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Movie wrap

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Movie buffs have plenty of opportunities around the world to see where their favourites were filmed.

Harry Potter JK Rowling could have had no inkling of what she was creating when she penned her first Harry Potter book. The best sellers have turned into blockbuster movies for which many locations were used.

Australia House on The Strand in London had its Exhibition Hall transformed into the goblin-run Gringott's Bank. Platforms 4 and 5 of Kings Cross Station were transformed into Platform 9 and 3/4 and became the departure point of the Hogwart Express heading to Hogsmeade Station.

The Bodleian Library at University of Oxford dates to 1602. Its Divinity School became the infirmary where Harry went after his battle with Voldemort. Duke Humfrey's Library became the Hogwart's Library where research on the Philosopher's Stone was carried out. A replica was made of the Great Hall, as it is a dining room and tradition could not be budged.

Gloucester Cathedral's 600-year-old medieval cloisters were transformed into Hogwart's hallways and young actors, tutors and extras were found in the King's College next door.

In North Yorkshire is Goathland Station, which became Hogsmead Station and was the end of the line for the Hogwart Express.

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland became Hogwart's School of Wizardry where Harry and his friends learned to use their Nimbus 2000 broomsticks. The grounds were the scene for the all-important quidditch match and were used as a base for the many computer-generated effects.

Lord of the Rings Filmmaker Peter Jackson made the most of New Zealand's beautiful scenery to film his interpretation of JRR Tolkien's trilogy.

A farm in the Waikato area was transformed into Hobbiton while Mt Ruapehu and the Tongariro National Park on the north island became Mt Doom. Wellington, Canterbury and Queenstown were magically turned into various streets, the White Mountain Foothills, Lothlorien Woods and the Ford of Bruinen.

Hobbits, dwarves, elves, wizards and "normal" men were cast in the film, which required a myriad costumes, special effects, make-up, creatures, armour and weapons. A Wellington workshop made 48,000 items to be used in filming the trilogy, including 1600 pairs of individually sized and shaped prosthetic feet and ears, 12.5 million rings for chainmail, 900 suits of armour and 10,000 arrows. Stunt weapons were made from skateboard wheel rubber and not one broke in 15 months of filming.

Tongariro National Park was part of Middle Earth, where the Battle of Mordor was held. Its peak Mt Ngauruhoe is New Zealand's most active volcano — it took many special effects to turn it into Mt Doom.

For a birdseye view of the many locations around Queenstown on the south island, Heliworks Helicopter Aerials Trip will take you over the Kawarau River and Gorge, Skippers Canyon, Te Anau and Waiau River, Lake Alta, Deer Park Heights and Paradise.

Dart Stables near Glenorchy provided 15 of the hundreds of horses used in the film. Peter Davies is the only tour operator allowed into the Garden of Eden, the beech forest where the battle of Amon Hen was filmed. Moss which was removed while filming was happening was placed in a nursery for the duration and replaced at the end.

Titanic If this is one of your favourites, you will need to head for Mexico — Baja to be exact. James Cameron had a dream of making a film about the short life of the Titanic but could find nowhere to accommodation the size he had in mind. Undeterred, he began to create Fox Studios in Mexico on 14 hectares of the resort community of Rosarito.

Foxploration Park was opened on the strength of the popularity of the movie — others have been filmed there since.

There are sets from Titanic, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's cabins and a computerised 1/15th scale model of the engine room. Things such as carpet are exactly as they were during filming. See how they filmed flooding scenes and children can stand on the bow and be "king of the world". Exteriors were shot in a massive pool-like tank which blends with the ocean.

During filming, an etiquette coach was hired to teach actors the correct upper-class Edwardian way of walking, talking, eating, greeting and laughing.

    Da Vinci Code France Da Vinci Code tours are all the go in London and Paris.

In Paris, start at the Hotel Ritz, once an 18th-century residence, where Robert Langdon received the phone call which started the chase.

The Louvre Museum is where curator Jacques Sauniére was found murdered, sacrificing his life to protect the Priory's most sacred trust, the vastly important religious relic which remained hidden for centuries.

The chase continues at Gare Saine-Lazare where the fleeing couple board a train for Lille. They drive through the 865-hectare Bois de Boulogne on Paris's western edge. The 19th-century park remains fashionable with walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

The albino monk Silas, at the Church of St Sulpice, is an Opus Dei devotee and had forced Saunière at gunpoint to reveal where the crucial keystone was buried. Erection of St Sulpice began in 1646 and it has a Jesuit-style interior and classical Italian façade. Its walls are fresco-festooned, many painted by Delacroix, it has Europe's largest organ and two magnificent giant seashells used as holy water vessels.

Château Villett, 30 minutes from Paris, was built in 1668 on 97 hectares. It was used as the home of Sir Leigh Teabing in the film and has 18 rooms for guests. It is furnished in keeping with its period and has many fine collectibles, antique furniture, tapestries and works of art. Meals are prepared in a 16th-century kitchen and served by candlelight in a grand dining room.

Da Vinci Code UK Robert and Sophie fled across the Channel and landed at Biggin Hill airport on London's outskirts. Then they headed to Fleet Street, once home to the British print media.

From there the trail took them to Temple Church, a house of worship famed for its rare circular nave. It was built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar, an order of crusading monks. The Red Knights, who wore red crosses, held secret initiation rites in the crypt.

From there, the two went to King's College, one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London which has a vast religious research library. Robert and Sophie went there to seek information on a knight's tomb. London has thousands of such tombs and in their efforts to search for the grail, Robert and Sophie realised they needed to find the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton.

St James's Park was the scene for the nefarious meeting of the Teacher and Rémy Legaludec. It is one of London's beautiful Royal Parks, bordered by Buckingham Palace, St James and Westminster Palaces.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most sacred, symbolic and visited churches in England. The 13th-16th century masterpiece has been the venue for coronations and many other royal occasions. With some help from Sir Isaac Newton's tomb in Westminster Abbey, Robert broke the second cryptex code, which meant he and Sophie's next destination was Scotland.

Roslin is a pretty little miner's village in Edinburgh with rows of stone-built, terraced cottages and is famous for the Rosslyn Chapel, conceived in the 15th century and dedicated to St Matthew in 1446. It has attracted attention for centuries because of its links to the shadowy Knights Templar, the supposed protectors of the Holy Grail. Many believe the grail is buried there.

Radar has revealed the presence of a massive subterranean chamber, much larger than the above-ground chapel, but with no obvious entrance or exit. Archaeologists wanted to blast through the bedrock, but the Rosslyn Trust put a stop to any excavation.

Sydney locations Sydney has been the location for many movies and Sydney Movie Tours has a variety of options to see just where they were made.

A 1.5 hour walking tour starting in Martin Place will take you to some of the very recognisable locations. The Matrix, Babe. Pig in the City, Mission Impossible II, Moulin Rouge, Muriel's Wedding, Strictly Ballroom and the latest Star Wars have all had segments filmed around Sydney.

Follow in the footsteps of Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves.

Half-day Toyota Coaster tours pick up in Kings Cross and the city in the morning. Visit the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville and see where Priscilla and friends took off in their bus.

Afternoon tours pick up in the city and Kings Cross and take an easterly route through Elizabeth Bay, Darling Point, Rose Bay, Waverley, Bondi, Coogee and La Perouse.

You will receive a welcome pack with film history, Sydney movie list, discount vouchers and there's a prize for winner of the tour.


Around the globe.


Harry Potter
Christ Church College is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday-Saturday, 11.30-5.30 on Sunday.
Bodleian Library Rooms open at 9am and close at around 9pm. They open on Saturday mornings.
Gloucester Cathedral is open for tours from 10.30am to 4pm each day except Sunday.
Alnwick Castle is open from March 28 to October 25 between 11am and 5pm.

Lord Of The Rings
Pete Outdoors, Dart River Safaris and Dart Stables and Heliworks all have tours of movie locations. Lord of the Rings Scenic Flights start at around $345 per person for 45 minutes.

Foxploration entry costs around $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Da Vinci Code
Chateau Villette has five-night packages and the entire chateau can be rented.

Da Vinci Tours in London are around $125 per person based on four people. They are three hours in duration.

Sydney Movie Tours 1.5 hour walking tour is $45 for adults and $25 for children. They operate year round and a guide and welcome pack are included.

More information

Harry Potter
British Tourist Authority
Ph: (02) 9377 4400

Australia House
The Strand, London WC2B 4LA
Ph: 0011 44 207 887 5477

Christ Church College
Oxford University
Ph: 0011 44 1865 27 6150

Bodleian Library
Ph: 0011 44 1 1751 47 2508

Gloucester Cathedral
Ph: 0011 44 1452 52 8095

Goathland Station
Ph: 0011 44 1751 47 2508

Alnwick Castle

Lord of the Rings
Pete Outdoors
Independent Instruction & Guiding
265 Whakapapa Road, R.D. 1, Owhango NZ
Ph: 0011 647 895 4445
Fax: 0011 647 895 4454

Dart River Safaris
PO Box 76
Queenstown 9197 NZ
Ph: 0011 643 442 9992
Fax: 0011 643 442 9075

Dart Stables
Box 47 Glenorchy NZ
Ph: 0011 643 442 5688
Fax: 0011 643 442 6045

Ph: 0011 643 441 4011
Fax: 0011 643 441 4012

Rosarito, BC Mexico CP 22710
Ph: 0011 52 66 1614 9444
Email: Da Vinci Code
Chateau Villette
Ph: 0011 415 435 1600
Fax: 0011 415 383 1258

Da Vinci Tours in London
49 Conduit Street
London W1S 2YS England
Ph: 0011 44 20 7734 8734

Sydney Movie Tours
Ph: (02) 9357 4566/1300 302 640

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