28 December 2021

Marina Bay, Singapore

Twenty years after aliens attacked Earth in Independence Day, the film received a sequel in 2016, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. Once again danger is lurking from outer space, but after the establishment of the Earth Space Defense by the United Nations, countries are better prepared for a new invasion.

Independence Day: Resurgence, 1:39:42
Warning: the text may give away details of the plot. The original movie was set entirely in the United States. In this sequel, the moon, planet Mars, and Rhea, one of Saturn's moons, are colonized. The aliens are now also targeting Asia: after Dubai, Singapore is completely destroyed in less than a minute. It is not clear to me if filming took place in this city. Most of the shots seem to consist of models and computer animations.

This was probably the main reason to have the attack set in the evening. Although some buildings are recognizable, the surroundings do not match.

Seeing buildings collapsing and cars flying in the sky, people run in panic from their cars that are stuck in traffic. The ArtScience Museum can be seen on the left. The shape of the building, designed by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, is inspired by a lotus flower. As can be seen in the photo, the museum, which opened in 2011, is not located next to a road but on Marina Bay.

Independence Day: Resurgence, 0:41:14
ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 27 December 2019

One of the skyscrapers that collapses has the Hitachi sign, but this company does not own any highrise buildings in Singapore. For comparison, I added a photo of the city skyline as seen from the observation deck of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.

Independence Day: Resurgence, 0:41:20
Singapore, 27 December 2019

The luxurious Marina Bay Sands hotel is seen for a moment before collapsing. On the far left one of the three towers, connected at the top by a roof construction, is visible.

Independence Day: Resurgence, 0:41:26
Marina Bay, Singapore, 27 December 2019

The hotel is better seen on one of the four different movie posters. For more information on Marina Bay Sands and Singapore, see the blog post Marina Bay, Singapore that I wrote last year about the film Crazy Rich Asians.

Movie poster Independence Day:
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore,
27 December 2019

Screenshots and movie poster © 20th Century Fox/TSG Entertainment

28 November 2021

Glenorchy, New Zealand

The movie X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE features Hugh Jackman for the fourth time as the mutant Wolverine, the alter ego of James Howlett but better known as Logan. It is also the fourth film in the X-Men series, the first of which came out in 2000. This film is a prequel and shows how the young James Howlett transforms into Wolverine.

Shooting took place in Australia, Canada, the United States and several locations in New Zealand. Six weeks of filming on the South Island started at the of January 2008. One of the locations chosen was Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, also seen in the second part of The Hobbit

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 1:10:30
Filming was not without controversy because a set of a farmhouse was to be blown up in the nature preserve. The explosives were stored at the Queenstown Fun Centre, an ice rink. Because the facility struggled financially, it could use the money the film company paid for storage. The local ice hockey players, however, had to move elsewhere. After the district council had been informed, the explosives were re-located.

Our visit to Glenorchy started in Queenstown where we were picked up by our guide Pete Mitchel of OffRoad 4x4 for an excursion to several film locations. 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:45:20
Before we reached Glenorchy, Pete pointed out a scene in the film where Travis and Heather Hudson (Max Cullen and Julia Blake), the elderly couple giving Logan shelter, are driving on a bridge on the way to their farm. The story at that point is set in Canada, where people drive on the right. However, the arrow on the road shows that filming was done in New Zealand, here cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Earlier in the film, Logan can be seen working as a logger in Canada in 1979. His girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins) is driving not far from where he is working. Pete was able to show us the exact spot on Paradise Road where this was filmed.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:30:12
Paradise Road, Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020

The film also explains how Logan got his claws and the name Wolverine in a laboratory. The scene in which Logan is taken by helicopter to this secret location was filmed in Milford Sound, about 200 miles (330 kilometers) from Glenorchy. From this fjord, excursions are organized by boat that pass Stirling Falls, the waterfall seen from above in the film. There is no laboratory or other building at the top of the waterfall.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:38:05
Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:38:07
Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:38:14
Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, 18 January 2020

In the laboratory, Logan's memory will be erased. However, he manages to escape before the procedure starts and hides in the farmhouse of the Hudson couple who are driving to their home. We could not get to the exact spot (most of Glenorchy is private property), the mountains show it is the same location.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:45:08
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:45:33
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020

Logan's hideout is soon discovered. He manages to escape on the motorbike the couple have just given him but the farmhouse is blown up. Because the explosion could only be shot once, it was filmed with four cameras. Again, Pete was able to show us the location.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:51:47
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:51:49
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020

Logan rides a motorbike down an unpaved road, pursued by Agent Zero (Daniel Henney) in a helicopter. The mountains seen in the background were mirrored for this scene.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:53:20
Paradise Road, Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020

After a long chase, Logan manages to take the helicopter down. He is injured, but being a mutant his wounds heal almost instantly. As he leaves the scene, the helicopter explodes behind him. Pete told us that the helicopter was real but hung from cables and did not fly by itself.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:54:42
Paradise Road, Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:54:54
Paradise Road, Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:54:59
Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:56:18
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 0:56:21
Paradise Road, Glenorchy, Paradise Valley, 19 January 2020

Screenshots © Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel Entertainment/Dune Entertainment

30 October 2021

Amsterdam, Netherlands

After the 2001 remake of the film Ocean's Eleven had become a huge success, a second movie went into production. Now titled OCEAN'S TWELVE, since a twelfth member was added to the team of eleven master thieves led by Danny Ocean (George Clooney): his wife Tess (Julia Roberts). The 13 most important actors from the first film all returned for this sequel.

Ocean's Twelve, 1:44:49
The story continues when casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) tracks down all eleven thieves who stole US $ 160 million from him. He demands not only the money back but also US $ 38 million in interest. To repay him and thus avoid prison, Danny Ocean comes up with a plan to steal, among other things, the Vanderspeigle Getuigschrift, the oldest stock certificate in the world. This document of the East India Trading Company resides in Amsterdam.

In the first draft of the screenplay, Rembrandt's painting The Night Watch was to be stolen from the Rijksmuseum. Because the museum was being renovated and a large painting is difficult to steal, this idea was quickly dropped.

Brouwersgracht, Amsterdam, 21 July 2021
Filming started on 16 March and ended on 24 August 2004. The film was shot in various locations in America and Europe. The production spent three weeks in the Netherlands, from 5 May to 20 May 2004. Most scenes were filmed in the centre of Amsterdam and, in addition, on 14 May at the Haarlem railway station and on 15 and 16 May at The Hague city hall. For an overview of all Dutch locations from this film, see my blog Hollands Decor (in Dutch).

On 31 January 2015, we visited a number of locations in Amsterdam for the first time. Because it got dark quite quickly, we did not go any further than the Herengracht, the Handboogstraat and the Reguliersgracht. In July 2021 we (re)visited a large part of the Amsterdam locations.

Amsterdam is introduced by nine random images of the city, each with a letter from its name. Director Steven Soderbergh returned to Amsterdam with his cameraman to make this sequence. When I rewatched the film on Netflix, I noticed that the letters were gone.
The letter A is the Amstel with the Bakkerstraat on the left, seen from 's Gravelandseveer. The houseboat in the foreground is still here.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:08
Amstel, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter M is the corner of Prinsengracht and Reguliersgracht. The building at 92 with the stork in the niche dates from c. 1675. The stork could refer to the midwife who lived here in the 17th century or to the distillery De Ooievaar (The Stork), founded in 1883.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:09
Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam, 21 July 2021

The letter S is a view of the canal Singel and Oude Leliestraat, seen from Torensluis.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:09
Singel, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter T is numbers 187 to 199 on Oudezijds Achterburgwal. This location was the hardest to trace, even location manager Tjarco van Wijck could not remember the address, only that it was a canal. On the website Stadsherstel I found a photo showing the houses in even worse state than in the film. No address was given, but with the help of the gable stone on the far left and the website Gevelstenen van Amsterdam, I was able to find the canal. The houses have since been renovated.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:10
Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter E is the corner of Nieuwmarkt and Geldersekade. The building above café De Zon has been painted completely white.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:11
Nieuwmarkt en Geldersekade, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter R is Nieuwmarkt 12, a restaurant, and 14, a coffee shop, to the left of café De Zon.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:11
Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter D is the corner of Spuistraat and Molsteeg. In the background on the right, part of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is visible.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:12
Spuistraat en Molsteeg, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter A is the Gravenstraat with again the Nieuwe Kerk on the right.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:12
Gravenstraat, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The letter M is the bicycle parking on Stationsplein near Central Station. The trees seen in the film have disappeared.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:13
Stationsplein, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

Danny Ocean, Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) and their companions arrive by taxi at the Hotel Pulitzer at the same time as the Arsenal soccer team. This hotel really exists, but the entrance in the film is of restaurant Jansz on Reestraat 8, on the corner of Keizersgracht. The entrance to the real Pulitzer hotel is around the corner at Prinsengracht 323. The red flag in the background is from Pulitzer's Bar at Keizersgracht 234. The Arsenal bus is standing on the Kees Fensbrug. Filming on Keizersgracht took place on 4 May.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:21
Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:21
Kees Fensbrug, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:22:26
Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The next day, Danny, Rusty and Linus walk from the Heiligeweg to coffeeshop De Dampkring (The Vapour Circle) on Handboogstraat 29. The signs on the left side, including 'Beurs Café' and 'hotel', are set pieces. Beurs Café really exists but is located at Beursplein 5. Filming at Handboogstraat took place on 19 May.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:24:10
Heiligeweg, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:24:26
Handboogstraat, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:26:53
Handboogstraat, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

The stock certificate is in the collection of antiques dealer Van der Woude (Jeroen Krabbé). He lives at Herengracht 497, which is in real life is the Kattenkabinet. The collection of this museum consists of art objects representing cats. The frame at the entrance is a set piece. Later in the film, during the heist, the building can be seen at night. Filming on Herengracht took place on 7 May.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:30:59
Kattenkabinet, Herengracht 497, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Ocean's Twelve, 0:34:29
Kattenkabinet, Herengracht 497, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), one of the thieves, is standing on the roof of Huis De Vicq at Herengracht 476 to keep an eye on Van der Woude's home. The Vijzelstraat can be seen in the background. The statue of the eagle does not have a frame in reality, this is also a set piece. Later in the film, the building can be seen from the Kattenkabinet. Since 1981, the building is the office of the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:31:20
Herengracht en Vijzelgracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Ocean's Twelve, 0:41:20
Huis De Vicq, Herengracht 476, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

Early in the evening Danny and Rusty walk along the Kloveniersburgwal, cross the Nieuwe Doelenstraat and stand still on the Aluminium Bridge. This scene was filmed on 6 May.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:32:42
Kloveniersburgwal, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:32:45
Nieuwe Doelenstraat, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:33:01
Aluminiumbrug, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:33:18
Aluminiumbrug, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

After the heist, Europol detective Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) meets her Dutch colleagues Paul (Jeroen Willems) and his partner (Chris Tates) on the Herengracht.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:38:04
Herengracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Ocean's Twelve, 0:38:10
Herengracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Ocean's Twelve, 0:38:15
Herengracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

To leave the hotel unseen, Danny, Rusty and the others dress up as members of the Arsenal soccer team. Keizersgracht and Reestraat again, seen from the other side.

Ocean's Twelve, 0:52:34
Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021
Ocean's Twelve, 0:52:45
Reestraat, Amsterdam, 20 July 2021

Screenshots © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Village Roadshow Films (BVI) Limited