24 May 2020

Mavora Lakes, New Zealand

  
Mavora Lakes Conservation Park is located on the South Island of New Zealand and consists of lakes surrounded by mountains, forests and grasslands. In the film THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING this location can be seen as Nen Hithoel, the lake where the fellowship from the title ends their journey across the river Anduin.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2:57:02
Warning: the text may give away details of the plot. Just before reaching the lake, the three boats pass the Argonath, two giant statues that form the entrance to Gondor. The statues were added digitally. The Weta Workshop in Wellington has a scale model of the Argonath on display, unfortunately it was not allowed to take photos. The fellowship decides to spend the night on the shore of the lake. However, the group is attacked by Saruman's army of Uruk-Hai, half man and half orc.
      
Boromir (Sean Bean) is killed. The hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) are taken captive. The other two hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), manage to escape in one of the boats. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orland Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) decide to rescue Merry and Pippin.

North Mavora, 16 January 2020
Mavora Lakes consists of two lakes, North Mavora and South Mavora, connected by a river. In the summer months the nature reserve is popular with campers. During our visit the weather was nice and we saw tents and campers, but it was not busy at all. In the movie the southern part of North Mavora is shown. To get here you have to drive a 39 kilometer (24 miles) gravel road by car. There is no public transport.

The road ends at a parking lot where the film was shot. Although there are information boards, is it nowhere mentioned that the first The Lord of the Rings film was shot here, contrary to several other places in New Zealand.

When the fellowship arrives at the shore, a large rock that divides a waterfall can be seen in the background. In reality there is no waterfall and the rock is a digital addition. The mountain on the left does exist but looks much rugged in the film. The ruins in and around the forest are set pieces.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2:57:57
North Mavora, 16 January 2020

On the edge of the bank is a forest. We recognized the spot where Aragorn stands thanks to the unique shapes of the branches of the trees.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2:58:45
Mavora Lakes Conservation Park, 16 January 2020

When the Uruk-Hai attack, Frodo hides behind a tree. It took us awhile before we found the right tree. It's about 150 meters (164 yards) walking northwest from the lake. The trees here are a little less close together. The fallen tree where Merry and Pippin hide behind is only a few meters away.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 3:05:37
Mavora Lakes Conservation Park, 16 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 3:05:37
Mavora Lakes Conservation Park, 16 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 3:06:06
Mavora Lakes Conservation Park, 16 January 2020

Frodo manages to escape the Uruk-Hai and stands near the lake. He decides to travel to Mordor alone. Sam comes after him, wades through the water and climbs into the boat. Together they continue their journey.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 3:14:26
North Mavora, 16 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 3:17:40
North Mavora, 16 January 2020

The fight with the Uruk-Hai was filmed in three different forests, besides Mavora also in Paradise and Closeburn. These locations are on private property and are not accessible to the public. The scene in which Frodo is alone for a moment, when he takes the ring on and off, was shot in Closeburn, near Queenstown. In the background Lake Wakatipu can be seen. During an excursion that we did a few days later, our guide pointed out this spot. Besides the lake, the mountains are also recognizable.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 3:03:01
Lake Wakatipu, 19 January 2020

Thanks to Niki Topgaard for indicating the locations in the forest. Watch his video about all The Lord of the Rings locations, it is amazing!

The extended edition on dvd was used for the screenshots.

Screenshots © New Line Cinema/Wingnut Films
 

5 May 2020

Milford Sound, New Zealand

    
In the movie MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, the sixth installment of the series, the IMF team of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) undertakes a dangerous mission to recover stolen plutonium. Filming on location took place in France, Great Britain, Norway, United States, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. The first day of shooting was on 8 April 2017 in Paris. Over a year later, on 25 March 2018, the last scene was filmed in the desert near Abu Dhabi.
 
Mission: Impossible - Fallout, 1:51:29
The extended period of filming was partly due to an injury that Tom Cruise suffered when he jumped from a building on 13 August. Production had to be shut down for eight weeks so he could recover. A month earlier, on July 9th, he had tweeted: "Thank you to the amazing people of New Zealand! I've had a great time filming the next Mission: Impossible here." In New Zealand the helicopter chase was filmed and the scenes set in Kashmir, India.

Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
These scenes were filmed in Rees Valley. The valley is located on private property and is not open to the public. Luckily, Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park is accessible. This beautiful nature reserve is can be seen at the very beginning of the film when Ethan has a dream in which he marries his ex-wife Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan). The priest is his enemy from the previous film, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).
 
From Milford Sound boat trips can be made through the fjords, all the way to the ocean. One of the employees of the shipping company pointed out the spot where the dream sequence was filmed, it is at the end of a boardwalk. To my surprise the tree, a mountain beech, that frames the scene so beautifully is real. The waterfall in the background is the Lady Bowen Falls. The same location can also be seen in the films Willow and Alien: Covenant.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout, 0:00:39
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
Mission: Impossible - Fallout, 0:00:49
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
Mission: Impossible - Fallout, 0:01:10
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020

Screenshots © Paramount Pictures/Skydance Media