Transfiguration Today? Eric thought it was a normal thing for me to point out, while the employee standing nearby chuckled at it. Also, if you look close enough, you'll see that this is an issue that published one of Dumbledore's articles!

I really can't get enough of Newt's overcoat and other parts of his outfit. I'm also in love with all the fantastic beasts, because we barely got to see any in the Harry Potter movies, by comparison. I remember reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and wishing there were more pictures. Then I hoped that we would see many of Hagrid's creatures on the big screen. Alas, there were so many that go left out. I didn't even get to see a blast-ended skrewt! Unfortunately, I had to wait until the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened to see things like a Fwooper. I'm so excited for this new glimpse into the magical world, even I can never get used to calling someone a No Maj over a Muggle. 

For a big Potter fan like me, I would have paid the price for the entire tour to see just the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts props. Lucky for me, there was much, much more to see. The tour is around three hours long and includes a trip to the prop house, the front lot, possibly a current working set (we saw the Two Broke Girls set, but weren't allowed to take pics), the Batman vault and more. Check my next post for even more pics.

Rates for adults are $65 and $55 for kids 8-12. Kids under 8 are not permitted on the tour, which is understandable when you go on it. If you like movies, the tour is well worth the price for what you see and learn. Our tour guide, Bob, was the coolest. We came away with some phenomenal pics and a very memorable experience. Learn more or buy your tickets here.

Have you see the new Fantastic Beasts movie yet?

Disclaimer: Our tour admission was comped for the purposes of this (and the next) review, but all opinions are 100% my own. We had planned to take the tour regardless. 

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