May 16, 2010

London in films: My Top 5 Favourites

In Robin Hood they made a quick stop at the medieval London (too quick, for me!). That's what gave me the idea for this list. London is the setting for numerous movies, and I'll give you five of my favourite portrayals of the city that stole a part of my heart many years ago. (Alright, only four, to be exact...)

I haven't had a chance to travel as much as I'd prefer, but of the places I've visited so far, London is no doubt the number one. I might be biased, as I lived an hour from London for seven months, and have also visited the place before and after that, but I can't get enough of it! I could babble about London all day, but let's move on to the list.

5. Children of Men (2006)

In 2027, no child has been born in 18 years, and alongside of the rest of the world, London is in chaos. Future in films in always somehow pessimistic - usually the world is coming to its end or the machines have taken over. Or both. London in Children of Men is both fascinating and scary. At first glance it might seem like the normal, modern London, but then you notice the full garbage bags and general dirtiness, the gloomy expressions on everyone's faces and well, the exploding cafés.

I sure hope this is not what London will look like in 17 years. Let's keep making babies, shall we!

4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Harry Potters are my favourite books, but the films are a bit... meh. I like The Half-Blood Prince the most so far (I've got quite big expectations towards The Deathly Hallows... Better not disappoint me!), partly because they showed more of London than before! And what's more, it wasn't Hogwarts and Diagon Alley that looked alien and weird, but Trafalqar Square and the office buildings the subway did - maybe because I'm not used to seeing so normal things in a Potter film. I loooooved the run-through of London in the beginning. ("Ooh, I've been there! There I sat drinking that delicious 600-calories-only Frappuccino from Starbucks! That's where we took those dumb pictures!")

And the subway scene... They made it look quite dream-like and the contrast between Dumbledore and a perfume advert is just great. And yet there's one thing they share: magic.

3. Sweeney Todd: The Devil Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

There's a hole in the world like a great black pit and it's filled with people who are filled with shit and the vermin of the world inhabit it... And it goes by the name of London, according to Mr. Sweeney Todd, previously known as Benjamin Parker, who isn't exactly in love with his hometown.

I've only driven past the shady alley on Fleet Street, where the the infamous barber supposingly practiced his noble profession, but I was a little disappointed, because it looked so... ordinary. London in Sweeney Todd is wonderfully Burton-y. It's dark and gothic and gloomy - fitting perfectly in the story of Sweeney. I guess that's what I expected to see on Fleet Street.

Plus one picture of Brighton, Burton style! Mrs. Lovett dreams about a better tomorrow by the sea, and it looks terrifically out of place! One of my favourite music sequences...

2. A Hard Day's Night (1964)

This one is a bit different from the others on the list, because there are no evil barbers or wizards in this London (not that I know of, at least). It is just London in the 60s. I had to take this on my list, because I love this film and if someone invented time travel, this is where I'd go first: in the middle of the craziest Beatlesmania!

That's all.

(I'm planning a re-watch some day now, so I save my praise for that post.)

1. Sherlock Holmes (2009)

I had to make this number one, because the movie is just fantastic. And London looked so charming, really! It wasn't über dark like in Sweeney, but realistically grim, like a place where you don't want to walk alone after dark. The horses and the carriages and the CLOTHES, accompanied by Hans Zimmer's BRILLIANT music, and there you go, that's the number one.

I also liked how they used London's famous landmarks, especially the unfinnished Tower Bridge was just splendid!

(And I refuse to think RDJ had anything to do with this choice. No no no. My subconscious is not like that. No no.)

There. Other nominees for the list were 28 Days Later, Shakespeare in Love, The Prestige and so on. Better luck next time!

Finally, a honorable mention for those films portraying the normal, modern London, just the way it is - Love Actually, About A Boy, Notting Hill, to mention a few. (Oh and mustn't forget the ever so awesome Spice World! GIRL POWER FOREVER!!!) This is the London I fell in love with, and that's the way I like it the most - without global catastrophes, zombies, death eaters and gothic serial killers. Wouldn't mind a Sherlock Holmes, though...

Here's a few more pictures.

I basically had to eat my hands off to stop myself from adding twenty more. Now, let's go enjoy the sunshine! This took me longer than I expected, where has the day gone...

(The four pictures of "real" London taken by me.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hyvä lista! 28 päivää myöhemmin on minun virallinen Lontoo-leffani, aika synkeää myönnän. Pidin myös uuden Sherlock Holmesin vanhasta Lontoosta, todella hienosti tehty!