Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Top 10 Geography Mistakes in Movies

A lot has been written about mistakes in historical movies. But, what about geography mistakes?

10. Jurassic Park
photo source
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 in the video below, after 1’05.

9. Troy
photo source
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 Turkey, many thousands miles away from they natural habitat. Were they singing the llama song? Maybe. Anyway, you can also watch the video below.

8. Die Another Day
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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 (video below).

7. Submerged
photo source
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.

Major Maya sites of the Classic and Post-Classic periods   source
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
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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.

5. Mission Impossible II
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There’s a scene in this movie that is supposed to take place in Sevilla, 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 Sevilla) and it’s not related to the saints at all. In Sevilla they celebrate Easter by going out on the streets with religious figures, but obviously they don’t burn them. 

4. Armageddon

In the end of the movie, when the huge meteorite explodes (video above), 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 horrifying 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
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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 most capital cities in the world), no sirens screaming all of the time and a very cold weather. And, as you can imagine, no palm trees.
Bogota at night     photo source

2. Krakatoa, East of Java
photo source
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.

1. Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the Crystal Skull
photo source
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 fin destination. Nazca and Cuzco are more than three hundred miles away from each other.
- 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 (we mentioned the distance).
Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico      photo source
- There are no waterfalls in Peru like the ones we see in the movie (some of them are from Hawaii and some from Argentina).
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  1. the last XMEN movie is placed in "Villa Gesell" Argentina... and they show it with a lot of moountains...
    villa gesell is actually a Beach in Argentina. with no mountains!. I think they wanted to say "Villa la angostura" that is a place with a lot of mountains :)

  2. In the movie Knight and day show us Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in the Spanish city of Seville, and suddenly the San Fermin festivities, festivity held in Pamplona, ​​on the other side of Spain...

  3. Hi, I wrote the ORIGINAL post, and the source you are linking isn´t the right one (and also it´s not linking my post correctly, though it mentions it). I would sincerely thank you if you could please correct the "source" link. The original post is here:

    Thank you.

  4. Knight and Day...
    WTF are doing the San Fermines in Sevilla (SPAIN)? That party is from Pamplona (SPAIN)


  5. Plus, in Spain in Easter peoples don't go out with "saints", it's always, always, in every city, village or town Jesus and Mary, not "saints". They're celebrating Easter, you know?, the Passion.

  6. The spanish city where there's a party in which people burns statues is Valencia (east of Spain), they are the "Fallas" (

    In spain, the Passion (Semana Santa) is celebrated everywhere, but mostly in Andalucia (south spain), Sevilla (, Cordoba (, etc.

  7. I've always enjoyed the ending of the Sound of Music. When you hike over the mountains from Salzburg, you're in Nazi Germany, not Switzerland.

  8. you never saw a vietnam war movie. most if not all OF the scenes are in the Philippines

  9. The post is telling about the top 10 geaography movie mistakes. Useful post

  10. The blog has shown the geography movie mistakes that are made. Useful post


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