2011 has been quite a productive year for hunting down filming locations in the likes of The USA, Jordan, Germany, England, Belgium, Turkey, Czech Republic and Japan. Click on the links below to see more.
1. Back To The Future (Click here)
2. The Bourne Supremacy (Click here)
3. Lolo Rennt (Run Lola Run) (Click here)
4. Star Wars (Click here and here)
5. Memoirs Of A Geisha (Click here)
6. In Bruges (Click here)
7. Terminator (Click here)
8. The Last Samurai (Click here)
9. James Bond (Click here, here, here, here and here)
10. The Karate Kid (Click here)
11. Indiana Jones (Click here)
Other 2011 locations for the films listed below can be found here
I went to see this fourth installment in the film franchise the other night as it’s a rarity in that it was actually released in Japan before The UK. It comes out in the The UK on Boxing Day but usually these films are released in Japan months after the rest of the western world. Of course I also wanted to see it as I’m a fan of the movies.
One local reviewer here reckons that the action isn’t quite up to that of the recent Bond and Bourne films and though I’m a huge fan of those movies I disagree with that train of thought as Ghost Protocol was full of action that made my palms very sweaty. It’s no secret that it was filmed in part in Dubai and the worlds tallest building features in an enthralling scene followed by one of the films more comical moments thanks to Simon Pegg’s portrayal of the bumbling English computer nerd who has a far more important role in this movie than one was expecting.
Other locations include Budapest, Mumbai and Russia where someone blows up the Kremlin and frames the IMF thereby activating the Ghost Protocol and leaving it up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his three buddies to save the day without any support.
One of my main gripes with the previous trilogy of MI movies was the over-use and over-reliance on the use of latex face masks and I’m glad to report that this cop-out way of telling a story is kept to a minimum. Running in at over two hours I was gripped by this flick throughout which is a rarity for a guy like me who has poor concentration.
You can see the Mission Impossible filming locations here
Slagging off this film in my review nine months ago still didn’t stop me from hunting down some of the shots which appeared in perhaps the worst movie I’ve ever seen! Most of them were shown in a flash inbetween the cleavage shots of the girls but as a man who works in Shibuya twice a week it was quite easy to recognise the briefest glimpses of Tokyo scenery. On their arrival in Japan we see the girls walking down Centre Gai on 6 mins past Tenkappin Restaurant (below left) and if you turn right just a bit further down you see the view seen below right.
The girls film a short piece to camera at the place seen above left which is situated at Shibuya crossing just before Centre Gai street. Every three minutes this world famous crossing descends into chaos as hundreds and hundreds of people cross in all directions and has been seen in a countless number of films. This one is no exception as the shot above right is seen. The green train below left and the famous Hachiko dog statue below right are within spitting distance of each other outside Shibuya station and both these angled shots can be seen in the blink of an eye.
The girls go to the Ministry of Environment (below left) at Kasumigaseki 1-2-2 in Chiyoda-ku for a meeting with some guy about global warming when there’s a big shake which they at first think is an earthquake but later discover is a monster which gives the film its cr*p title. Despite this very little, if anything at all is seen of the deadly monster. They try to make their way to the supposed safety of the American Embassy (below right) though I’m not sure if it actually appears on screen due to the “recovered tape” style filming of the film which was damaged in part by the mysterious monster and these annoying “effects” are used far too often to cover up the many loop-holes.
The wooden torii gate at the entrance to Meiji Shrine (below) outside Harajuku station is seen on 37 mins even though the caption prior to it says that its Shinjuku-gyoen Gardens. Even though its supposed to be January the two American girls are wearing just vests as they walk along the path in fear of the monster whilst Japanese people in the background are just going about their own business oblivious to the fact that theres a monster on the loose. Truly an awful film and I’m mildly embarrassed to have even featured these locations on here. Almost worth watching though to see how bad it is!
This film proved to be Cary Grant’s swansong and it was mostly set in and around Toranomon during the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. On his arrival in the Japanese capital on business he turns up at Hotel Okura (below) in the first minute which is located at 2-10-4 Toranomon. He is unable to get a room there so goes to the British Embassy at 1 Ichibancho in Chiyoda-ku which lies to the west of the Imperial Palace. It is here where he sees an advert for an apartment which he soon fast-talks his way into sharing with Samantha Eggar.
The first shot we see is of the impressive embassy building itself (above left) followed by a close up of the sign (above right) which I tried to replicate but its not so visible unlike my hand and camera which can be seen in the reflection!
A lot of the action takes place on the streets of Toranomon which all looks very different these days but thats not so surprising as it has been over 40 years since it was made! The embassy and hotel are the two main locations although Asakusa senso-ji temple (below left) does appear in the opening montage after just 12 seconds. The address for this bustling tourist attraction is 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku.
The three main stars take a boat to Mikawa, an old province of Japan, 11 minutes into the film where they visit a garden three minutes later. The next Tokyo location to appear on screen is not till the 91st minute when Yoyogi National Gymnasium (above right) is where the Olympic walking race begins and ends. Rather embarassingly it took me quite a while before I realised that its this event which gives the film its title!
The first ‘Babel‘ scenes in Japan don’t start till 19 mins have passed and its then that we see Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) playing volleyball on court in a school match. That was filmed at Ishioka City Centre Gymnasium (3-34-1 Minamidai Ishiokashi, Ibaragi-ken 315-0035) which is all the way up in Fukishima prefecture and as much as I enjoy hunting down these shooting locations there is no way I am going that far just for a photo!
Perhaps the main Japan location used in ‘Babel‘ was J-Pop Cafe (22 mins) in Shibuya at 31-2 Udagawacho on the seventh floor. I still haven’t been properly inside the place as I don’t want to pay so much money on an entrance fee. I’m not so sure but it seems from poking my head into the place that its not such a schoolkid hangout as portrayed in the film but is instead a bit more sophisticated. It appeared that way but what the hell do I really know when I only saw a bit of the place which is actually divided into three areas.
Tsuchiya Dental Surgery (below) is close to exit 1 of Kojimachi station and is where the confused schoolgirl has a dental appointment (43 mins) and even tries to kiss the dentist as he leans over her doing his job. This can be found at 1-4-12 Chiyoda-Ku.
There is fairly lengthy scene filmed in a park (62 mins) where Chieko and her deaf mates meet some guys and splash around having fun in the water fountains. That park is sadly no more not that it ever was what I call a park; not a blade of grass and just a small concrete area located beneath an overpass in Nishi-Azabu. The girls cross the road (lower left) and walk through the tunnel entrance seen below left and over my left shoulder in the photo below right. The tunnel can also be seen over the same shoulder of the actor talking to Chieko in the screenshot below right. In this park the girls meet the boys and the film-makers make the place seem way more interesting than it ever was.
Following the park they take a train to Shibuya and on 66 mins we see the inevitable appearance of the chaotic Shibuya Crossing (below) and Center Gai which stems off from it.
They end up in ‘Womb’ nightclub (below) on 67 mins which is situated in Shibuya in the middle of the love hotel area. The address is Maruyamacho 2-16 and its here that Chieko and friends dance to ‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire albeit the Shinichi Osawa remix.