A Taste of Movie Magic: Seeing Film Locations While You Travel
By Richard Jones
With most cinemas back open for business, moviegoers are finally able to sit down in a theatre again and watch some of the eagerly anticipated films which have been delayed over the past 18 months.
However, seeing the new movies on the big screen may also leave some longing to be transported to the films’ spectacular locations in person, as well as on the big screen.
We look at how holidaymakers can experience the setting of, or inspiration behind, some of 2021’s cinematic blockbusters on their next trip.
Black Widow (in cinemas now and on Disney Plus Premier access)
Budapest (top image) plays a large part in Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansson’s) back story in the Marvel adventure. The Hungarian capital is one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations. During a trip to the ‘Paris of the East’ or the ‘Pearl of the Danube’, you can browse a colourful market for wooden crafts in the morning, soak in a thermal bath after lunch and head for the crumbling courtyard of an atmospheric ‘ruin pub’ after dark. With a soaring garden courtyard, fabulous rooms, a seductive underground spa and a swimming pool, the Aria Hotel Budapest is one of Europe’s top hotels.
Jungle Cruise (in cinemas now and on Disney Plus with Premier access)
Much of the adventure based on Disney’s popular theme park and starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt was filmed in Hawaii. From volcanic mountains, to lush jungles, perfect beaches, and not forgetting the great Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands are a place of dreams. There are three active volcanoes, and the 377-square mile Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is Hawaii Island’s No.1 visitor attraction. Visitors can witness nature’s power in surprisingly intimate ways – and you’ll feel great mana, or spiritual power, as you hike along rocky trails and desolate deserts that in time will flourish and thrive with new life.
The Suicide Squad (in cinemas now)
Although the island of Corto Maltese featured in the new superhero film is entirely fictional, the filmmakers had admitted it is heavily inspired by places like Havana. Since it reopened its doors to tourism in the 1990s, Cuba’s capital has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the Caribbean. A trip to Havana is an unforgettable cultural experience and at the Buena Vista Social Night, Club Concert and you can experience the remaining musicians of the music group as they are supported by the Afro Cuban Allstars and other great musicians.
Finch (in cinemas from August 13)
Much of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama, which stars Tom Hanks as the last man on Earth who builds an android to keep him and his dog company, was filmed in Albuquerque. Here, tourists can sample traditional New Mexican cuisine, experience world-class museums, stroll along Central Avenue under the vintage neon glow of Route 66, or soar high above the city in the hot-air ballooning capital of the world. Rainbow Ryders Inc offer balloon rides at sunrise and sunset, with packages including a one-hour flight, traditional champagne ceremony and flight certificate.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (in cinemas from September 24)
The superhero sequel, set a year after the events of the first instalment sees investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) adjust to life as the host of the alien symbiote Venom. Although much of the first movie took place in Atlanta and New York, the second was primarily filmed in San Francisco. With beautiful open spaces, a bridge that’s the envy of the world and charming harbour-side towns, the City by the Bay is a sight to behold. No trip to San Fran is complete without a visit to Alcatraz Island, the infamous and notorious former federal prison, which was home to the likes of Al Capone and Robert ‘The Birdman’ Stroud.
The Many Saints of Newark (in cinemas from September 24)
The prequel to HBO crime drama The Sopranos is one of the most hotly anticipated movies of the year. As the title suggests, the film is set in New Jersey and Sopranos fans can pay homage to the new film and award-winning show by doing a tour of Newark and locations from the show. Stop off at the Bada Bing, Pizzaland, the Muffler Man statue, Barone Sanitation, sit on the steps of the diner where Chris was shot, and take a seat in the restaurant booth where the family sat in the final scene of the series.
Dune (in cinemas from October 21)
Director Denis Villeneuve’s epic sci-fi reboot promises to be one of the movie events of the year. It is set on the dangerous desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. The UAE city of Abu Dhabi, home to breathtaking landscapes, including islands, sea, desert, mangroves, fossil dunes, oases and wadis was the setting for much of the filming. As a destination geared for families, Abu Dhabi’s landmark family-friendly entertainment hub, Yas Island, is home to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest indoor theme park, which features white-knuckle rides and everyone’s favourite characters.
No Time to Die (in cinemas from October 8)
The 25th movie in the James Bond series finally hits cinemas this autumn. And as usual, there are some spectacular locations in the film which sees Daniel Craig’s 007 search for a missing scientist and confront a villain whose schemes could see the death of millions. Some of the filming took place in the town of Aviemore, the popular holiday resort surrounded by lush Highland scenery in the corner of the majestic Cairngorms National Park. The Macdonald Aviemore Resort has everything you could wish for in a Scottish break – a largest indoor leisure pool, luxury department store and outdoor play park and, of course, a cinema.