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Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Harry Potter: Page to Screen opens the doors to Hogwarts castle and the wizarding world of Harry Potter to reveal the complete behind-the-scenes secrets, techniques, and over-the-top artistry that brought J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed novels to cinematic life. Developed in collaboration with the creative team behind the celebrated movie series, this deluxe, 500-plus page compendium features exclusive stories from the cast and crew, hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and concept illustrations sourced from the closed film sets, and rare memorabilia. As the definitive look at the magic that made cinematic history, Page to Screen is the ultimate collectible, perfect for Muggles everywhere.
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Top customer reviews
The first color photograph one comes across as one flips the book open is a full size portrait of Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts (Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore in HP films 3-8). His face expresses both concern and puzzlement, and it is almost as if he is there to welcome readers on a journey of knowledge and discovery which is what this book ultimately rewards the reader with. Flip to the next page, and one's attention is captured by a double-page (full spread) painting of Hogwarts, majestic in all its splendor, though details are rather fuzzy. There is also a fold-out spread of the main cast in movies 1-8 - the actors portraying Dumbledore, Hagrid, Hermione, Harry, Ron, Snape, Lucius Malfoy, Prof McGonagall, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, the twins Fred and George, the Dark Lord, and many more.
So, the contents...the book (531 pages) is divided into three parts:
Part I: The Making of Harry Potter
Setting the Scene
HP and the Sorcerer's Stone
HP and the Chamber of Secrets
HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban
HP and the Goblet of Fire
HP and the Order of the Phoenix
HP and the Half-Blood Prince
HP and the Deathly Hallows
Part II: The Art of Harry Potter
Locations: Set Design
Creatures: Special Makeup and Digital Effects
Artifacts: Prop Making
Part III: Epilogue
The Golden Boards
Acknowledgements and Colophon
The book goes in-depth into the many aspects of the film-making process, including valuable insights from and about the directors, actors, and all the other significant people who have worked on the movies, not forgetting the author of course. If you've ever wondered how the cast was put together, the process by which the directors for the movies were picked, etc. then this wonderful book answers all these questions and more. These details are enhanced by the hundreds of photographs that are found throughout the book, and what makes these pictures all the more extraordinary and valuable to the discerning reader is the fact that many of them were taken on set, during the making of the films, and apart from the photographs there are also full-color paintings in glorious detail. As a dragon fan myself, I was positively enraptured by the concept art of Paul Gatling depicting the mighty Hungarian Horntail in all its wondrous glory, which dare I say surpassed even the beauty of the dragon depicted on film? These are not minuscule drawings, but large-scale drawings in fold-out form. Other magical creatures get their share in this book such as the centaurs, dear old Buckbeak, the thestrals, the dementors, the process of transformation of Remus Lupin into a werewolf and many more. Be still my beating heart!
Remember all those newspaper headlines from The Daily Prophet, the Quibbler editions, and the Wanted Posters? They are depicted here in detail and also in the case of The Quibbler, in color! Ever wondered about the inspiration for those Death Eater's Masks? Its covered here in full-color. The significant places in the world of Harry Potter - Hogwarts, Diagon Alley (loved the map), the Burrow, Hagrid's Hut, the Forbidden Forest, and many more are also given descriptions and explanations in this magnificent volume.
As I continue reading through this tome, I have found some little things to gripe about - certain characters, albeit minor ones, are not really given any coverage, just a mere mention. Remember the ghost that haunts the abandoned toilet in Chamber of Secrets, i.e. Moaning Myrtle? Just a mention and that's it. I would have loved to see at least some description of the filming of the bathroom scene in HP and the Goblet of Fire in which Moaning Myrtle makes another appearance and helps Harry puzzle out the riddle, but no such luck. The book does however go into detail about the second task and the glorious underwater lake scene in Goblet of Fire, and how the lifecasts were conceived and made. But poor Hedwig gets left out here - except for a brief mention on p.238 and concept art depicting Harry and Hedwig overlooking Hogwarts.
Btw, for those who are wondering about how this compares to Harry Potter Film Wizardry, I'd say they are both complementary (I own a copy of HP Film Wizardry) to each other. While Page to Screen provides more details on the movie-making process and covers just about everything (I say just about as there are some things not covered), Film Wizardry provides more of an overview with many fun elements thrown in for devoted fans such as the various foldouts and inserts. For example, in HP Film Wizardry, readers will get a chance to peruse a copy of the Marauder's Map, Harry's acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a catalogue from Borgin and Burke's, stickers in the Advanced Potion-Making pamphlet, two boxes of treats (sans the treats) from Honeydukes of Hogsmeade (you can tear them out and fold them into actual treat boxes, not that I would!), a Quidditch World Cup Programme, a copy of the Yule Ball Programme, Educational Decree No. 29, a product catalogue of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and a Ministry of Magic ID card. Such goodies are not to be found in Page to Screen, so I'd definitely recommend getting both books. I've frequently found myself reading both together, and comparing notes.
My one complaint here is the absence of an Index - how could they have produced such a wonderful companion book to the movies and not have an index to help readers look up any detail that springs to mind? I can't fathom it, but I envision myself spending lots of quality time enjoying the delights of this book, so I shall not let this trouble me too much:) In fact, I am sorely tempted to purchase another book to keep as a collector's item as I can see myself thumbing through this copy until it becomes dog-eared! This is a beautiful volume of substance for any fan of the HP books and movies.
This is a large format 532-page hardcover. It's so huge and hefty so you can't really hold it for reading without resting it on something, like your lap. The cover is beautifully designed with an embossed title and a window looking at Hogwarts.
There are three parts to the book. The first is "The Making of Harry Potter" and covers the complete film making process of all the seven Harry Potter titles. The second is "The Art of Harry Potter" and that covers the characters, locations, creatures and artifacts. The third is the epilogue. It took me several days to finish reading.
I want to make special mention on the layout of the content which is beautiful and thoughtful. All the stunning photos and art are published at high resolution. On some pages, there are illustrations or patterns printed on a thin gloss that gives the page a slight shine as you flip over. The text is set on light cream coloured paper. There's an illustrated drop cap that starts every chapter, and every section in the chapter ends with a nice symbol. Even the choice of typography used is excellent.
The first part featuring the film production stories are a joy to read. It starts right at the beginning, from getting the copyright to make the films, to casting and filming right to the last day. There are lots of interesting details to read about, such as interactions between the actors and film crew, how the stage and props are made and the challenges and considerations of filming.
You read about how the children were like deers in the headlight on their first day of filming. There were extensive laughing, constant looking into the camera. As you read along towards the last film, you know how much they have grown as actors.
The writing is wonderful. The author Bob McBabely is a master at weaving the stories, controlling the flow and transition from one section to another. There's a part where Emma Watson admits to having a crush on Tom Felton and in the next sentence Tom Felton says,"Poor Emma. Of course I knew; it was obvious. But I never mentioned it.". There amount of research and interviews done must be incredible. Every film crew mentioned are given introductions and a thorough background on what they do.
The stories on set designs are really interesting. You can find out how sets are constructed, like Hogswarts and all the different rooms and secret locations. I thought the underwater scene in Goblet of Fire was totally CGI but it turned out that Daniel Radcliffe actually had to swim, while holding his breath, and act in a water tank. And of course, there are details on how that water tank was built, with heaters, bacteria-killing UV lights, and the little things that don't cross our minds.
The second part of the book is sort of like the encyclopaedic look at the characters, locations and artifacts. There are staff commentary on everything. You can look into the different classrooms of professors, read The Daily Prophet, check out The Weasleys' tent at the Quidditch World Cup, marvel at the different broomstick designs, etc. Amazing and detailed photos of the sets fill the pages.
There are concept art in the book as well, and they are great. There are designs for Dobby, dragons, props, environment art, etc. This is the only book where you can see them because there aren't any Harry Potter art books.
This book is highly recommended to fans of the Harry Potter films. It gives a new sense of appreciation for the film and the people who worked behind the scenes. It's something you'll want to make the magic last a bit longer.
- Compared to Harry Potter Film Wizardry -
Harry Potter Film Wizardry is like a condensed version of Page to Screen. Much of the content in terms of text and photos are duplicated. There are some information and photos that are not included in Page to Screen though. That book is designed like a scrapbook with little goodies -- booklets, stickers, maps, even Harry's letter of acceptance to Hogwarts, etc - attached to the pages. The layout is nice, magazine-like.
If you're just looking to get one book, then there's no doubt about choosing Harry Potter Page to Screen. If you're the true blue Harry Potter fan, then of course you'll want both books.