Monday, 31 December 2018

O'ahu HI, USA



 
In JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, the sequel to Jurassic World and the fifth in the Jurassic Park series, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to Isla Nublar. They want to save the dinosaurs before an erupting volcano will destroy the island.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:43:29
According to the end credits, the movie was filmed on location in England and on three Hawaiian islands: O'ahu, Maui and Hawai'i. We visited all islands but watching the movie I only recognized O'ahu. It is hard to miss the Ka'a'awa Valley, part of the Kualoa Ranch, that is also featured prominently in the first and fourth film.

We did the Movie Tour at the Kualoa Ranch on 12 June 2017. Although a day later shooting on O'ahu started, this was not mentioned during the tour, even though that same month several scenes would be filmed at the Kualoa Ranch. A year later, after the film was released on dvd and blu-ray, I was able to compare my photos to the screenshots.

When the expedition arrives on the island, they head for what used to be Main Street where a brontosaurus passes by. This set had been made for the first Jurassic World and was partially reconstructed on Papailoa Beach, on the north shore of the island. However, the mountains in the background are in the Ka'a'awa Valley and were added digitally. By combining three photos I could construct a similar image. It took a while before I realized that the image in the film is mirrored. The scene in which a jeep drives through the valley is also a mirror image.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:28:19
Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu, 12 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:28:50
Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu, 12 June 2017

Trapped in a bunker, Claire and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) manage to escape a baryonyx. The volcano has now erupted and the dinosaurs are trying to escape the lava. While running, Owen sees the tyrannosaurus rex. These scenes were filmed in the Ka'a'awa Valley.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:40:38
Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu, 12 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:43:41
Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu, 12 June 2017

Owen, Claire and Franklin escape the lava and end up in the ocean. They manage to come on land again, while above them a helicopter transports the T-rex. The beach where they come out of the water is Hālona Cove, previously seen in, among others, From Here to Eternity and Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides. The beach is right along the Kalaniana'ole Highway. The scene was filmed on 7 and 8 July 2017, it would be the final shooting on Hawaii. We were here a month earlier, the photos are pretty similar.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:46:40
Hālona Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:46:47
Hālona Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:47:13
Hālona Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:47:19
Hālona Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 0:47:20
Hālona Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017

Screenshots © Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment
 

Friday, 30 November 2018

Machu Picchu, Peru




 
The second episode of season 20 of the animated series THE SIMPSONS, "Lost Verizon", is partly set in Machu Picchu, Peru. It was first broadcasted in the United States on October 5, 2008.
 
The Simpsons, season 20, episode 2, 0:17:46
Bart has found a cell phone that his mother allows him to keep. His sister Lisa tells him that she can keep an eye on him as long as the GPS tracker is activated. Bart removes the chip from the telephone and ties it to the leg of a bird that migrates to South America. The other family members think that Bart has run away and follow the GPS tracker. Lisa knows what Bart has done but says nothing because it has been her long life dream to visit Machu Picchu. The Simpsons travel on the back of a llama but in reality these animals are not able to carry people.

Although Machu Picchu is easily recognized - its name is shown when the Simpsons arrive - the animators took some liberties in portraying the Inca City. The mountain top on the right is much higher in reality and there is no statue of an Inca god.

The Simpsons, season 20, episode 2, 0:17:57
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018
The Simpsons, season 20, episode 2, 0:18:00
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018
The Simpsons, season 20, episode 2, 0:18:02
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018

Screenshots © Gracie Films

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Machu Picchu, Peru



  
The second part of the film SECRET OF THE INCAS is set in Machu Picchu, high in the mountains of Peru. After Harry Steele (Charlton Heston) and Elena Antonescu (Nicole Maurey) have stolen the plane from the Romanian consul (see Cusco, Peru), they set off to the old Inca town where a golden treasure might be hidden.

Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018
Not much is known about the origin of Machu Picchu ('Old mountain'). The city was probably founded around 1450 by order of Pachacuti, ruler of the Inca empire. Because of the location, on top of a mountain ridge at 7,217 feet (2200 meters) altitude, it is assumed that it was built as a royal retreat. The Spanish conquerors arrived in 1532 but never found Machu Picchu. Nevertheless, the Incas abandoned the settlement somewhere in the 16th century for unknown reasons.

It would take until 1911 before the American explorer Hiram Bingham, in search of another ruin, accidentally discovered the deserted city. When Secret of the Incas was filmed here in October 1953, the existence of Machu Picchu was only known for 42 years and tourism to Peru was on the rise.

Secret of the Incas, 1:36:41
The film will certainly have made the public curious. Nowadays, if you want to see Machu Picchu you have to beware of mass tourism. A ticket should definitely be bought in advance, also for the train to Aguas Callentes. It is the only way (next to walking) to get to the monument. The number of visitors per day is limited, also a part of day (morning or afternoon) has to be chosen. This results in Machu Picchu being never too crowded. However, even if you decide to take the first bus in the morning from Aguas Callentes up to the mountain, you will have to wait in line with hundreds of other visitors.

Filming on location was limited to a number of overviews of Machu Picchu, including many local extras. All scenes in which actors appear were filmed in Hollywood. Part of the Inca City was recreated in the studio, not always accurate. When Harry and Elena arrive they see from a distance the tent camp of an archaeological expedition, led by Dr. Stanley Moorehead (Robert Young).

Secret of the Incas, 0:45:10
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:45:17
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018

At the end of the film, the local people gather around a small hill. At the top is the Intihuatana ('Tie up to the Sun'), a mysterious ritual stone. Its function remains unclear, it is assumed the Incas studied the stars and the sun from this place.

Secret of the Incas, 1:35:41
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018
Secret of the Incas, 1:36:58
Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018
Intihuatana, Machu Picchu, 30 June 2018

Screenshots © Paramount Pictures

Friday, 14 September 2018

Cusco, Peru



  
The film SECRET OF THE INCAS would have been largely forgotten if it had not been the inspiration for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Unlike the first adventure of Indiana Jones, which was partially set in Peru but filmed in Hawaii, this film was shot on location in Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Secret of the Incas, 0:26:38
In the early 1950s, adventure films set in exotic locations were popular in America. Screenplay writer Sydney Boehm told the San Francisco Chronicle that he got the idea for a treasure hunt in Peru after he had met the Peruvian singer Yma Sumac at a party. She was offered a supporting role in the film and sings three songs. Prior to the studio filming in Hollywood, a film crew of 16 people, including lead actor Charlton Heston, producer Mel Epstein, cameraman Irmin Roberts and director Jerry Hopper, went to Cusco in October 1953 to shoot on location.

The city, also spelled Cuzco, has an elevation of 11,200 feet (3,400 meters) and before the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors was the capitol of the Incas. More than 60 years have passed since the movie was filmed here but the historic city centre has hardly changed.

Plaza de Armas, Cusco, 1 July 2018

The film starts with the arrival and departure of tourists. The airport, Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, is situated in the middle of the city and was named after the first pilot to fly across the Andes in 1925. The airport has changed beyond recognition, only the obelisk that stood in front of the entrance in 1953 is still here today. We were here very early in the morning when it was still dark.

Secret of the Incas, 0:03:53
Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, Cusco, 2 July 2018

American Harry Steele (Charlton Heston) is an adventurer and works as a tourist guide in Cusco. He possesses a carved stone that contains a clue where an Inca treasure is hidden. Harry crosses the Plaza El Regocijo and the street Del Medio to enter a hotel. The hotel is nowadays a restaurant where guests are constantly bothered by street vendors, at least when we were there.

Secret of the Incas, 0:10:04
Plaza El Regocijo-Del Medio, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:10:12
Plaza El Regocijo-Del Medio, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:10:15
Restaurant Los Portales II, Cusco, 1 July 2018

Not much later Elena Antonescu (Nicole Maurey) arrives in the city, after a truck gave her a ride. She has fled from Romania and hopes to travel to America but is being chased by the Romanian consul. She gets off at Portal Espinar with the Iglesia de La Merced (‘Church of Mercy’) in the background. As soon as she sees a two police officers, she turns around. Nicole Maurey was never in Cusco, the scene where she gets out of the car was filmed in front of a screen. The woman coming out of the street and walking towards Calle Maruri is a stand-in. Although the walls have been reconstructed, the dome of the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (‘Church of the Companionship of Jesus’) can still be seen in the background.

Secret of the Incas, 0:14:05
Calle Santa Clara, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:14:18
Meson De La Estrella , Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:14:42
Portal Espinar, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:14:44
Portal Espinar, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:14:50
Corner Loreto-Calle Maruri, Cusco, 1 July 2018

In the meantime, Harry Steele is giving a guided tour and walks over the Plaza de Armas where the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús is located. At the time of the shooting, the building was still partly under construction after a heavy earthquake on 21 May 1950 had damaged many buildings.

Secret of the Incas, 0:15:13
Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Cusco, 1 July 2018

In front of the Cusco Cathedral on the same square Harry Steele tells about a famous church bell, the Maria Angola, but is pointing towards the wrong tower.

Secret of the Incas, 0:15:27
Cathedral, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:15:39
Cathedral, Cusco, 1 July 2018

Behind the tourists a small part of the fountain in the middle of the Plaza de Armas can be seen. The fountain was constructed at the end of the nineteenth century. The design comes from the catalogue of an American smithy and is not unique, the exact same fountain can be found in three cities in the United States. The image of the American Indian on top was replaced in 2011 by a gold-coloured statue of Pachacuti, emperor of the Incas. During the annual Inti Raymi ("Festival of the Sun"), which coincided with our visit, the fountain is covered with a cardboard construction to make it appear as if Pachacuti is standing on a stone platform.

Secret of the Incas, 0:15:35
Statue of Pachacuti, Cusco, 1 July 2018

The tour continues by walking on the Calle Palacio to visit the archaeological museum on Plazoleta Nazarenas. Nowadays this building is the 5-star Hotel Monasterio. The entrance, including the wooden doors decorated with lion heads, has remained the same. Note that the tourists who were standing in front of the fountain are not included, that scene was also recorded in front of a screen.

Secret of the Incas, 0:15:52
Corner Calle Palacio-Plazoleta Nazarenas, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:15:56
Door Hotel Monasterio, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Secret of the Incas, 0:15:59
Hotel Monasterio, Plazoleta Nazarenas, Cusco, 1 July 2018

Harry and Elena decide to leave the city together by stealing the plane from the Romanian consul. Elena is unaware that Harry actually wants to search for the Inca treasure in Machu Picchu. The scene in which they get in the car was also filmed on the street Del Medio. It is pretty obvious that they are not being played by the real actors.

Secret of the Incas, 0:36:13
Del Medio, Cusco, 1 July 2018
Screenshots © Paramount Pictures