BTM Top 10……Filming Location Trips For 2013

Having already covered most of the filming locations I ever wanted to do, its getting harder and harder to add to the pile, so this list is not ’13 Filming Location Trips For 2013′ but instead will be known as a BTM Top…… list instead.

Thank god these end-of-year entries is titled ‘Filming Location Trips’ as that means I can include music video locations as well as film ones to bulk out the list a bit!! What chance it being just a BTM Top……5 list next year!!

This years list may lack the oomph of past years but there were still a few notable nuggets covered in the last 12 months. Click on the links below to see more.

1. Skyfall (Click here)

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2. Mission: Impossible III (Click here)

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3. Empire Of The Sun (Click here)

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4. The Toxic Avenger Part II (Click here)

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5. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Click here)

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6. Quantum Of Solace (Click here)

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7. The Wolverine (Click here)

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8. Lost In Translation (Click here)

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9. Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness (Click here)

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10. Muse – Panic Station (Click here)

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Other 2013 locations for the films listed below can be found here

Moonraker; The Green Zone; Love Actually; Basic Instinct 2; The Bourne Ultimatum; The Tailor of Panama and Kaiser Chiefs ‘Man On Mars’.

 

BTM Top 5……Mission: Impossible Filming Locations

Fuelled by a memorable and ever-lasting theme tune the ‘Mission: Impossible‘ film series currently stands at four films starring Tom Cruise as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt. There is talk of a fifth movie scheduled for late 2015 but for now we will have to settle for what we’ve got from a series which is the 15th highest grossing film series of all time with over $2 billion worth of worldwide gross. The series has taken place around the globe in the likes of the USA, Australia, England, Czech Republic, UAE, Russia, Scotland, India, Hungary, Canada, China and Italy so here are the TF Top 5…… Mission Impossible locations. Warning! This piece may contain plot spoilers!

1. Xitang, Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province (China): ‘Mission: Impossible III‘ (2006) – Hunt and his team track down the mysterious rabbits foot to Shanghai and, though its not named, the place Hunt ends up in is Xitang. He finds villain Owen Davian here and basically accomplishes his mission. More details here

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2. Bare Island, La Peruse, Bottany Bay, New South Wales (Austrlia): ‘Mission: Impossible II‘ (2000) – This island, south of Sydney, is villain Sean Ambrose’s hideout and one that provides one of the movies most iconic images as Hunt rides his motorcycle through balls of fire as he escapes from the fort. More details here

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3. Charles Bridge, Prague (Czech Repblic): ‘Mission: Impossible‘ (1996) – The world heritage bridge, which connects the Old Town with Prague Castle, is where things really go wrong with controller Jim Phelps plunging into the Vltava having seemingly taken a bullet on the bridge. This famous bridge was also used in music video’s by Linkin Park (‘Numb‘) and Kanye West (‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone‘) as well as 2002 ‘XxX‘ where Vin Diesel comes up with an out-of-this-world stunt to save the bridge and the city of Prague from a deadly bomb. More details here

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4. Anchor Tavern Pub, Southwark, London (UK): ‘Mission: Impossible‘ (1996) – This is the terrace pub on London’s South Bank where Hunt finally gets to take it easy for a few moments as the film comes to a conclusion. More details here

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5. Caserta Palace, Caserta (Italy): ‘Mission: Impossible III‘ (2006) – This palace has featured prominently in movie history and in this film it doubles up as Vatican City which  Ethan and the team infiltrate to capture antagonist Davian who is there to obtain the mysterious ‘Rabbit’s Foot’. More details here

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BTM Top 5……Indiana Jones Filming Locations

Poor old Indy! A classic iconic character from a highly popular franchise but belonging to a franchise that often gets forgotten about when everyone is going on about the Star Wars with regard to Disney’s acquirement of LucasFilm. When they paid $4 billion dollars to buy out the production company they also gained Indiana Jones too. With Walt Disney Studios announcing a week ago that it had reached a marketing and distribution agreement with Paramount Pictures for future Indiana Jones films the process of making and releasing Indy 5 should be much easier. To celebrate the news that there may finally be some more Indiana Jones material on the way, we have managed to cobble together some Indy locations for this feature! Here then, in no particular order, is the TF Top 5……Indiana Jones Filming Locations (that we’ve been to!!)

1. Petra (Jordan) – ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade‘ (1989): The search for the grail leads Indy through the narrow Siq to the splendour of The Treasury at this world heritage site. It featured less memorably in ‘Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger‘ (1977) before our favourite fedora wearing doctor made it more famous over a decade later with Sean Connery, who played his father, by his side. More details here

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2. Sidi Bouhlel, Nefta (Tunisia) – ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark‘ (1981): When it comes to popular cultural references, yet again Indiana Jones lives in the shadows of ‘Star Wars‘ where the canyon memorably featured in the 1977 original film. George Lucas was obviously impressed with the area as he used it again years later for the scene where Indiana threatens to blow up the Ark. More details here

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3. Chiesa di San Barnaba, Venice (Italy) – ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade‘ (1989): Indy finds an important clue relating to the numeral ‘X’ in this place which is a library in the film. More details here

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4. Royal Horticultural Hall, London (UK) – ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade‘ (1989): This place in Westminster on Greycoat Street portrayed Berlin Airport as it did yet again in ‘The Saint‘ (1997). More details here

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5. Kairouan (Tunisia) – ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark‘ (1981): The streets of this Islamic holy city in Tunisia’s carpet capital represented Cairo in Egypt and many of these places look very similar today. Perhaps the most famous scene is the one in the market where Harrison Ford (kind of!) improvised a scene and just shot the sword-wielding assassin as the extreme heat was affecting his health and he just wanted a short end to the filming. More details here

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BTM Top 5……Kyoto Filming Locations

Inevitably the majority of foreign film productions usually only come to Tokyo when they make their films in Japan but a handful have also taken place in Kyoto and so here are theTokyo Fox top 5……Kyoto Filming Locations…

1. Fushimi-Inari taisha Jinja – One of the coolest places in Japan, this shrine in the mountains has hundreds and hundreds of tori gates with its moment of fame coming when it featured in ‘Memoirs Of A Geisha‘ (2006) as a young Chiyo runs through them in one of the movie’s most defining moments. More details here

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2. Chion-in – A bit of CGI is used in ‘The Last Samurai‘ (2003) as the steep steps at this shrine lead to a very dominating building directly at the top. In reality there is no such place dominating the skyline. The same main entrance gate, which is protected by two guards in that film, is also seen briefly in ’Lost In Translation‘ (2003) as Charlotte (Scarlett Johanson) heads in that direction. More details here and here 

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3. Heian-jingu Shrine – Scarlett Johanson walks over the stepping stones in this shrine’s garden in ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003) before moments later walking across the impressive shrines grounds. The beautiful bridge amid the gardens also appears briefly in the final moments of ’Memoirs Of A Geisha‘ (2006). More details here and here

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4. Kiyomizudera – A very major sight in its own right and nearly always part of one’s itinerary when visiting Kyoto. It featured highly in one extensive scene in ’Wasabi‘ (2000) with Hubert (Jean Reno) and his former colleague Momo investigating Miko’s death whereby they find some important clues among the wooden placades. The three storey pagoda features a few times in ’Memoirs Of A Geisha‘ (2006) between scenes to  show that a new day or season has begun. More details here and here

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5. Yoshimine-dera Temple – It may be Fushimi-inari where the young Chiyo starts her run but a bit of movie magic has her ending up at this temple where she throws the Chairman’s coin into the saisenbako and makes a wish in ‘Memoirs Of A Geisha‘ (2006). Be aware that this temple is a 3o minute bus ride away from Mukomachi station on the JR Kyoto Line. More details here

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Review: Films Set In Japan – 47 Rōnin (2013)

As the end credits finally roll on this 121 minute tale of honour, loyalty and sacrifice a caption says, as it usually does in all movies, that “all characters appearing in this work are fictitious” and so on which is a shame as the story of these 47 brave heroes is far greater than what’s served up in this over-fictionalised film.

Admittedly, expectations for this new re-working of a famous Japanese story were pretty low to start with and the additions of CGI beasts, monsters, witches, ghosts and gladiators did nothing to stop the rot. In fact, they did more harm than good in my opinion and Keanu Reeves playing a “half-breed” character created solely for the film wasn’t much better. I felt his character Kai was rather under-used in the first half of this movie and though he has more time on screen in the latter part its clear that his presence is just for the benefit of Hollywood with laughable English dialogue and some romantic shenanigans thrown in for good measure too.

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Feudal Japan was recreated on a specially created set at Shepperton Studios in London as well as in Budapest and the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The story starts off with Kai being found and raised by Lord Asano as a servant who acquires some sword mastery and the affections of his daughter, Mika. However, he doesn’t gain the respect of Asano’s band of samurai including Oishi played by Hiroyuki Sanada from ‘The Last Samurai‘ (2003). Anyway, there’s some kind of hallucination trick performed on Asano by neighbouring lord Kira and Rinko Kikuchi’s witch character that results in him having to kill himself as punishment.

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Without their master the samurai are brought together again one year on with a plot to avenge their avenge the death and dishonour of their leader by raiding the chief instigators castle. By now Kai is a much better and improved fighter having spent the year as a slave fighting beasts, monsters and what-have-you-not. Needless to say that he eventually earns the respect of those that previously looked down on him.

My girlfriend’s mum was originally going to accompany me to this but sadly had to pass on such an invitation which was a shame as I’d love to get the opinion of a Japanese person on this. Whilst I was groaning with displeasure at the terribly cheesy dialogue and bad English (and that was just from Reeves!) in the films final scenes the lady sat a couple of seats to my right was blubbering and sniffling away no end. I’m not Japanese and so can’t really pass judgement too much on Japan’s most famous example of the bushido code but I would’ve thought the Japanese people would be embarrassed by this over-the-top Hollywood version.

Only a few days ago did Beyond The Movies bring you the backstory on the real 47 Rōnin and where their resting place can be found in Tokyo The film ends with a caption or two informing the audience that every December 14th, the 47 Rōnin are honoured with a procession and ceremony at Sengakuji Temple. Those reading this in Japan would be better off spending their time visiting that temple than watching this.

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Tokyo Fox Rating 4/10