Monday, October 23, 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - The Centre, Central

The exterior of the HANKA HQ was the Lippo Centre, but the foyer scene was filmed at The Centre - the same place where Batman : The Dark Knight Rises was filmed a few years ago.

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - Lippo Centre, Central

Another place that hasn't really had much done to it during the funking up phase of the city was the Lippo Centre along Queensway. The basic elements of the building are still there in terms of shape but it's had some CGI facade upgrading. The walkway, on the other hand, has been left untouched - obviously futuristic looking enough already..

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - Des Voeux Road, Central

One of the very brief street level shots that wasn't filmed in Kowloon. I'm still trying to figure out the logic of it but can only surmise they needed a wider road. Anyway, this bit was filmed in Central where Des Voeux Road meets Jubilee Street.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - Maple Street, Tai Kok Tsui

The scene when Batou and Major are driving along and Major suddenly has the flashback of the small Japanese pavilion in the middle of the road was filmed at the intersection of Maple and Boundary Streets. The camera car looks as though it was driving down Tai Nan Street to get the shot because we can see the pedestrian island in the foreground.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - Kansu Street, Yau Ma Tei

Another from the general area of filming, this time it's Kansu Street and an alleyway where the Section 9 members are preparing for their foray into the illegal "Enhancement" bar was filmed. Actually, it's a real alleyway and is direct;ly opposite the continuation of Temple Street as it passes the rear of the Alhambra Building. The lights in the background are from a real Mahjong parlour, although they've been slightly embellished to look more holographic.

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - Woosung Street, Yau Ma Tei

Another shot taken in the Pak Hoi Street vicinity. This time it's Woosung Street at the junction with Pak Hoi St. Although the corner building has been disguised for the film, the markings on the "give way" triangle symbol on the road match the ones that are still there. At some point I will head out with my camera and take some comparison pictures, seeing as I don't live that far from here. The CGI in the third picture is obscuring the Alhambra Building at the end of the road.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - Pak Hoi St, Yau Ma Tei

At the time of filming, the local papers were reporting that there was some taking place on Pak Hoi Street in Yau Ma Tei. The local production company tried to deflect interest by announcing the shooting would take place with doubles and, although doubles were present, lots of shots were done using the main stars.

This particular butchers stall is a real one at the junction with Reclamation Street. and other than the odd stallholder and overlayed blue writing, looks pretty much as it does in real life. This is the shop where Batou buys bones for his adopted dogs.


This scene is immediately preceded by a shot taken at the junction with Shanghai Street with Pak Hoi Street leading away (to the east) behind the actors back towards the butchers stall.

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - International Finance Centre, Central

The IFC pops up as the entrance to the very first building where Dr Osmond is mind-hacked by the Geisha robot. We get a quick shot of Batou and the gang running across the walkway towards the entrance from the direction of the Four Seasons Hotel.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Scarlett Johansson (2017) - View over Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

The next film to look at is a recent, but controversial, one. Scarlett Johansson as Major Killian in a live action retake of the original comic/anime. We've seen digital manipulation of the Hong Kong skyline before afew times on this blog, whether it's Transformers destroying well known landmarks, or new buildings being created for Largo and Push, but the HK skyline is still recognisable. In Ghost in the Shell, the film makers have taken Hong Kong as a backdrop and then added a whole new layer of futurism to make it more like the cityscape of the comic.

The controversy, of course, was the casting of Johansson in what should've been an Asian role. There are so many great female Asian actors that could have been better in this, but there you go. The HK scenes were filmed in June 2016.

Anyway, here is the first good example of how the views have been revamped to fit the futuristic depiction. It's a view looking over Tsim Sha Tsui from the east of the Kowloon peninsula and a fair amount of the buildings here are real ones, they've just been souped up with fake holograms and funky lights. The film makers even decided to leave in the construction of the new New World Centre at the far left. You can see the cranes at the top. The only building that has avoided CGI seems to be the ICC.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Heisser Hafen Hongkong - Horst Frank (1962) - Junction of Waterloo Road and Shanghai Street, Mongkok

Here is another impressive find by Thomas when you consider this film is 55 years old. The scene is not really important, it's just one of the many establishing shots that was used throughout this film, but it's just nice being able to locate these small snippets and give them a little bit of historical context. In this shot we are looking up Shanghai Street from the junction with Waterloo Road and there are various businesses that can be seen including what looks like a place called the "Mido" (not to be confused with the famous eaterie in Yau Ma Tei) and this place on the corner called "Goldengate". 


Also notice the rather new looking building on the left in the lower photo. This is #3 Waterloo Road and was built in 1962 - the same year this film was made, hence why it is looking so new. It's still there but, like with many other older buildings with balconies, the balconies have since been filled in (illegally!) to make more internal living space. Let's face it, these days the traffic on Waterloo Road is so busy it's not really the sort of place where you would want to sit outside breathing in all that vehicle exhaust!

Anyway, once again a big thanks to Thomas for going above and beyond the call of duty for this one. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Park Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui

Okay, not the Park Hotel as we would normally expect to see it, but rather the view from the roof courtesy of an interview between Grant Page and Stuart Whitman. You may remember that Whitman was in town for the filming of Shatter and Page managed to get hold of him for a talk about kung fu. The white buildings at the back correspond roughly with the current HK PolyU buildings, so it's possible they were part of the original campus, however, I'm not certain.

Note the KCR track that still ran from the old terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui and was on the other side of the old Chatham Road Army Camp which is just out of site below the hotel, along Chatham Road (today's East TST area where the History and Science museums stand). Anyway, a big thanks to Thomas once again for identifying the location, but does that mean this is the hotel where Page stayed and where they filmed the bar fight in the finale of Shatter? Still not sure.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Coloane, Macau

When Fogg and the princess arrive in Yokohama, they finally catch up with Passepartout who has joined an acrobatic troupe. In reality, Yokohama is in fact the village of Coloane in Macau. The main scenes were filmed in Largo Eduardo Marques - the famous square that houses the Chapel of St Francis Xavier. In fact you can see the chapel at the back of picture 3, with its recognisable "天主堂" script just visible above the picture of Mt. Fuji.


The last picture is facing back towards the harbour and the set is obviously there to cover up the obelisk that sits in front of the square.

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Stanley Peninsula, Hong Kong

The Tankadere sinks and the shipwrecked travelers manage to row to what is supposed to be Mainland China but was actually a small rocky beach on the western edge of Stanley Peninsula. The land on the right in the top picture is Yuen Kok on Lamma island with Wailingding Island (in Chinese waters) in the far distance.


This location isn't very far from the boundary with the former Stanley Fort. Of course since 1997 it has been renamed Chek Chue Barracks (赤柱 'chek chu' is the Cantonese name for Stanley) and has the PLA stationed there.

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Sai Kung Public Pier, Sai Kung

In order to get to Yokohama on time to catch the paddle steamer "General Grant" to San Francisco, Fogg and friends try to get themselves onto a boat bound for Japan only to find out they can be taken up to Shanghai and catch their crossing from there instead. The small vessel they catch to Shanghai is the "Tankadere" - a small junk that sinks on the way.

They board this junk in what is unmistakably Sai Kung public pier - a place I know quite well from the multitude of times I've hopped on and off dive boats there. In the show though, the white round pillars holding up the roof have been surrounded by some badly painted cardboard to make them look like wood.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Bela Vista Hotel, Macau

Now that I have finally got round to looking at the locations in this mini-series (I've had it in my drawer for about 2 years but only just mustered enough energy to sit through all 4.5 hours trying to spot HK locations, so please forgive my tardiness), I can finally provide us all with some shots of the interior of the Bela Vista. I did write a post about the place a few years back and it attracted a fair amount of attention, as you can see. Thankfully it's had a bit of a clean up since 1989 as you can see from the link I just provided above.

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Aberdeen Harbour

Finally, a shot taken in Hong Kong that is actually meant to be Hong Kong. The only problem is that this is most definitely some stock footage because is shows a view of Aberdeen harbour (looking east in the top picture) that was probably taken in the 1960's, given the complete lack of development.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - The Rangoon aka The Wan Fu?

The ship that Fogg and Co board to go to HK in the book is called the "Rangoon". The long shot of the ship steaming off to Hong Kong was also actually filmed in Hong Kong and appears to be a shot of our old friend the Wan Fu (the Hongkong Hilton's own pleasure boat). I can't confirm exactly but maybe someone is able to - it looks very similar to the images I've previously posted.

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Sai Kung Waterfront, Sai Kung

So previously the former Marine Police HQ stood in for the central police station in Bombay, and now Sai Kung waterfront is standing in for Calcutta as Fogg and Co try to board the ship, Rangoon, that will take them to Hong Kong. The set looks like it was set up on a newly reclaimed patch of ground that has since had the new East Division Marine Police station built on it behind Lake Court.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Around the World in 80 Days - Pierce Brosnan (1989) - Former Marine Police HQ, Tsim Sha Tsui

No, not the David Niven film nor the Steve Coogan/Jackie Chan version but rather the four hour mini series filmed in the late 1980's and starring Pierce Brosnan. In truth, a series that shows there is a limit to Brosnan's acting abilities as well as the production department's budget. We see a few old faces here - Brosnan has already been here before for Noble House and Detonator 2 an Julia Nickson who was also in Noble House as well as China Cry.

The series was filmed in various locations including Hong Kong although, rather ironically, the Hong Kong section of the film was made in Macau and the instead Hong Kong itself stood in for a variety of other locations! The first location we see is that of the former Marine Police HQ in Tsim Sha Tsui which stood in for Bombay Central Police Station.


In case you recognise the passageway where Peter Ustinov is standing, it's the very same one Forest Whitaker et al stood in for Bloodsport a few years earlier.