Top-10 Geography movie mistakes

| jueves, 24 de marzo de 2011
[This is the English version of Top-10 de errores geográficos en películas and Top-10 de errores geográficos en películas segunda parte.]

A lot has been written about mistakes in historical movies. But, what about geography mistakes? Hollywood has not only taught us history facts wrong, but it has also managed to distort the image we have about many parts of the world. So I decided to make a list with some of the biggest geography failures in movies. I listed them according to how big (or stupid) the mistakes are and how famous the movie is.

10 - Jurassic Park.
In the beginning of the movie we see Nedry being bribed in some sort of tourists beach bar placed in what seems to be a small town, with palm trees all around and the ocean behind it. The title when the scene begins reads "San Jose, Costa Rica", but San Jose is actually a big city, in the center of the country, with no sea shore. You can check the video here, after 1'05.

9 - Troy.
In one of the scenes we can see a couple of llamas walking among the people. Llamas are from South America, so one could wonder what were they doing in Greece, many thousands miles away from they natural habitat. Were they singing the llama song? Maybe. Anyway, you can also watch the video from this one here.

8 - Die another day.
One of the firs scenes in this movie shows us James Bond literally surfing his way into Korea (some place close to the border between North and South Korea). The funny thing is that it's pretty much impossible to surf in Korea (in any of them). In that part of the world you would need at least a typhoon to create a wave high enough to do some surfing, and even that wave won't be even half as high as the huge one we see in the movie.

7 - Submerged
This one really deserves a better place in this list, but it's here because, lucky for us, almost no one have seen this terrible Steven Seagal movie. The action is supposed to take place in Uruguay, but we see mountains all around (Uruguay is completely plain). There's a scene where they enter a submarine and one of the characters says he can't understand anything because everything's in Spanish, so they show us some of the submarine signs, all written in... Italian. In another scene we see a Mayan ruin (Uruguay is many thousand miles away from where the Maya ruins really are), and when the people revolt against the goverment they write "revolution" (in English) in their signs. Actually, there's nothing in this movie that reminds us to Uruguay. Nothing at all.

6 - Gladiator.
After winning the battle in the begining of the movie, Maximus is betrayed and attacked in the Roman camp. He gets wounded but lives and takes a horse to get to his family. But the battle was in Germania (Germany) and his house is in Emerita Augusta (Merida, west of Spain), so he would have to travel about 1.400 miles by horse to get there. Remember that awful wound Maximus got in his shoulder before begining the journey? Well, he had time to die many times due to infections in his LONG way back home.

gladiator maximus screaming
Do you know how bad your butt hurts after riding a horse for more than a thousand miles?!

5 - Mission: Impossible II.
There's a scene in this movie that is supposed to take place in Seville, Spain, in which Anthony Hopkins tells Tom Cruise that the people are burning the saints to worship them. That is completely absurd. There's a party in Spain where people burn stuff, but it's celebrated in Valencia (far away from Seville) and it's not related to the saints at all. In Seville they celebrate Easter by going out on the streets with religious figures, but obviously they don't burn them. A Spanish religious catholic burning a saint makes as much sense as a religious muslim eating ham during the Ramadan while he draws a picture of Muhammad. The scene became very famous in Spain, where everyone mocks this movie because of that.

4 - Armageddon.
In the end of the movie, when the huge meteorite explodes, people from all over the world goes out to look at the explotion in the sky and celebrate that they're not going to suffer a horrible death. We see people in different parts of the USA, India, Turkey... And it's not night time anywhere. Well, I guess the endind was so epic that the sun decided to break the rules of astronomy and shine at the same time all over the world.

3 - Mr and Mrs Smith.
The "romantic" part of the movie is supposed to take place in Bogota, Colombia. The city we see is an awful hot town with colorful houses (old and small), sirens screaming all of the time and palm trees (yes, again, palm trees). Bogota is a very big city with big buildings (just like any country capital in the world), no sirens screaming all of the time and a very cold weather. And, as you can imagine, no palm trees.

2 - Krakatoa, east of java.
This is a classic movie, one of the first big successes in that genre we now call "disaster movies". In fact, this movie helped this whole genre become popular. Too bad they didn't take a look at a map before writing the title for the movie. If they had done it, they could have seen that Krakatoa is, actually, WEST of Java. The most stupid and obvious geography movie mistake ever? Probably yes.


krakatoa east of java movie poster
"Krakatoa, east of Java". Welll... No, not really.

1 - Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Here we have a big bunch of geography mistakes in a worldwide known movie, so it could only be number one. Some mistakes are:

- When Indy travels to Cuzco the map shows Nazca as the final destination. Nazca and Cuzco are more than three hundred miles away from each other (and did I mention that they show chickens in the Nazca airport? Peru might not be a very rich country, but they don't put farms inside their airports).
- They music we listen to when Indy is walking through a Peruvian street is actually a Mexican "ranchera" (Mexico is more than two thousand miles away from Peru).
- Indy says he learned "Quechua" language from Pancho Villa's people. "Quechua" was spoken by Peruvian indians but Pancho Villa was from Mexico (you know, more than two thounsand miles away). Of course, he and his people never spoke Quechua.
- We see in Peru the famous Chichen Itza pyramid, which is also in Mexico (I mentioned the distance, didn't I?).
- There are no waterfalls in Peru like the ones we see in the movie (some of them are from Hawaii and some from Argentina).

If you speak some Spanish you can see what Peruvian people thinks about this movie here.

3 comentarios:

Rubén Moreno Jr. dijo...

How about the tenths of errors in the movie "Once upon a time in Mexico"... apart from the plot itself, of course...

Jesús dijo...

Thanks for comment the mistake in Mission Impossible II. We sevillians couldn't believe our eyes when we saw that nonsense.

Sencho dijo...

In the movie Wargames they announce that subs have left Petropavlovsk and are rounding Nordkap. The problem is Petropavlovsk is on the Kamchatka peninsula and Nordkap is the northern cape of Norway...so any ships leaving that port and immediately rounding that cape would be traveling tens of thousands of kilometers per hour.

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