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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Visiting the Warner Bros Studio

In my last post, I told you all about the Warner Bros Archive and the Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter exhibit. I loved it, and all my photos! That's not to say I didn't equally love the rest of the studio tour. I totally did, just in a different way, because I'm such a Potterhead, but I'm also a movie nerd and love to see the behind-the-scenes stuff.

warner bros studio tour

Your tour starts with a quick 10-minute video that gives you some reminders of past (as well as current) Warner Bros movies and TV shows that were/are filmed on location. After your video and any questions you may have, you go with your group with your guide - ours was Bob, who was phenomenal - and jump in your open tour vehicle where you'll zoom around the front lot. Look how fun it was!

Where you do go? Well, you're off to check out some iconic filming locations!

Does this bar-front look familiar? This is the bar from Shameless with William H. Macy. I don't watch the show usually, but Eric likes it. On the show, Macy can be seen passed out in front of this bar. Believe it or not, many of these facades also have room inside for crew and perspective. 

There were a lot of fronts from Pretty Little  Liars, which I also haven't watched enough of to recognize, but I'll be excited when I start the show from season 1 and see Rosewood on the screen. Fortunately, there were lots of places I do watch and/or remember. This stoop right here is from the episode of Friends where Phoebe got a bunch of money in bank error, then they "corrected it" by giving her even more money, so she decided to give it away to a homeless friend, who bought her a soda as a thank you. If you remember, that soda had a thumb in it, and she ended up getting more money for her pain and suffering. LOL!

Also, across the street (and in the street) was used for filming scenes from Jim Carrey's The Mask. Bob regaled us with a scene from the movie, which we all applauded, because he was awesome.

Does this city hall building with the columns look familiar? If you're old, like me, you remember seeing it in the original Batman series where Batman and Robin run up the steps to meet with Commissioner Gordon in several episodes. Well, it turns out they filmed that once and then used it as stock footage in a bunch of episodes. Convenient! 

Not all the shows are old or off the air. Here, Bob and I are reenacting a scene from The Big Bang Theory where the guys steal the copy of Star Wars the theater was showing, because they didn't get in to watch it, despite being in line for hours, because Wil Wheaton cut in front of them. P.S. It looks like we're running with suitcases, but it's only because film canisters are large and heavy. Ha! Only for you guys. And Bob.

I still don't know what this thing is or why, but I was intrigued enough to take a pic of it. (Sorry about that person's elbow) 

Can I tell you how amazing the prop department is? I took a lot of pictures and would have taken more if I'd been allowed to roam free. Maybe it's good I wasn't, because I might still be there. So, anything you can imagine being used as a prop is held in here. It's sort of like going to Goodwill, if Goodwill had awesome stuff that was all worth money. 

Apparently, things go here after they are made and used in shows and movies. Also, prop people purchase things of all kinds in many different styles and then the show designers come in to see what they want and rent it by the week. I saw several pieces that had hold tags on them. One of them was a statue that was $1600/week. Dang!

Also in the prop department are fun breakaway and foam props that look just like the real thing. Bob showed us this fake baseball bat and "splat mat" that totally look like he was just murdered. Did I mention that Bob is the best? 

Okay, so back to the Archive. You've seen the second floor, bu the first floor was dedicated to DC and Marvel, with Batman, Superman (and the above Kryptonite), the entire Suicide Squad and more. 

Here's where you can see all the costumes from Suicide Squad, get your picture taken behind bars at Belle Reve, and also check out some of the fancy props, like Harley's hammer. I still don't know how Margot Robbie did anything in those boots.

They're celebrating 75 years of Batman and, as such, have a whole warehouse dedicated to the Batmobile and other vehicles from all the Batman movies. We even got the chance to call Batman by turning on the Bat Signal. 

This awesome Batman tank car is my absolute favorite after the original Batmobile and before the Tumbler from The Dark Knight. It's fantastic up close and has so many details that you never got to see in the movie (Batman vs Superman). If there's ever a zombie apocalypse, this is the vehicle you want to have, though it probably doesn't have much room for your supply run. In here, you can also see Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman costume, Anne Hathaway's Cat Batpod (motorcycle), Poison Ivy's weapons and a pretty intimidating Batman statue in the middle of it all.

In between that and the end of our tour, we were able to enter a "hot set" to see what it looks like to be in the audience at a TV show. Most shows are on hiatus right now, so we were lucky, though weren't allowed to take any pictures inside. The set we saw was Two Broke Girls and it was pretty cool. We only got to see it from the front in the audience chairs, but we learned a lot of cool stuff about how live audience viewings work, and then we walked around the side and back, to get a view of where the crew and props can hide and I saw a wall of the dessert bar I've never seen on the show. There's a bathroom off to the left side? What? 

Okay, so then we were done with our tour portion with a guide (boo) and went into the building where they show you how movie magic works. We were excited about this for several reasons, and one of them was because they have the entire set of Central Perk inside from Friends. Not only that, but we got to go walk around on it! I didn't take nearly as many photos as I wanted to, but only because other people were waiting to get their picture taken. There's also a set up talking about costuming and manuscripts, which is what that pic with the costumes from Man of Steel is about. 

Look at all the details! I can't even tell you how exciting it was to me to sit on this iconic couch. I also got to stand in the alley where Monica and Rachel were spying on Jean Claude Van Damme on the set of Outbreak 2 when they all went to visit Marcelle, but I don't have a picture of that. Also, it's not as awesome as this, which I have several different pics of...and then some of just the set pieces I took while running away for other people to fan out over.

On to movie magic! I have always been fascinated by how they do special effects without relying on a computer to do all the work. 

Cue: forced perspective. In these two pictures with a set from Lord of the Rings, forced perspective is used to make the person on the right look like a giant and the person on the left look like a dwarf (or hobbit? Sorry LOTR fans). By now, you all know that Eric is approximately twice my size. I love these pictures where I it looks the opposite and the one where it's like I could fit in his pocket.

At the end of the self-guided tour there are three green screen ops. You can do any or all of them, with the option of purchasing your video(s) and/or photos. In the photos and videos, the green screen is replaced with movie backgrounds. The first is a broom from Harry Potter, where you don a house robe and fly through the city and battle Death Eaters. The second is a scene from The Dark Knight Rises where you ride the Batpod through the city. The third is you in space from Gravity working on your ship. Here's Eric taking direction from the WB crew member to make his Batman video more Batman-y. (That's a technical term.)

I loved my Warner Bros Studio Tour. So much so, that I'm actually looking forward to a return visit to see stuff I may have missed. While you end your tour at the gift shop, don't automatically dismiss it, as they have some pretty quality items from your fave movies and shows. The prices are competitive and similar to what you will find at the theme parks. You can buy your Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Beans here for the same prices, plus you can pick up Central Perk coffee and collectibles, like a Batman cowl or Bane mask. The prices seemed reasonable for those as well. 

Tour 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. Learn more or buy your tickets here.

What sort of movie magic intrigues you the most?

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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