The Warner Bros Studio Tour only opened last year, but it’s a must-visit for anyone who’s a fan of one of Britain’s most famous recent exports – the spellbinding Harry Potter series.
Giving film buffs a chance to step behind the scenes and marvel at the magic that helped bring JK Rowling’s books to the silver screen, the Studio Tour comprises sets, props and all manner of fascinating Potter paraphernalia.
Last month, furthermore, the attraction launched its first ever ‘summer spelltacular’, Summer Spells – a temporary, interactive exhibition that explores how the filmmakers made outlandish and fanciful spells seem so lifelike.
Most fans will agree, some of the most exciting set-pieces in the Harry Potter films are the adrenaline-pumping wand battles fought by the likes of Dumbledore and Voldemort. These weren’t created through special effects alone – they also involved painstaking, elaborate choreography.
Summer Spells’ exhibits include a new interactive experience devised by Paul Harris, the series’ wand combat expert, which gives attendees a taste of the hard work that went into bringing these duels to life.
Visitors will also see how the film crews came up with the imaginative, eye-popping special effects that made spells like Wingardium Leviosa, Meteolojinx Recanto and the Jelly-Fingers Curse believable and engaging – matching them to carefully chosen wand movements and sounds.
John Richardson, the Bafta-winning special effects supervisor who worked on the Harry Potter films, has assisted in making a special video demo for this purpose. It screens amid the shops and boutiques of Diagon Alley.
Finally, attendees will be able to feast their eyes upon some of the films’ most magical props. These include Voldemort’s wand – an artefact that the filmmakers made look like “an evil finger pointing off into the distance” at Ralph Fiennes’ request.
Summer Spells runs until September 2nd, so there’s only a few weeks left for would-be exhibition-goers to plan their visits.
The Warner Bros Studio Tour is located at Watford Junction – a short trip via rail for those staying at Luxury Hotels London.