Everyone has fallen in love with a movie at some point over the course of their filmgoing careers. But for many true superfans, simply watching a movie or film series, writing fan fiction, dressing up like your favorite characters and/or attending conventions with other like-minded film devotees just isn’t enough. Digging deeper into the characters and story requires a visit to the film’s real-life setting.
If you haven’t made vacation plans yet for this summer, consider stopping by the sites of any of these blockbusters. The beach will still be there when you get back.
Getting to New Zealand, which provided Peter Jackson with the scenery he needed for the Lord of the Rings films, might be as grueling for most American travelers and going to the real Middle Earth. But for die-hard fans of the series, the visit is a must.
Plan on spending a couple weeks in New Zealand if you want to see all of the locations used in the film, including Hobbiton, the site of the Shire where you can visit Bilbo’s/Frodo’s home at Bag End, or Mt. Ruapehu, one of the two active volcanoes used to film Mount Doom in Mordor.
And if you can’t help but buy a replica blade to commemorate your trip, don’t forget to check your souvenir in your luggage to avoid finding yourself in a place even less accommodating than the Mines of Moria.
Even if you’re lucky enough to get more than two weeks vacation a year, taking a trip to a “galaxy far, far away” might not be in the cards, even if you’re able to get NASA to start looking into building an interstellar spacecraft with hyperdrive.
But Star Wars fans can find the next best thing here on Earth. The deserts of Tunisia served as the backdrop for the planet Tatooine. Here you’ll can visit the desert igloo where Luke Skywalker grew up, tour the house Obi-wan Kenobi took Luke after scaring off the Sand People and explore the set of Mos Espa. (Click here for a complete listing of all the Star Wars sites in Tunisia.)
You can even bring along your homemade Imperial walker, if you can manage to check it in at the airport.
When shopping around for a hotel, most travelers look for more or less the same set of amenities: good location, room service and a courteous staff. But if you’re looking to spend the night at a hotel that may or may not unload an elevator full of blood on your floor, why not try the Timberline Lodge near Mount Hood in Oregon, the site used for the shots of the horror classic, The Shining?
Luckily for patrons who might be scared off as a result of the film, the lodge doesn’t include everything seen in the movie. The hotel doesn’t have the hedge maze from the film’s climactic scene. Room 237, the suite in which Jack Nicholson’s character encounters the ghost of a dead woman, also doesn’t exist. In Stephen King’s book on which the film is based, the room number is actually 217, but the Timberline Lodge requested the change to prevent visitors from avoiding the room.
A train station might not be much of a travel destination were it not for the fact that this particular site — King’s Cross railway station in London — is the waypoint Harry Potter and company used to get to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
To commemorate the popularity of the movie, the station even installed a sign designating platform nine and three-quarters. Just don’t try to run full speed through it, or you might end up taking a magical journey straight to the hospital.
During the day, the city of Osaka, Japan, might not bare too much resemblance to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. But when night falls, the city is transformed into a neon jungle that seems jump straight out of the the futuristic sci-fi thriller.
Travelers will find a nightlife scene that resembles the backdrop of the 1982 film. Just don’t expect to find any Replicants passing through the crowds — not until 2019 anyway.
Given that I spent the first four years of my life in Dyersville, Iowa, I can’t help but plug the most famous movie-themed attraction — let’s be honest: the only attraction — in Dubuque county: the baseball stadium from the movie Field of Dreams.
Admission is free, so run the bases, have a catch or even play a game without having to worry about forking over $20 to help Ray Kinsella and his family save their farm.