Monday, July 16, 2012

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Some magic must have cast a spell on me. I do not consider myself a fan of the Harry Potter. As best as I can recollect, I have only watched less than half of the movies from the Harry Potter film series. In addition, I have only read two of the books from the Harry Potter series. Why on earth did I find myself visiting the ArtScience Museum to catch Harry Potter: The Exhibition?

Curiosity had propelled me to make my way to Harry Potter: The Exhibition. The exhibition allows its guests to get a close up look at the craftsmanship and artistry that went into creating the props and costumes that appeared throughout the Harry Potter films. I was curious to simply experience what had made the Harry Potter films so popular and well-loved.

When I reached the ArtScience Museum on 30 Jun 2012, I could sense that Harry Potter: The Exhibition is a popular exhibition. There was a long queue for the tickets at the box-office at the ArtScience Museum.

The queue to buy tickets!

Some tips for visitors:
The tickets to Harry Potter: The Exhibition are for timed (single) entry. Ticket holders are to strictly observe the entry and admission time that is printed on their tickets. The official notice recommends that visitors make reservations early for their preferred entry date and time.

Visitors may wish to take note that readmission into the exhibition is not allowed, unless a guest purchase yet another ticket. There is no restroom inside the exhibition hall, so it may help to plan a visit to the restroom before visiting Harry Potter: The Exhibition.

As the ArtScience Museum may be closed from time-to-time for private functions, please check the ArtScience Museum's website before your visit to determine if there is any closure of the museum on the day of your visit.

Visitors may also like to know that tickets to the exhibition can be purchased online from Marine Bay Sands Ticketing Portal and from any one of the Marina Bay Sands Box Offices.

Please set aside at least two hours to view this exhibition. Do consider renting an audio guide at S$6 each.

Audio guide for rental.

Consider bringing a sketch-book to sketch:
Photography and filming are strictly prohibited in Harry Potter: The Exhibition. I could at best take some photographs outside the exhibition. The craftsmanship of the sets from the Harry Potter films were so inspiring that I figured that if I should visit this exhibition again, I shall bring along a sketch book and a few drawing pens.

At the exhibition, I saw a lady who was sketching one of the exhibits. If I had brought along a sketch-book and some basic sketching materials, I would have been able to sketch some of the interesting designs that I had seen at the exhibition.

On the side, there are some wonderful images from the exhibition that can be viewed from this site:

Before the exhibition
Please be prepared to queue to get into the exhibition. I strongly recommend that visitors to the exhibition consider renting one of the audio guides at the exhibition entrance. It will enhance a visitor's experience of the exhibition. The audio guide includes interviews with various members from the team who had worked on the films. Through listening to the recordings of these interviews, I was better able to appreciate how the various props, sets or costumes were conceived and produced. The fee to rent one of the audio guides is S$6. It is available in English and Mandarin.

Before entering the exhibition, all visitors will be asked to pose and take a souvenir photograph. The organizers were thoughtful to provide visitors with temporary uses of scarfs and wands for the purpose of photo-taking.

The exhibition
At the start of the exhibition, visitors would be ushered into a room where sorting by a sorting hat would take place. Be prepared to experience a lot of excitement in the room. A few lucky visitors would have the privilege to experience how it would be to be sorted by a sorting hat. I observed that the sorting hat was very respectful of the preferences of the visitors.

Subsequently, the exhibition can be divided into several sections:

Hogwarts Arrival
Here, visitors will see a replica of Hogwarts Express. I briefly glanced and learnt about Hogwarts' castle. Yet the weekend crowd did not make it  very conducive to read the exhibition notes on display.

Gryffindor Common Room
In this section, I learnt that the lion is the Gryfiddor mascot. The room is decorated in the Gryfiddor's colours of scarlet and gold. When I saw Hermione's Grangers, I was reminded of various scenes from the Harry Potter films.

Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory
This is the section where visitors can learn about the props used by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. I learnt about how much effort was put in to come up with the right pair of glasses for Harry Potter.

The Boys' Dormitory.
© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Hogwarts Classes
Be prepared to lift battery-operated mandrakes at the Hogwarts classes. I did not like the screeching screams of the mandrakes. However, children may love lifting these mandrakes.

At this section, visitors can also learn about how the costumes and sets of the various characters were conceived to reflect the personality of the individual characters. To be able to appreciate this, it would be helpful to rent an audio guide.

The sets that made up Professor Umbridge's office would probably delight anyone who loves pink. Somehow, from the way the sets looked, Professor Umbridge does not seem to be a friendly professor to be with. Was she an unfriendly professor?

On the other hand, it was interesting for me to find out why the costume for Professor Snape was about the same throughout all the Harry Potter films. If you want to find out why, visit the exhibition and rent an audio guide.

When it was Quidditch time, it was time for interactive activities! Quidditch is one of the most popular sports in the wizard world. Visitors can throw Quaffles through golden hoops. Please pardon me, the ignorant yours truly have yet to figure out what Quaffles are!

Quidditch uniforms and equipment.
© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Hagrid's Hut
Hagrid is a half-giant. As best as I had figured out from the exhibition, Hagrid was a teacher of the Care of Magical Creatures class. In such classes, students learn how to care for magical beasts. Visitors will have a chance to sit on Hagrid's chair. I sat on it, and it was pretty huge!

The Forbidden Forest
In this mysterious looking Forbidden Forest, visitors can find life-size models of magical creatures like a Centaur and a Thestral.

Admittedly, even though I had the pleasure of using an audio guide, I had wished that I could have the luxury to have a fan of the Harry Potter films whom I could ask questions from. What on earth are these magical creatures? What are their significance in the film?

Dark Forces
This is possibly the most eerie and dark section of the entire exhibition. Evil and more evil was all that I can imagine. In this section, visitors can see the costumes of Lord Voldemort.

The most outstanding exhibit that caught my eye was the exhibit of a petrified Colin Creevy. The amount of details that were put in for petrified characters were simply amazing. Life-size silicon models of the petrified characters were made, and there was a lot of attention being put in to do the skin of the petrified characters. This was yet another time when I had wished I could have a personal guide by my side to ask questions from. Who was Colin Creevy? I had to keep my question to myself during the exhibition.

I was also intrigued by the designs of the masks of the Death-eater. I learnt that the masks were inspired by a 16th century Tudor period technique. This technique involves making a plaster, wax or metal casting of a face. Subsequently, a mask is made from the cast.

 The menacing Death Eater robes and masks as seen in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film.
© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Great Hall
I learnt that the Great Hall is the place to share food. It is the main meeting place for the students of Hogwarts. I simply remembered the grandeur of the Great Hall.

Nearby the Great Hall, I saw the Godric Gryffindor's sword. It simply caught my attention with its intricate design.

Exhibition Shoppe
At the end of the exhibition, visitors can look forward to purchase a range of merchandise. The hot favourite appears to be the Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. The Chocolate Frogs appeared to be very popular too. Visitors can also look forward to collecting house scarves, wands and more.

It was rather crowded on a weekend, so I decided not to get anything from the Exhibition Shoppe.

Overall, I think this exhibition showcases the artistry behind the sets from the Harry Potter films. I marvelled at the amount of thought and attention to details behind each and every set. This exhibition is likely to delight all fans of Harry Potter and any one who wishes to learn about the design of film sets. Be prepared to be entertained by the magic of Harry Potter. However, it may help to enhance your experience by visiting the exhibition on a day when there are relatively less visitors.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition
2 Jun - 30 Sep 2012
Art Science Museum
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore  018956

Opening hours:
10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. daily
Last admission at 9.00 p.m.

Nearest MRT station: Bayfront Station (Circle Line)

Other reviews:
Harry Potter: The Exhibition - review by Dejiki
Sneak Peek at Harry Potter: The Exhibition by Alvin Chong
Preview of Harry Potter: The Exhibition by Mary-Ann Soh
The Harry Potter Exhibition at Singapore's Art Science Museum by bookjunkie
Harry Potter The Exhibition At Art Science Museum, Singapore by superadrianme
Step into a world of wizards, spells and strange creatures by Jerome Lim
Harry Potter: The Exhibition by Time Out Singapore
Review: The Harry Potter Exhibition at ArtScience Museum by hpility
Yo Potter head! Harry Potter - The Exhibition is in Singapore!! by Paula Robinson
A Chunk of My Weekday: Harry Potter: The Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum on Monday, 9 July 2012 AND MY HARRY POTTER LOOT!!! by Jade

No comments: