London Filming Locations: Die Another Day (2002)

This much derided 007 movie marked the 40th anniversary of the franchise and includes references to each of the 19 Bond films which preceded it. Having watched it again for this feature I don’t actually mind it as much as I previously thought. Sure there are some ridiculous gimmicks and too much computer imagery but the first half is pretty good. Continue reading

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TF Top (Double Oh) 7……Hotels Featured In James Bond Movies

Hotels have played a major part in the James Bond series of films over the last 50+ years with the secret agent going around the world on his many missions whilst splurging on many a fine hotel. Now, everyone’s favourite secret agent hasn’t always stayed in the accommodation listed here but they have all featured in the movies at some point. The cost of spending a night in one of these hotels varies quite a bit and one needs to be seriously minted to afford some of these places! With a slight twist on the usual TF Top 5/10…… series’ we bring you the top (double oh) seven (see what we’ve done there!) places to stay for one to follow in the footsteps of James Bond.

1. Hotel New Otani (from $217 per night), 4-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-0094, Tokyo, JAPAN.

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You Only Live Twice (1967) – This hotel in Chiyoda-ku plays the part of Osato Chemicals exterior for a few brief moments on 24, 28, 36 and 41 minutes respectively. The nearest station is Akasaka-Mitsuke. Its small, but peaceful gardens round the back are worth a visit for anyone wishing to take a break from the concrete jungle. More details here

2. Riviera Hotel & Casino (from $21 per night), 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South, USA.

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Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – Bond may have stayed at the Tropicana but its the Riviera which plays a more important part in the film. This is where he wins $50,000 and the opportunistic Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood) who he takes back to his room where gang members ambush them and throw O’Toole off a high rise balcony into a pool below not that they knew there was a pool there! This has been parodied a couple of times; in ‘The A-Team‘ TV series and more recently in ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013). Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino‘ (1995) used this place as the fictitious Tangier casino. More details here

3. The Peninsula (from $604 per night), Salisbury Road, HONG KONG.

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The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) – Just a stones throw from the ferry terminal on Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui is this hotel (seen on 27 minutes) which is where Bond tracks down Scaramanga’s mistress Miss Andreas Anders’ who had been collecting gold bullets at a Macau casino room. It is room 602 where he puts pressure on her to inform him of Scramanga’s appearance and plans. More details here

4. Hotel Danieli (from $893 per night), Riva degli Schiavoni, 30122 Venezia, ITALY.

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Moonraker (1979) –  Situated round the corner from St Mark’s Square, the Hotel Danieli is where Dr Goodhead (Lois Chiles) stayed in Venice. It could also be seen in ‘The Tourist‘ (2010) which featured Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie as well as former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton. The interior was also the inspiration for the tiny studio-built sinking palazzo used at the end of ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) which can be seen on the DVD extras. More details here

5. Langham Hilton (from $605 per night), 1C Portland Place, Westminster, London W1B, UK.

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GoldenEye (1995) – As Tokyo Fox reported back in March many Bond locations have been faked with Russia being a prime example in the first outing for Pierce Brosnan as 007. This hotel in London doubled up as the “Grand Hotel Europe.” More details here

6. Mandarin Oriental Hotel (from $39 per night), 48 Oriental Ave Alley, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, THAILAND.

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Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – Bond (Roger Moore) is reunited with his British assistant Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) at this place on 65 minutes whereby they share dinner. Inevitably their evening is interrupted! Anders (Maud Adams) tells Bond that she wants him to kill Scaramanga and will pay him at a boxing venue the next day. More details here

7. Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture), Calle 1a Oeste, Caso Viejo, Panama City, PANAMA.

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Quantum Of Solace (2008) – As you may gather from the name of this one, it isn’t actually a hotel but the “Andean Grand Hotel” in Bolivia where Bond (Daniel Craig) takes MI6 officer Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) to having been unhappy with her original choice as part of their cover. More details here

15 ‘Fake’ Bond Filming Locations

Part of the appeal of the 007 franchise for many is that the 23 official films have given viewers a snapshot of world travel taking them to all corners of the globe. The list of countries the secret agent has been to is pretty exhausting but as ever in the film industry all is not what it seems. Of course the world famous Pinewood Studios have been used countless times to portray all kinds of exotic locations but there are also many other examples of when James Bond locations have been faked. Cleverly edited establishing shots of a city’s landscape mixed in with the fake locations are a long-used movie trade trick and some of those go un-noticed whereas others are more visible. Here, in alphabetical order, are the details of 15 such places.

Afghanistan ‘The Living Daylights‘ (1987) – For Timothy Dalton’s debut outing as 007 this Central Asian location was actually filmed in the desert of Ouarzazate in Morocco which has played host to many films. ‘Lawrence Of Arabia‘ (1962), ‘The Mummy‘ (1999), ‘Gladiator‘ (2000), ‘Hanna‘ (2011), ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen‘ (2011) as well as parts of the TV series ‘Game Of Thrones’ were all filmed at this door of the desert city.

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The standout sequence in “Afghanistan” sees Bond escape from a Russian air base by aircraft. Whilst trying to diffuse a bomb he is attacked by henchman, Necros and as they scrap away the loading ramp opens and a net containing opium bags tumbles out of the back of the plane taking Bond and Necros with it. The net remains attached to the aircraft as the two men fight to the death clinging on to it as it hangs in the wind.

Azerbaijan ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999) – Hankley Common in Surrey, also used to replicate Bond’s family home in ‘Skyfall‘ (2012), is used for close-up shots of the Azerbaijan’s oilfields. Cuenca in central Spain is the site of the oil pipeline. A skiing sequence of events in the “Caucasus Mountains” was filmed on Mont Blanc near Chamonix on the Italian-French border.

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Capital city Baku is all fake; the exterior shots of  Electra’s palace is Küçüksu Palace in Istanbul, while the interior is the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa (also used in ‘Eyes Wide Shut‘ and ‘Four Wedding’s And A Funeral‘) in the glamorous town of Luton, Bedforshire (UK). The casino bar is Halton House in Buckinghamshire and the airport where Bond exits the country is Northolt Airport, South Ruislip.

Bolivia ‘Quantum Of Solace‘ (2008) – Unhappy with MI6 officer Strawberry Fields’ (Gemma Arterton) choice of hotel as part of their cover, Bond takes her by taxi to a far more upmarket hotel. The Andean Grand Hotel in ‘Bolivia’ isn’t really a hotel but is actually the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture) in the World Heritage area of Casco Viejo in Panama City.

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The main villain Dominic Greene, holds a party which Bond attends with Agent Fields shortly after he seduces her. The location of this is of course not La Paz in Bolivia but the Old Union Club in Casco Viejo where all the rich people used to go and party. The ruins were scouted out for the film in October 2007 and is (as it was back then) now like an old shell but believe it or not it was completely revamped for shooting which can be seen in the ‘On Location’ dvd extra.

China ‘Skyfall‘ (2012) – Though the aerial shots are real the rooftop pool scene was actually filmed in London in Canary Wharf at the Virgin Active Classic Health Club. Still in “Shanghai” Bond follows hitman Patrice into a high-rise building but yet again its London and the Broadgate Tower at 201 Bishopsgate although its the entrance on Primrose Street which is seen.

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Croatia ‘From Russia With Love‘ (1963) – Istanbul’s Sirkeci station plays itself as the Turkish station where the Orient Express departs from and it also stands in for Zagreb.

Cuba Die Another Day‘ (2002) – Cadiz in Spain fills in for Cuba’s capital Havana but the cigar factory where Bond goes searching for Zao was actually shot inside Simpson House in Hackney in north London

Haiti  ‘Quantum Of Solace‘ (2008) – Due to its diversity Panama doubled up for a couple of countries; the aforementioned Bolivia and Haiti. Colon fills in for Port Au Prince and sees 007 gets into a bit of a tussle in a hotel and rides along a crumbling street to the waterfront docks in another dangerous part of the city.

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Kazakhstan ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999) – Sites in Spain, England and Wales were all used to replicate this Central Asia country. Tudela in Spain is where 007 meets Christmas Jones. The pipeline terminal is the Motorola building in Swindon, Wiltshire (UK) but the actual pipeline is Snowdonia in Wales. The explosion was filmed at Black Park colliery in Chirk, North Wales.

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Madagascar ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) – Bond chases bomb-maker Mollaka from a snake-mongoose fight to the ‘Nambutu Embassy’ which was actually Nassau in the Bahamas; a place synonymous with previous Bond films. The “Madagascan” construction site is part of a military base at Coral Harbour on New Providence Island.

Montenegro Casino Royale‘ (2006) – Bond and Vesper check into the Hotel Splendide which is actually the Grand Hotel Pupp in the town of Karlovy Vary, Bohemia on the west side of the Czech Republic.

North Korea ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002) – Would you believe it that Aldershot (UK) was used to replicate the world’s most repressive country?! Although it was mostly shot on the backlot at Pinewood, parts of this Hampshire town’s military training area was also used for the opening sequence.

Russia ‘GoldenEye‘ (1995) – The Russia bungy jump at the start was Tusker Dam in Hittnau, Switzerland. Epsom Racecourse doubled up as the St Petersburg Airport, the tank chase was filmed in Leavesden (UK), Hertfordshire, St Petersburg Square was Somerset House (which was used as MI6 HQ two years later in the next Bond movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘) in London, the interior of the Russian church is St Sofia’s Cathedral in Bayswater on the aptly named Moscow Road. It’s exterior is Brompton Cemetery near Earls Court and the “Grand Hotel Europe” is the Langham Hilton at Portland Place in London.

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Serbia ‘From Russia With Love‘ (1963) – The previously mentioned Sirkeci station in Istanbul was used to portray three stations in three countries including Serbia capital Belgrade.

Siberia ‘A View To A Kill‘ (1985) – The pre-title credits may be set in Siberia but were actually filmed at a couple of places; Glacier Lake in south-east Iceland and the Vadretta di Scerscen Interiore on the border of Switzerland and Italy.

Slovakia ‘The Living Daylights‘ (1987) – Bratislava (now Slovakia but back then it was Czechoslovakia) is where the 15th entry in the James Bond series begins. 007 is assigned to aid the defection of a KGB officer from a concert hall in Bratislava. This was all shot inVienna which is less than an hour away.

Vietnam ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ (1997) – The caption on screen may say Halong Bay (Vietnam) but it is actually the limestone rock karsts of Phuket Bay in Thailand. It’s capital city Bangkok also stood in for the Saigon high-rise which Bond and Wai Lin abseil down. Many websites state that the building used was the Westin Banyan Tree Hotel BUT it is actually the Sinn Sathorn Tower on Krung Thonbrui Road, a kilometre down the road, where they make their escape on motorbike.

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Of course there have been many more ‘faked’ locations in the Bond films, usually with places around the UK filling in for other British and European towns and cities.

Many, many thanks to Tony Reeves

James Bond Filming Locations In Bangkok

Thailand’s capital city has featured in a couple of James Bond films; ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ (1974) and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ (1997), although Bangkok was used to portray Saigon in Vietnam in the latter.

I think I’ve mentioned on here before that ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ was the first 007 flick I actually saw in its entirety and I haven’t looked back since. This film not only opened up my eyes to Bond but to Asia too which, at that time in my life, was a continent I was still very ignorant of.

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Many websites state that the skyscraper which Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) descend (above) on 77 minutes on a banner is the Westin Banyan Tree Hotel (21/100 South Sathorn Road, Sathorn) BUT it is actually the Sinn Sathorn Tower on Krung Thonbrui Road, a kilometre down the road, where they make their escape on motorbike (below) leading to what provided the films most memorable action scenes. The building is used as an office and as I looked up at the 44 floor tower to compare it with the screenshots on my phone I could see that it was the same albeit with a little CGI treatment towards its peak. Although, I’m still not 100% sure that it is the building which they jumped off, I have no doubt that it was used for the ground level shots.

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Over two decades prior to that, the Bond production team were in town in 1973 working on ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ (1974) in and around Bangkok and perhaps more famously Khao Ping Gan a.k.a. James Bond Island, which first appears on 95 mins, and is  where I visited on my last trip to Thailand in 2008.

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This ninth 007 movie sees Bond on location in Macau, Hong Kong (see those locationshere) and Thailand where he’s on the trail of Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) and after his plan to pose as the villain backfires, he is captured and placed in Thai entrepreneur Hai Fat’s dojo where the fighters are instructed to kill him. This was filmed at Muang Boran a.k.a. Ancient Siam (formerly known as Ancient City) in Samut Prakan province. This place, which is the worlds largest outdoor museum, is first seen on 52 minutes and sticks around for some action scenes lasting about six minutes. It was quite amazing how similar this place still looks given the number of decades that have passed since it was filmed. I guess the flagstones in the screenshots (below) were laid by the production team and a huge plant feature now stands in the way of creating a better match-up.

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To be even more precise these scenes were shot at The Dvaravati House which is #18 on the map given when you purchase your ticket. There was absolutely no information on the net about which part of Muang Boran was used in the Bond film so I was well happy when I noticed the building just as we were on our way towards the exit. There is no wooden bridge going over the moat so maybe that was just added by the props department. Who knows? 40 years is a long time so it may have been there back in the 1970s for all we know!

Bond escapes from the Karate School at Muang Boran with the aid of Lt. Hip and his martial art expert nieces and the ensuing boat chase continues on to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (over 100km away!) and down Klong Dan (60 mins) with just about everyone apart from Bond ending up in the water.

It’s at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on 65 minutes (below) where Bond is reunited with his British assistant Mary Goodnight. They share dinner but inevitably their evening is interrupted. Anders (Maud Adams) tells Bond that she wants him to kill Scaramanga and will pay him at a boxing venue the next day.

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Many internet sights say that the Boxing Stadium featured on 74 minutes, where Bond discovers Anders dead and meets Scaramanga, was Lumpini Stadium but as 007 exits the place you can see a sign saying that its Ratchadamnoen Stadium. Other sources say that the fighting scenes were shot at Lumpini but the filming was done at Ratchadamnoen but I’m not sure which one. I only had time to visit the former and of course it wasn’t open when I was there so its just more exterior shots I’m afraid!

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The car chase which follows from outside the stadium was shot in the car park at Royal Turf Club and sees them briefly driving with Giant Swing (below) and Wat Suthat in the background.

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The dual with Scaramanga on James Bond Island takes place on 105 mins and is perhaps the films most iconic image. Near to Siam Center are a few signboards giving basic details of how Thailand has featured in movies over the years. Of course there was one for ‘The Beach‘ (2000) and there was also one for James Bond giving brief details of what you’ve read in this entry!

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See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the links below:

Tokyo        London        Prague        Venice        Como        Istanbul        Las Vegas        Phuket        Vienna        Hong Kong        New York        Panama        Skyfall

London Filming Locations: Skyfall (2012)

This triumphant return to form sees Bond go back to his roots with some beautiful scenery including the Scottish Highlands and lots of London scenes which were very satisfying for this misty-eyed Brit living abroad! Before all that though, ‘Skyfall‘ starts off with Bond (Daniel Craig) and Eve (Naomie Harris) in Istanbul on the hunt for a stolen hard drive in a city which also appeared in two other 007 films; ‘From Russia With Love‘ (1963) and ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999). Their pursuit of the assailant takes them through Eminonou Square and the Grand Bazaar (below) with the latter also featuring in the critically acclaimed ‘Argo‘ and the critically panned ‘Taken 2‘ last year. The chase continues on 500 miles south-east to Adana where the spectacular Varda Bridge sees Bond involved in a bout of fisticuffs on top of the moving train before M (Judi Dench) orders Eve to take the shot which results in him supposedly plummeting to his death 90 metres below.

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M is driven to a meeting with Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) at Willis Faber on 10 Trinity Square (below left) near the Tower of London. Only a limited part of the building is seen on screen but more of the building can be seen in ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider‘ (2000). On her return to MI6 at 85 Albert Embankment (below right) M witnesses it blowing up. This building was also used in ‘The World Is Not Enough‘.

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Bond is alive and waiting for M at her home in Knightsbridge (below) which was actually the home of 007 composer John Barry who passed away a year prior to the films release. The address is 82 Cadogan Square and Sloane Square is just about the closest Underground station.

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Not too far from here on 22 Ebury Street is a house which is worth a little detour if you’re in the area and it is a very important one for Bond fans. A little blue plaque on the buildings exterior tells us that it was the house of the man who created 007; Ian Fleming.

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Bond is driven across the River Thames with the London Eye in the background. The car continues onto the secret MI6 underground facility which is actually Smithfield Car Park opposite the meat market.

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Deemed to be fit again, Bond makes his way to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square where he meets up with the new Q (Ben Whishaw) in front of The Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner. Of course photography is not permitted inside but one can always try and take a sneaky one with the worst usually being that you’ll be told off by one of the guards.

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It’s Shanghai next for 007 and though the aerial shots are real the rooftop pool scene was actually filmed in London in Canary Wharf at the Virgin Active Classic Health Club.

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Still in ‘Shanghai’ Bond follows hitman Patrice into a high-rise building but yet again its London and the Broadgate Tower at 201 Bishopsgate although its the entrance on Primrose Street which is seen.

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The real Gunkanjima (formally known as Hashima) is used for the distant shots but the rest was all filmed on a set built back at Pinewood. Full details about this location, its history, how it was faked and how to get there can be read here.

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Silva is captured and brought back to the UK but he soon manages to escape into the London Underground with Bond in pursuit of him between Temple and Embankment stations on the District and Circle Lines. There are only brief shots of those stations before Bond finally emerges at Westminster station and rushes to save ‘M’.

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Bond’s journey takes him along Whitehall where he eventually ends up back at Trinity Square not that this is referenced. We are made to believe that this place, which is a couple of miles eastwards, is one of a handful of government buildings in the area.

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Bond and M flee the carnage at the public enquiry and change cars at Parkside Industrial Estate on Arklow Road in Deptford. It probably doesn’t make too much sense that one of the garages there is home to the Aston Martin DB5 car from 1964′s ‘Goldfinger’ but it’s a nice nod to the past.

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Bond decides to take M to Scotland to draw the villain Silva out into the open and though it is the real Highlands of Glencoe, the “Skyfall” childhood home of Bond was a set built on Hankley Common in Surrey which has also been used in ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ and ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002).

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Back in London, Bond and Eve appear on top of the Department of Energy and Climate change at 55 Whitehall and the Old War Office building alongside it played the part of MI6 in ‘Octopussy‘ (1983), ‘A View To A Kill‘ (1985) and ‘License To Kill‘ (1989). Not surprisingly, its not possible for the general public to go up on the roof which is a shame as that would be one hell of a shot to recapture! Instead, one has to just settle for seeing the building from street level only.

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See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the places below:

Tokyo        London        Prague        Venice        Como        Istanbul        Las Vegas        Phuket        Vienna        Hong Kong        New York        Panama

 

Gunkanjima In Skyfall: Real Or Fake?

In the 2012 movie ‘Skyfall’, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is seen cruising on a boat (below) with the exotic-looking Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) to an abandoned island. Bond is taken prisoner by the crew and delivered to the antagonist Raoul Silva, who is a former MI6 officer that has turned to cyberterrorism having orchestrated the attacks on MI6. We’re led to believe this island is off the coast of Macau but in reality it is actually in the south-west of Japan. Or is it?

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Gunkanjima (formerly known as Hashima) is a small island located about 20 kilometers from Nagasaki Port which used to serve as a coal mine. The island is only 480m long and 150m wide but with 5000 residents once living there it had the worlds highest population density which meant that in typical Japanese fashion that every piece of land was built up and so it came to resemble a massive battleship hence the nickname “Gunkanjima” which  translates as battleship island.

Half of the island was for the workings of the mine. The other was devoted to residential space, schools, restaurants, shops, a public bath and a hospital which the workers and their families called home. However, in April 1974 the mine was closed and these residents had to leave Gunkanjima, abandoning the island with all its buildings.

Since then, severe weather conditions such as typhoons have caused the buildings to deteriorate and as these structures started to erode away and collapse, Gunkanjima was closed to the public, and for many years could only be seen from sightseeing cruises that circled the island.

In the last few years though the place has been open to the public. So you can now walk in the footsteps of James Bond and experience the eerie and haunting atmosphere of the place. Well, not quite.

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First of all, sightseeing boats do actually take you on a 4000 yen round trip from Nagasaki Port to the island and yes you do get to actually go onto the land and snap away with your camera but sadly its just from a few restricted viewpoints.

Secondly, the Gunkanjima scenes in the 23rd Bond film were in reality shot back at the famous Pinewood Studios which has been the home of so many 007 films. As for the long shots seen from the boat they were for real though I suspect Daniel Craig and co never went anywhere this tiny deserted outcrop. One assumes the scene with him and Sévérine on the boat was shot elsewhere and a bit of movie magic was used to blend the Gunkanjima long shots with those that you see below which were grabbed from this great ‘Behind the Scenes’ video on YouTube.

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Skyfall‘ director Sam Mendes said that this location was created using a hybrid of a set and computer-generated images.

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Whilst making The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘ (2011) in Sweden, Daniel Craig met film-maker Thomas Nordanstad, who produced a short documentary in 2002 called ‘Hashima‘, and took extensive notes about the infamous ‘dead city’ during that meeting. This supposedly played a part in the production team choosing to include the Hashima model.

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So, do I still have an interest in visiting this island despite it not actually being used in ‘Skyfall‘? Hell yeah! I saw some amazing photos and stories about this place a couple of years back on some ‘haikyo’ (abandoned ruins) websites which made me want to visit it. It’s inclusion in last years Bond movie, though not real, has actually whetted my appetite for getting myself over to Nagasaki to see that city and its attractions and whilst I’m there  a visit to Gunkanjima and its window into a world that once was would be a must.

Star Wars Traveller – Yavin 4 (a.k.a. Tikal, Guatemala)

Thirteen seconds! Just THIRTEEN SECONDS! That is as long as the ‘Star Wars Episode IV‘ scene in Guatemala lasted. The shot of Tikal, first seen on 98 minutes (and again on 105 mins), features the Millennium Falcon spaceship flying over Yavin 4 which is overseen by a rebel standing on top of Temple IV in the western part of the national park. I have wanted to go to this 550-sq km place for a while now, and believe it or not, long before I even knew it was used briefly in the original 1977 film.

I arrived on the island of Flores (albeit one which is connected to Santa Elena via a 500m causeway) on December 24th following a seven hour bus journey from Antigua via Guatemala City. On Christmas Day I took an early bus to Tikal (not a pre-sunrise one though!) and I have to say that I was far more impressed than I thought I would be. My preconceptions were that it was just a jungle with a few temples and to an extent it is but there’s far more to the place though with thousands of ruined structures dominating the site. I spent the day in the company of a very nice South African couple; Shaun and Kerry, and we had a great day wandering around a fairly deserted place in the glorious sunshine. This was in contrast to the end of the Maya Long Count calendar four days before when by all accounts the place was packed full of people anticipating the supposed end-of-the-world.

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As you can see in the comparison shots above the towering pyramids are of a more glowing golden colour in the film. We reached this lookout point by ascending a series of wooden steps on the back of the 64m temple and the stunning views of the jungle’s green canopy really are the highlight for many. Of course the vast majority of visitors are none the wiser regarding the Star Wars filming location but I was quite surprised to overhear a few people mention the movie whilst we were in the vicinity of the temple. Not sure if they knew that this was the rebel base where Luke Skywalker and co launched their attack to destroy the Galactic Empire’s giant space station; the Death Star, and save his people from Darth Vader grasp.

According to chapter 33 of John Knoll’s ‘Creating the Worlds of Star Wars 365 Days‘ book the Rebel lookout was played by model-maker Lorne Peterson and his perch was erected on site with Richard Edlund of ILM pictured behind the camera in the behind-the-scenes shot (below right) taken in March 1977. According to this article on the Reuters website on December 18th the heavy camera and lighting gear was carried to the top of the temple using a pulley system and a guard protected the equipment with a shotgun for four nights in return for a six-pack of beer! The interior of the Rebel base was actually filmed at Cardington Air Establishment in Bedfordshire, England with the additional helping of a matte painting.

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If you thought thirteen seconds in ‘Star Wars‘ was short then thats nothing when compared to the three seconds which it is on screen for in the James Bond movie ‘Moonraker‘ (1979). 007 travels through the Amazon in search of villain Hugo Drax’s lair, encountering Jaws and other henchmen along the way, before he discovers it supposedly at Temple I at Gran Plaza (as seen in the screenshot below left) though the interior shots were filmed in the studio.

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Across from Temple I is Temple II and despite not being able to climb them (due to people tumbling to their death in the past) they were still awesome to just look at. Beneath the two Temple II pictures below are some photos of other ruined structures as well as the active wildlife in the 16 sq km central area.

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