Harry Potter the Exhibition @ Marina Bay ArtScience Museum: Magical? We think not!

So I’ve always been a Harry Potter fan since I was a child.

I dream of receiving the Hogwarts acceptance letter (forgoing learning English, Maths and Science anyday for Transfiguration, Charms and Flying. I mean, who wouldn’t right!)

Aww, how I hope this is for me! HAHAHHA!

I collected Chocolate Frogs cards like any real witches and wizards would. On the right you see Chocolate Frog cards ver1.0 I first collected when I was around 11-12 years old, which actually depicts scenes from the movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  And on the left, is the Chocolate Frog card I bought from the recent Harry Potter Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, which depicts characters from the series. I’ve got Professor Sprout here, which isn’t exactly my favourite character, I would have so much prefer to get a Sirius Black or Remus Lupin card HAHAH!

And so when the Harry Potter Exhibition comes to the ArtScience Musuem at Marina Bay Sands, I was so excited. I just had to be there, especially so when elson happened to be a potter fan too. And last weekend, I finally was!

But actually this Potter fan is actually quite sad to say that she feels pretty disappointed from the exhibition. 

It was all pretty awesome in the build-up to the entry to the exhibition I must say. If you ask me, what was the most exciting time of the whole event, I would say it’s the time when you are queuing up to enter the whole exhibition. Even though there was a long queue, but we couldn’t feel the usual frustrated, exasperated kind of mood that usually associate with waiting in a queue. Instead, everyone was evidently buoyant and joyous, and that includes me of course!!

Snaking (yes pun intended, Parsel-tongue anyone?) queue into the exhibition hall! Everyone’s feeling excited!

Aww! They had this (flying) Ford Anglia too!

Movie posters! I still remember how excited I was when they first came out!

As we were queuing, they had this green screen whereby you could take photos with your friends, complete with wands and house scarfs which they would provide, and they would superimpose your photos into some background from the movie. May be a marketing gimmick but being a fan, this sounds like fun to me! I was all ready to buy it already to be honest, but I was really disappointed when I saw the end product. For one, we looked too photo-shopped into the background, period. We don’t look like one with the background, rather, I feel we forced ourselves into the background. Hardly very magical.

And another, they don’t have Slytherin scarfs. We wanna to feel like ‘real’ Hogwarts students, and one of the hallmarks is that once you are sorted into a house, you’ll always be that house. HAHA! And since the closest we can get to the actual sorting is the Pottermore website created by J.K. Rowling herself, so we decided to use it as the gauge. HAHAAHA!! It’s all fine for me, cause I was sorted into Ravenclaw in Pottermore, and I got my blue scarf all right. But elson was sorted into Slytherin, and they don’t provide green scarf as it ‘can’t be seen due to the green background’. Well, erms… So yup, for all you Slytherin fanboys out there, this may be a little dampener for you.

So yes, this photography thing, aye or nay for me. I would say, nay.

So, moving on, after snaking through the long queue, we finally entered the exhibition. No photography allowed from now on so we wouldn’t able to snap anything. The first thing I felt was that, I felt like a first-year Hogwarts student. They had this mock sorting ceremony, where a few lucky kids could get sorted into the house of their choice. (I had wanted to try it! But it would be so embarrassing to fight over it with what, 5-year-olds? HAHAH!)

Here’s my Harry Potter Sorting lego set which I collected years ago haha!

And they had this whole gigantic mock-up of Hogwarts Express, complete with a lady holding the familiar lamp that Hagrid always held. I half expected her to say, ‘First-Years, this way!’ but she didn’t, and that’s about all that is left of feeling like a budding witch and wizard. From then on, it’s more like feeling like a spectator and a tourist. You don’t feel part of the exhibition and I thought that is pretty wasted actually.

I’ve been to the previous Titanic exhibition at the ArtScience Museum too, and it was nothing short of being fantastic, really. It traces the ‘life-cycle’ of the Titanic, from how it was built, to the grandeur of its maiden voyage, to the fateful sinking and to the recovery of the ruins and artifacts. They gave us a boarding pass each too, complete with the name of an actual passenger. So you actually feel, you are boarding the ‘ship of dreams’ as that very person. To top it all, they had all these awesome mock-up of the famous Titanic Grand Staircase, First-Class stateroom, the deck of the ship, and so forth. The whole feeling of being ‘involved’ in the exhibition was the most awesome part of it all, and I would have thought it was be something of this sort at the Harry Potter exhibition too.

here’s elson at the Titanic Exhibition last December

Truth to be told, it was pretty exciting at the beginning to actually see all these artifacts used in the movies. And one would inevitably go, ‘OH! Look at that nimbus 2000! OH! So that’s what Daniel Radcliff and co wore at the Yule Ball!’ But after a while, it did get a little boring. Like what elson said, one of the most magical things about these props in the movies is that, well, they are magical in the movies. When you see the golden snitch in the movie, you saw it darting around the Quidditch pitch. But here you see it lying behind a glass cupboard, looking all dead and plastic. I guess, if they had made us feel more ‘involved’ in the whole walk-through, it would have been so much more exciting, like for the Titanic case.

And another thing, it seems to be a little inaccurate. For example, I’m sure any Potter fan would remember Gilderoy Lockhart, yes the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher from the Chambers of Secrets. His props were displayed in front of a very big and prominent Hufflepuff house flag, but in no where in the book did I remember him being a Hufflepuff; and what’s more, they displayed a photo of him wearing a Ravenclaw Quidditch robe, so I guess he must be a Ravenclaw instead, so it doesn’t exactly make a lot of sense putting his materials in front of a Hufflepuff flag.

You can see the Ravenclaw badge here :p

They did have some hands-on segments as well which was commendable actually. For one, they did have this Mandrake area where you could pull out the ‘Mandrakes’ and hear their ‘cries’ but don’t expect to get knocked out by them so you won’t need earmuffs! And they have this area where you could throw these ‘Quaffles’ into the hoops and hear the ‘ding’ sound every time you score, but it feels more like the basketball you play at the arcade.

I was actually looking forward to the souvenirs shop. I mean it would be so exciting to see all the momentos and of course, to get some for myself! But the really sad thing is, the souvenirs are really expensive, expensive for us any way, that I couldn’t exactly bear to get anything much except for that Chocolate Frog, which incidentally comes at $6 per piece. Wands were going at $75 per piece; time-turner necklaces, which I really liked actually, at $120; wizard chess set, around half the size of a foosball table, $800. The T-shirts, which I had expected to be a hot-seller, were not exactly popular; mainly because there actually isn’t much design, which was basically the house logo splatted right in the middle of the shirt. So yes, it was actually pretty disappointing for me.

 that’s me in front of the souvenir shop

Besides Harry Potter exhibition, we also went to the Andy Warhol exhibition too. If you don’t exactly know who he is, he’s the white-haired guy from Men In Black III.

That’s Andy Warhol with Agent K from Men In Black III. I didn’t know the silver factory they visited in the movie was so sensational until I visited the exhibition!

Well, I wouldn’t go too much into it since that’s not the main point of the post. But my conclusion would be that, it was really quite a refreshing experience. It was awesome to see the famous Campbells’ Tomato Soup Can artist (He claimed he drank Campbell soup everyday for the past 20 years! Erm, coincidence that he died from gall bladder related illness later in life?). Even though we never really see ourselves as very artsy people, it was actually pretty fun. But I guess, it was also because we are not that artsy, that we could never fully enjoy the essence of the exhibition, but I would still say that, even for laypeople like us, it was fun, it really is.

The Good:

  • Pretty decent collection of costumes and props. If you are a Potter fan like I am, you’ll be sure to recognise many familiar items!
The Bad:
  • Lack of ‘involvement’ with the exhibition; inaccurate link to the movie at times; expensive souvenirs. -Look up for more!- (:

Some ticketing snippets for those of you who don’t know:

– You got to enter the exhibition within an one-hour window

– It’s best to buy the tickets from the ticketing office in the mall, in case it gets too crowded in the museum, especially if you met with private event like we did. It would be good to get them online too, but do note that Singaporean discounts will not be available for online purchases! When we were there, there was the Schneider’s family day going on, and the ArtScience museum was only opened from 3 onwards, and these were what we saw.

‘Too bad you can’t enter nowwwww!’

Look at the horribly long queue when the museum just open :[

– For Singapore residents, there is discount too.

For the full list of ticketing information, http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapore-Museum/Ticketing/

Cute big dog spotted outside the museum

‘Knight to E5!’

Last but not least, another of my Lego collection, Harry vs Professor Qurriell for the Philosopher’s Stone!

Ciao,

XL

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2 thoughts on “Harry Potter the Exhibition @ Marina Bay ArtScience Museum: Magical? We think not!

  1. Generally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great post.

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