Something Adorable This Way Comes!
Okay, maybe the giant singing toads weren't in the book, but we don't care, here. We only wish the toads had MORE screen time! These guys are so cute!
Title: Harry Potter
Format: DVD and VHS, BOOKS and IN THEATERS
Year: 2000 - ongoing
Genre: fantasy, family
Throughout the Harry Potter series, we know that the boy, Neville Longbottom has a toad named Trevor. I don't currently have a screen capture of him to ad to this review, but I will be working on that. Trevor appears to be a bufo marinus (Marine or Cane toad), where as the toad we see in the movie, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", sitting infront of a boy in McGonagall's transfiguration class, is clearly a Rococo, like our own Jabba and Gardilla, and guest toads, Big Fred and Mortie (see the toadilytoads.com photogalleries of these toads). The toads in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are hand either puppets or animatronic or maybe even CGI (our money is on hand puppet), but regardless, they are obviously based on Rococos and they are adorable!
Toads have long been considered to be familairs (magickal companion and protector animals) to witches and other magick practicioners. In the first movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", Harry reads that he may bring either an owl, cat or toad to Hogwarts with him. He didn't end up choosing for himself, since Hagrid got him an adorable Snowy owl, but it is in that film that we learn Neville Longbottom has the toad Trevor who appears twice on screen.
Like the movie "Frogs" (see our review here), movie makers tend to like to use bufo marinus and bufo paracnemis (Cane toads or rococo toads) because they are very large and thus more dramatic in a scene, intelligent, sit still and hardly ever try to run away, and take direction well. Unfortunately, toads featured in these Hollywood films are given voices that are not their own in the final cuts. Toads rarely make noise, and people expect them to "ribbit, ribbit", so Trevor is assigned a voice that is not his own in the first movie. The Rococo seen in the second film (Chamber), doesn't make any noise at all.
In most species of true toads (bufo family), the females do not make noise at all, while the males make a mating call and a release call. For example, our little bufo americanus boy, Tiny, does his mating call sometimes, but is otherwise quiet. Unless you pick him up and then he often chirps his little "put me down" chirp. Sometimes he doesn't though, and it seems to depend on his mood. So far, we've never actually heard Jabba make noise, at least not that we can swear to. We think we heard him one night but we were both tired and had gone to bed early and exhausted. We both heard what we think sounded like a toad call but it sure wasn't Tiny. Therefore it had to be Jabba. We looked all over the internet and nobody seems to have a voice file for bufo paracnemis. In any event, unlike nervous little Tiny, Jabba, being a Rococo and being alot bigger, never makes release noises, so to this day, we can't actually tell you what he really sounds like! That is why Hollywood uses other amphibious voices and usually, they use that of the Pacific Treefrogs which are easy enough to capture in various parts of California. I just spent a weekend in San Louis Obispo where they were quite loud. Too bad I didn't have a recorder with me.
We love the Harry Potter movies. I am only just now beginning to read the books and as I am only up to Chapter 4 of the first film, I can't tell you anything about the third book versus the third movie, but I can see just by readiing four chapters of the first book how the movies are different. I am not disputing that they may have left out critical details to the story, yet included a useless but fun scene like the singing toads, however, movies and books are different mediums. To those of us who've never read the books, we think the movies are damn good films in their own right. The costumes, special effects, props, characters, great stories and fabulous actors make it a great series. Sometimes, we must seperate the books and films as being two aspects of the same thing. Either way, the films are enjoyable and feature toads in a favorable light. Therefore, we have no choice but to give the entire series TWO ENTHUSIASTIC FLIPPERS UP!!!!!
Now, if you really want to make some magic, go play with Nicole's supercool "Kisco the Toad magical dress up game" (click here).
Also, here is a link to a page about the animals of Harry Potter's world: http://petplace.netscape.com/articles/artshow.asp?artID=4416