5 Travel Destinations From The Movies
There are lots of reasons for why we go to the movies: to see the next big blockbuster that everyone’s talking about; to check out your favourite actor’s latest venture; or because you’re bored on a Friday night and have a craving for popcorn.
While all of these motivations are perfectly valid, there is no questioning the power of setting when it comes to sitting down and watching a film. From the rolling hills of Salzburg, Austria in The Sound of Music to the animated Sydney Harbour in Finding Nemo, a rich sense of place in a film only adds to the overall power of its message.
Indeed, you could say that the setting can sometimes become a character in and of itself. Here are just a few prominent examples of films bolstered by their diverse and dynamic locales.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03)
No list on this topic would be complete without mentioning Peter Jackson’s reinvention of New Zealand’s idyllic surrounds into the enchanted land of Middle Earth. As such, it heads this particular one. From misty mountain ranges to endless green fields and pastures, the trilogy has had NZ tourist office phones ringing off the hook since their release. While no actual hobbits are to be found roaming this ancient land, its natural beauty and cultural resonance more than compensate.
Casino Royale (2006)
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
Daniel Craig’s reinvention of Ian Fleming’s James Bond character was lauded as the finest achievement of this 2006 reboot, however the stunning backdrop provided by the Bahamas’ Paradise Island is surely one of the film’s most memorable features.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Steeped in history and a potent sense of culture, as well boasting a robust filmography, Paris requires no indirect publicity as a film location to bolster its reputation as one of the great cities of the world. However, Woody Allen’s 2011 homage to Paris, or, moreover, to what Paris represents for the artists, lovers, and dreamers of the world, painted a remarkably fresh picture of a remarkably distinctive city. Throw in Corey Stoll’s irresistible turn as a drunken yet inspired Ernest Hemingway, and the city of love seems to breathe afresh through Allen’s film.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Sofia Coppola’s drama/comedy focuses on the relationship between an aging actor (played by Bill Murray) and a college graduate (Scarlett Johansson) which develops after a chance meeting at a hotel in Tokyo. While the film pits Murray’s alienated and jaded Bob Harris against a culture he does not understand, and does not care to, the vibrancy and eclecticism of Japanese culture shines through regardless. From the fast-paced, brightly-lit dynamism of contemporary Japan to the enduring presence of its traditional history, Coppola gives us glimpses of a culturally diverse nation that blends East and West, and past and present, with stunning imagination. This only hints at the other natural marvels of Japan from the summit of Mt Fuji to the slopes of the Niseko ski resort, the nation offers a multitude of locations that embody its own affluent culture.
The Hangover (2009)
Las Vegas, USA
Bright, loud, brash, and altogether shameless, Sin City is another location which certainly requires no lengthy intro – however, this wildly successful 2009 comedy starring Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis put its standing as a party holiday destination beyond doubt. While it is not recommended to pursue the same disastrous experiences as the characters in the film, Las Vegas remains a desert oasis of lavish casinos and hotels, high-class entertainment from international acts, and buffets that defy the limits of the imagination. If you can stomach an overload of gleefully mad decadence, then there might be a perfect hangover just waiting for you in Vegas.
Rob Johnson is a media graduate and freelance writer who loves travelling almost as much as he loves film. After researching for this article, he decided to throw caution to the wind and book himself a trip to Japan’s Niseko ski resort.