Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The perfect place to find yourself in your golden years ...or imprison an archenemy

There probably aren't many demographics where audiences for The Dark Knight Rises and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel intersected.

But those who did see both movies might have done a quick double take at one point. During the charming story of British retirees moving to Jaipur in search of a better life or to put old ghosts to rest, you'll see kids diving into the well at the bottom of Chand Baori, a stepwell found in the village of Abhaneri.

Maybe as the Marigold crew were moving in to set up the shot they passed Chris Nolan, a bedraggled Christian Bale and Tom Conti and a big heavy IMAX camera coming out.

Because – albeit shot in a very different colour scheme and looking dusty and Middle Eastern – the well was none other than the exterior location for the prison Bane banishes Bruce Wayne to after his resounding smackdown.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Imperial Stormtroopers attack World War 2?

Watch (and listen) to the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark carefully. When Belloq (Paul Freeman) has the ark opened at the island location of Geheimhaven base, Colonel Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) looks on, along with fearsome Gestapo agent Toht (Ronald Lacey).

Belloq is horrified to see the Ark is full of nothing but sand – presumably the long-since crumbled remains of Moses' stone tablets – and Dietrich is disgusted, reaching in to scoop up a handful of sand to throw contemptuously. Toht starts to laugh and turns away, Belloq looks crestfallen, Indy gives a wry smile.

But then the electrical generator starts to spark and quake and lights dotted all throughout the ceremony explode. Is the sound effect familiar? Exactly – Raiders producer and co-writer George Lucas opened his vault and pulled out the sound of Star Wars blaster impacts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Will the real Muppets please stand up?

1979's The Muppet Movie was a sweet origin story about how Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie and the gang crossed paths and decided to go to Hollywood to be stars with their own show.

When they finally get there and the booming of Orson Welles' baritone informs his secretary to draw up the standard rich and famous contract, they've hit the big time.

Of course being The Muppets, the set of their first big production descends into chaos, and soon Kermit and the whole gang are singing the final number amid the ensuing rubble.

The camera draws back for a high, wide shot, and if you're quick you can see two familiar faces from elsewhere to the right of your screen, none other than Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street.

Did Jim Henson and director James Frawley want to reference the show that popularised puppets in the media age and paved the way for The Muppets, or did they just not have the time or budget to stitch all the puppets together they needed for the big scene?