This much derided 007 movie marked the 40th anniversary of the franchise and includes references to each of the 19 Bond films which preceded it. Having watched it again for this feature I don’t actually mind it as much as I previously thought. Sure there are some ridiculous gimmicks and too much computer imagery but the first half is pretty good.
As mentioned in the ‘15 fake Bond filming locations‘ article, Aldershot’s (UK) military training area was used in part (along with the backlot at Pinewood) to replicate the world’s most repressive country North Korea for the opening sequence. Furthermore, Havana was also faked with Cadiz in Spain filling in for Cuba’s capital but “Raoul”; the cigar factory where Bond goes searching for Zao was actually shot inside Simpson House (below) in Hackney, North London. It can be found at 92 Stoke Newington Road and Dalston Kingsland London Overground Station is an easy and very direct 8 minute walk away.
To the soundtrack of ‘London Calling‘ by The Clash, British entrepreneur Gustav Graves (Tobey Stephens) arrives in style landing outside Buckingham Palace (below) on 50 minutes via Union Jack parachute in a nod to the pre-titles opener in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me‘ (1977).
The attention then turns to “Blades Club” (52 minutes) a.k.a. the Reform Club (below) at 104 Pall Mall where Madonna introduces Bond to Gustav Graves before they duel. Just before the sword fight Graves says “Diamonds are forever. But life isn’t” which is an obvious reference to the 1971 Bond movie. The same place was also used in ‘Quantum Of Solace’ (2008) as a government office.
Westminster and Big Ben stand in the distance (60 minutes) across the River Thames and beneath Westminster Bridge (below) is the entrance to the fictitious Vauxhall Cross Underground station which is actually nothing more than a caretakers hut.
It’s at this fictional station that Q presents Bond with the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish; the infamous car possessing a rather silly gimmick – the ability to effectively become invisible at the push of a button. It could be seen at the ‘Bond In Motion’ exhibition in London which was open last year.
A 20 minute walk along the river (from Westminster Bridge) takes you to the MI6 building at 85 Albert Embankment (below) which appears on 63 minutes and then again on 125 minutes. It also featured in ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999) and ‘Skyfall‘ (2012).
Bonus: Hong Kong island appears as Bond escapes captivity, jumps into the Harbour and emerges at the Hong Kong Yacht Club (27 mins) which is located on the north side of the island. However, this was not all it seemed as it wasn’t Kowloon that could be seen in the background but Hong Kong island itself. Obviously this was all faked on a movie set and furthermore the shaggily unshaven 007 turns up at the Royal Rubyeon Hotel which doesn’t exist at all.
For other London filming locations click on the links below:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Trainspotting Mission: Impossible Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Bourne Ultimatum Harry Potter & The Philosophers Stone James Bond About A Boy Quadrophenia Bridget Jones’s Diary Goodnight Sweetheart Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels Basic Instinct 2 Batman Begins/The Dark Knight The Italian Job Snatch Rom-Com Special Skyfall Notting Hill The World Is Not Enough Paddington Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Re-Visited) Entrapment Sliding Doors Eyes Wide Shut Four Weddings & A Funeral