Top 10……Filming Location Trips For 2014

Another year has passed and despite my reservations about the future of such ‘top 10……filming locations’ this time last year, I have managed to do enough locations to warrant another list. It’s quite 007-centric and has in the main included just topping up pre-existing entries. Here then, in no particular order, is the Top 10……filming location trips for 2014…

1) Entrapment, 1999 (Click here)

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2) The Hangover Part II, 2011 (Click here)

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3) The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974 (Click here)

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4) Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997 (Click here)

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5) The Wolverine, 2013 (Click here)

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6) Godzilla, 1954 (Click here)

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7) Notting Hill, 1999 (Click here)

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8) The World Is Not Enough, 1999 (Click here)

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9) Skyfall, 2012 (Click here)

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10) Quantum Of Solace, 2008 (Click here)

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For the best filming locations for other years please click on the links below:

2009     2010     2011     2012     2013

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Top 5……Movies Made In Malaysia

The Malaysia tourism board launched a largely successful worldwide marketing campaign back in 1999 called “Malaysia, Truly Asia” but when it comes to appearances in movies, this south-east Asian country has rarely played true to itself and has instead filled in for other countries on the rare occasions production has moved there. It’s a shame that Malaysia hasn’t been given more time on the big screen but watching these films will still showcase the splendour and beauty of this exotic country and give (some) movie fans a thirst for wanting to feel the aura of the locations where the films were shot.

Here, in no particular order, is the Top 5……movies made in Malaysia

1. Entrapment (1999) – Starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones, this is perhaps the most famous western production to have been made (and set!) in Malaysia. feature some beautiful shots of Malaysia. The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur was heavily featured in the most action-packed scenes in the movie. The Melaka River can also be seen in the movie. However, this movie did manage to annoy some Malaysian movie fans with its depiction of distances between famous landmarks. More details here

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2. The Sleeping Dictionary (2003) – Set in the 1930’s, this film tells the story of a British man (Hugh Dancy) who learns the local language and culture from his sleeping dictionary played by Jessica Alba. You can see it here. The majority of shooting was done in Malaysia with Sarawak and Batang Ai the places used in this movie which angered some critics due to its historical inaccuracies such as the White Rajahs actually being in control of the region at that time rather than the British who took over after WWII.

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3. Indochine (1992) – This won the Best Foreign Language award at the Academy Awards in 1992 and it follows the lives of French plantation owner Élaine, her adopted daughter, Camille and her lover, Jean Baptiste. Despite taking place in Vietnam, a lot of the film was shot in Malaysia with Penang, Sham Alam, and Ipoh being used to recreate the French colonial era. Of course temporary sets were also built to replicate the 1930’s period.

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4. Anna & The King (1999)  – Of course this story is ‘set’ in Thailand but due to the protests of historical inaccuracy from the Thai Film Board it had to be filmed in Malaysia. Protracted negotiations and rewrites resulted in 20th Century Fox finally moving the production, starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat, to the likes of Penang (Bangkok harbour and some street scenes), Ipoh, Parit, Langkawi and Selangor. More details here

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5. Beyond Rangoon (1995) – Depicting the events during the 8888 Uprising in 1988.You can see it here. It’s main star Patricia Arquette loses her passport at a political rally and, left to her own devices, she gets caught up in a fight for democracy as she and leader U Aung Ko travel through Burma as they try to escape to Thailand. The film, which has an emotional score by Hans Zimmer, was mostly shot in Malaysia with some scenes captured in Thailand. More details here

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Entrapment Filming Locations (Malaysia)

Perhaps the best and most famous movie to have been shot in Malaysia is ‘Entrapment‘ (1999) starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones as two international art thieves. It’s fair to say that this film, which cost just $66m to produce, doesn’t have too much competition although the likes of ‘The Sleeping Dictionary‘ (2003) and ‘Indochine‘ (1992) are worthwhile competitors. For the record, ‘Beyond Rangoon‘ (1995) and ‘Anna & The King‘ (1999) were also filmed in Malaysia but ‘set’ in Myanmar and Thailand respectively.

The Petronas Twin Towers in capital city Kuala Lumpur feature throughout but the most prominent scenes are on 64 minutes (see the screenshots below) with a brief cameo on 98 minutes. In the initial scenes movie magic makes it seem like the Melaka River, which is 144km away, is just a stones throw from one of the country’s most iconic sights. This blending of the scenery for the two places had some local people up in arms but this kind of thing happens all the time and is part and parcel of film-making.

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After a brief appearance on 75 minutes the film climaxes on 98 minutes at Pudu LRT station……or so it seems!! However, it is actually Bukit Jalil LRT station which is much further south along the same Sri Petaling Line. The signs were obviously just changed to its far more famous mass transit station and there’s also the rumour that it was changed as Pudu was the only station name that Connery was able to pronounce correctly.

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I dragged my girlfriend here on our second day in KL to take the match-up shots I needed with the action first taking place on the platform heading back into the city centre as can be seen by the buildings in the distance of the screen-grabs below but naturally a lot of time has passed since filming took place at this station so the trees and bushes in the background of all shots has changed quite a bit and boy was I confused at times with which scene was done on what platform. I’m not even sure if each part was actually shot on the platform it supposedly takes place on!

Connery’s character Mac is a punctual man often saying “I’m never late!” and “If I’m late it’s because I’m dead!” but when he arranges to meet at Pudu station the following morning at 6.30am (as ‘Plan B’ is put into place) you just know its not gonna be that simple.

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Sure enough, he shows up late for his meeting with Gin (Zeta-Jones) but with the FBI in tow too! He explains that he made a deal with them on his capture to help them arrest her. However, his plan is to help her escape which he does in a fashion which is a little bit ridiculous but nevertheless tense and exciting.

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Once Gin has made her initial escape, Mac sits down on one of the benches but they are no longer in the station. Or they may have just been props added for the movie. The advertising screens were bare in the 113 minute movie, which was directed by Jon Amiel, but in reality they are always advertising something or another.

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The other filming locations for this movie, which takes place on Millennium Eve, were in England and Scotland with the likes of Blenheim Palace, The Savoy Hotel, Borough Market, Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull, Eilean Donan Castle and Pinewood Studios featuring amidst the Malaysian scenes.

If you haven’t already seen it (why would you be looking at this page if you haven’t?!!) then you can watch ‘Entrapment‘ here