Locations can make a film and conversely a film can make a location. Amazing scenery can add an extra dimension as well as advertising the beauties of a particular place.
The Man With the Golden Gun
Thailand is a country that has benefitted from being used as a film location. The islands off its coast provided the perfect place for Scaramanga’s hideaway in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. James Bond found the arch villain in a truly amazing tropical paradise. It was this tropical beauty that was also exploited by Danny Boyle in ‘The Beach’. The Thai island location was stunning and surely many flights to Thailand were booked as a result of these films showcasing the country’s natural beauty.
Sometimes the scenery in a film can overshadow the other aspects and at least if the plot and characterisation don’t enthral you, it is possible to enjoy the settings.
Cities make great locations for films too. The 1953 film ‘Roman Holiday’ showcased many of Rome’s attractions as sheltered princess Audrey Hepburn enjoys a day in the city with Gregory Peck. Together they visit a number of Rome’s major tourist sights.
It’s hard to believe that Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie could ever be overshadowed in a film but this is certainly the case in ‘The Tourist’. It is set in an around Venice and this unique city is really the star of this romantic thriller in which a mystery woman persuades a tourist to assist her. It uses all of Venice’s iconic monuments to move the story along.
Lord of the Rings
Italy’s city attractions have long been known but by choosing to film ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy in his home country of New Zealand, director Peter Jackson definitely kick-started New Zealand’s film tourism.
Jackson used a variety of locations to depict different areas of Tolkien’s fantasy world. The Waikato Region doubled up ideally as Middle Earth and home of the hobbits, while the mountainous, rugged Taipo region was where many of the battle scenes were filmed.
‘Australia’, which starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, didn’t perhaps set the world on fire but there is no denying that the scenery used in the film definitely made you want to visit the land down under. Filmed in the Northern Territories, Queensland and Western Australia, the film’s barren and beautiful locations are a great advertisement for the country, making film goers consider a flight to Australia to experience the Aussie landscape for themselves .
The Kimberly Range provides a stunning backdrop to the action. This rugged landscape is a real attraction for those who love the great outdoors. From the town of Kununurra, visitors can visit the Mirima National Park. Baz Luhrmann made great use of its canyons, waterfalls and amazing rock formations in the film.
Eat, Pray, Love
Many films involve travel to a variety of places. Julia Roberts recently starred in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, which was based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert. Following a messy divorce, Elizabeth sets out on a journey of self-discovery. She ‘eats’ in Rome, ‘prays’ at an ashram in India and finds ‘love’ in Bali. The locations in this film are essential to the story and are lovingly and beautifully filmed.
Another great travelogue film is 2004′s ‘Motorcycle Diaries’, which is based on the early travels of Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado as they make an epic journey from Buenos Aires to Brazil. Traveling through the Andes and the Amazon region and everywhere in between, they meet a huge range of people and see some amazing places. The film depicts South America in all its glory.
The Bucket List
‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ is a story of two men traveling at the beginning of their lives. ‘The Bucket List’ focuses on two men traveling together at the end of their lives. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play terminally ill men who travel the world to experience as much as they can. They visit the North Pole, Paris, the Taj Mahal in India, the Pyramids of Giza and Hong Kong and go on safari in Africa, among other things. It is really a chance to experience the whole world in one film.
Thelma and Louise
American road trips are always popular themes for films. With its wide-open spaces, long straight roads and isolated desert communities, the US provides ideal locations for a film. In 1991, ‘Thelma and Louise’ saw two ordinary women embark on a road trip due to extraordinary circumstances. After a run-in with the law, they aim to reach Mexico without going through Texas. This circuitous route takes them through Oklahoma, New Mexico and into Arizona and the Grand Canyon. It is one of many road films with themes of escaping the outside world and finding yourself. Roadside motels and family-run diners often feature in this kind of film, adding to the romance and excitement of the idea of a road trip.
Perhaps the world’s most familiar film set is the city of New York and many films highlight its attractions. Woody Allen is synonymous with New York and his film ‘Manhattan’ is perhaps one that truly shows the city in all its glory. Its black and white footage provides a glamorous depiction of the ‘Big Apple’.
So next time you are stuck for a holiday destination, why not head to your local multiplex for some inspiration?