7 May 2021

Wellington, New Zealand


One of the filming locations of THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, the first film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Information board Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
South of the city centre Mount Victoria is located, a hill almost 200 meters (650 feet) high. Several scenes were filmed here that take place at the beginning of the hobbits' journey. We visited these locations on a tour, including a visit to the Weta Workshop. This company produced, amongst others, props, special costumes and sets for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and many other films. At Mount Victoria is a Lord of the Rings car park with an information board. It shows only one location, 'Hobbit Hideaway'. From the car park it is a few minutes walk.

Along the way, there are poles that point in the right direction. Without a guide, it would probably have been difficult to find the other filming locations.

Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020

The hobbits Froddo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin) are on their way to Bree. At the end of the day they spend the night in the forest and smoke a pipe. The tree that Frodo is lying on and Sam is sitting next to is not far from the 'Hobbit Hideaway'. The tree is not immediately visible because it requires leaving the footpath and walking down a smaller path.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:45:03
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:45:19
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020

The next day, Frodo and Sam meet two other hobbits on their way, Pippin Took (Billy Boyd) and Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan). They have stolen vegetables from a farmer. On the run, the foursome roll down a hill. This scene was shot on 11 October 1999 and was the first in which the four actors appeared together. According to our guide, Kate, director Andrew Jackson had thought that being this close would be a good way to get to know each other. Kate had also brought a few props, including a broken carrot. The place where the hobbits are tumbling down is only a few metres from the 'Hobbit Hideaway'.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:52:44
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:52:57
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020

Frodo feels that danger is coming their way. The tree with the many branches behind him is easily recognisable. The sloping path that he sees and that looks distorted in the film is nearby but not as close as it appears to be. The tree that the hobbits are hiding under was a prop.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:54:23
This is the 'Hobbit Hideaway' indicated on the information board. Because the tree was not real there is not much to see, except for the trees in the background that are largely the same. Our guide told us that the huntsman spider that walks over Merijn's shoulder was brought over specially from Australia because there are no large spiders in New Zealand. It is not allowed to import non-indigenous species, therefore the spider had to be flown back to Australia after filming was completed.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:53:20
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:53:29
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:53:35
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:53:51
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:54:01
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020

At night, the hobbits are still in danger. This scene was filmed a little further away on 30 October 1999. According to our guide, this is a location that many other excursions skip, perhaps because the exact spot can no longer be found.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 0:55:35
Mount Victoria, Wellington, 6 January 2020

The extended editions on dvd were used for the screenshots.

Screenshots © New Line Cinema/Wingnut Films
  

16 April 2021

Berlin, Germany




 
The film THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2 is the fourth and final part of the series. It is based on the third book of the trilogy with the same name. After the film was released a fourth part, 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes', has been published, which is a prequel to the original books. It is likely that after the success of the films, this book will also adapted for a movie.

Two films were made of the book 'Mockingjay' which were filmed simultaneously. Filming started on 23 September 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, and would last until 18 April 2014. Filming continued in France and Germany, the final day of shooting was on 20 June in Berlin. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, 1:51:57
The story is set in the near future. A group of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 must compete against each other in The Hunger Games, organised by the government of Panem. Only the winner will survive. One of the participants is Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). She leads a group of rebels and becomes the 'mockingjay' of the title, the symbol of the rebellion against the ruthless event.

In Berlin, filming took place at the former Berlin-Tempelhof airport and at the Messedamm Underpass. This pedestrian tunnel was built in 1979 to give access to the Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin. The tunnel lies under Messedamm and Masurenallee. The orange-tiled pillars and walls make it a unique location. Although it is hardly visible on the photos, the tunnel looked neglected, was dirty and full of graffiti during our visit.
In the film, Katniss and her fellow warriors end up in the tunnel as they try to flee Panem.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, 1:17:28
Messedamm Unterführung, Berlijn, 1 July 2019
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, 1:17:46
Messedamm Unterführung, Berlijn, 1 July 2019
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, 1:18:18
Messedamm Unterführung, Berlijn, 1 July 2019

In a relatively short time, more American movies were filmed at this location: The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Hanna (2011), Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Atomic Blonde (2017). 

Screenshots © Lions Gate Films Inc.
 

21 March 2021

Glenorchy, New Zealand




 
In THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, the second installment in the movie trilogy, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) continues his quest to the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor. He is joined by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakshield (Richard Armitage).

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 2:19:20
Filming for the three films started on 21 March 2011 and ended on 6 July 2012. More than during production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, scenes were shot in film studios and later digitally altered, such as the dragon Smaug guarding the dwarves' stolen treasure in Erebor. Because hobbits are smaller than, for instance, Gandalf and the actors are the same height, the original films sometimes used a forced perspective.

This was not possible for this trilogy since it was filmed in 3D. The scene in which Gandalf asks Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), a large man who can take the form of a bear, if Bilbo and the dwarves can stay at his farmhouse also seems to have been filmed in front of a green screen. The backdrop is an existing location, Glenorchy in Paradise Valley on New Zealand's South Island. This nature reserve is partly private property and not all roads are paved. We visited Glenorchy during an OffRoad 4x4 tour of several film locations between Queenstown and Glenorchy. Our guide, Pete Mitchel, had many stories about the films that were shot here. He has also worked on film productions himself.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 0:16:00
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 0:17:49
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 0:18:18
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 0:19:05
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020

Screenshots  © New Line Cinema/Wingnut Films
 

20 February 2021

O'ahu HI, USA




 
In the nearly 100-year history of the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, only one film set in Hawaii has won 'Best Film': FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. The movie was filmed entirely on the island of O'ahu.

From Here to Eternity, 0:24:18
The story takes place on the eve of the Japanese surprise attack on the American naval base Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Newly arrived private Robert Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) has a conflict with Captain Dana Holmes (Philip Ober) because he does not want to box for the regimental team. Karen (Deborah Kerr), wife of Holmes, secretly begins a relationship with Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster). Prewitt befriends Private Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra). In the city they meet Alma Burke (Donna Reed) in a club, with whom Prewitt falls in love.

Filming started on 7 March and lasted until 5 May 1953. Even though almost 70 years have passed, there are locations by the sea that are still recognisable.

Milton Warden and Karen Holmes meet at Kuhio Beach Park in Waikiki, a neighborhood in Honolulu. Although the area has changed, this location still has a small park with benches. In the background Diamond Head, a volcanic cone, can be seen. Later in the film, Milton and Karen meet here again.

From Here to Eternity, 0:26:26
Kuhio Beach Park, Waikiki, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 1:41:11
Kuhio Beach Park, Waikiki, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 1:42:20
Kuhio Beach Park, Waikiki, O'ahu, 11 June 2017

The most famous scene in the film is when Milton and Karen go swimming in the sea and kiss passionately in the surf. The beach is Hālona Beach Cove, which has become a well-known movie location, also seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, among others.

From Here to Eternity, 0:33:58
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 0:34:17
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 0:33:58
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 0:35:53
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 0:37:40
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 0:37:44
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017
From Here to Eternity, 0:38:10
Hālona Beach Cove, O'ahu, 11 June 2017

At the end of the film, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Aloha Tower in the harbour of Honolulu can be seen. The tower was built in 1926 as a lighthouse and now houses students and has an observation deck. The word 'aloha' is on all sides of the tower, a Hawaiian greeting welcoming visitors. The clock on the tower indicates the time when the attack began, ten minutes to eight in the morning.

From Here to Eternity, 1:43:38
Aloha Tower, Honolulu, 13 June 2017

Screenshots © Columbia Pictures