Science Fiction in the Movies

SCIENCE FICTION IN THE MOVIES

In this latest post we are going to take a look at Science Fiction in the Movies. This category also includes the Fantasy genre of movies. Because of Scotland’s abundance of mountainous terrain and desolate craggy features, it has been used for short clips in movies like Prometheus and Stardust. However, I would put good money on very few people being even remotely aware that part of Avengers – Infinity War was filmed in Edinburgh’s very own Old Town.

So, here are our five movies that fit the category of Science Fiction in the Movies that were filmed partially or entirely in various parts of Scotland.

HARRY POTTER (all eight movies…..yes, eight!)

The Harry Potter series of movies are the most successful movie franchise that have used Scottish locations. Some of the locations are ‘blink and you’ll miss it.’ However, there are some great backdrops from the Highlands of Scotland that really fit in well. I don’t think that I need to explain what the premise of the movies are but here are some of the standout scenes that involve Scotland:

Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the most iconic scenes in the Harry Potter movies. The most memorable scene is where Harry and Ron are chased across the “bridge” in the flying car. As locations go it is breath-taking so if you get the chance, head there whether you are a HP fan or not. If you watch this clip fast forward to 1:25. You will see the scene with the flying car and the Hogwarts Express making their way over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Loch Shiel also gets a shout out. It normally appears in the scenes involving the Glenfinnan Viaduct because of its proximity.

Steall Falls in Glen Nevis is another stunningly beautiful location which can only be reached with a 45-minute walk from the nearest road. The waterfall is the second highest in Scotland. It generally appears as a backdrop during the Quiddich matches and also in the Triwizard Tournament. 

Rannoch Moor features in the scene when the Death Eaters board the train looking for Harry in Deathly Hallows Part 1. Not too much further from here, you come to Glencoe. It was in Glencoe that the production team built a full set for Hagrid’s Hut. Glencoe itself has fantastic views looking down the Glen from opposite the Three Sisters.

HIGHLANDER

Now for some readers this might be a little before your time. Highlander was released in 1986 and I would like to say to critical acclaim but sadly not. It only grossed $12 million worldwide despite heavily investing £19 million into the production. However, it did have the last laugh as it acquired a major cult following and as a result inspired film sequels and TV spinoffs. 

Not only did it secure its legacy through its cult following. The music of Queen provided the perfect soundtrack to the film with the tracks, “A Kind of Magic,” “Princes of the Universe” and “Who Wants to Live Forever.” 

Most of the filming took place in New York but there are plenty of scenes that were filmed throughout Scotland  including Eilean Donan Castle, Glencoe, Glen Nevis, Loch Shiel and more. 

UNDER THE SKIN

This is one that slipped under the radar as opposed to under the skin. However, if you want to get a feel for the landscape of Glasgow this is a good movie to watch. The premise is that a woman (Scarlett Johansson) plays the part of an out of this world woman, possibly an alien. She spends most of the movie abducting men for what purpose we are not entirely sure. However, they generally come to a pretty sticky end.

Apart from the main characters, most of the people that appear in the movie were non-actors. Some of the outdoor sequences were unscripted and were filmed with hidden cameras. That was quite a risky route to take particularly when you consider that Johansson is so well know. After filming a sequence, the production team would need to ask those that appear in it for their permission to use it in the film. 

AVENGERS – INFINITY WAR

Avengers Infinity War used a number of film locations. However, it was the turn of Edinburgh’s Old Town to be the victim of some serious collateral damage. I remember at the time of filming they closed off a number of streets around the Old Town for almost a month, normally during the hours of darkness. 

If you want to see some destruction of St Giles Cathedral and the the Royal Mile then fast forward to 3:14 on the clip above. The action then moves to the interior of Waverley Railway Station. 

WORLD WAR Z

World War Z, a zombie apocalyptic action movie was released in 2013 and starred Brad Pitt. The opening sequence of the movie saw Glasgow yet again taking star billing. Doubling as Philadelphia, the opening sequence of the Zombie attack is based in and around the city centre. George Square and the surrounding streets had to be closed off for over a week. 

This movie grossed $500 million so was an unexpected success. Considering that it is seven years since it was released, it has been perplexing that a follow-up has not been made. There have been talks to do so but things like Brad Pitt working on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and COVID-19 halting all projects. Added to that, because China has a ban on Zombie movies, Hollywood may decide it is not financially viable if they can’t show the movie in one of its biggest markets.

OTHER MOVIES IN THIS CATEGORY

  • The Little Vampire – filmed around Fife and the Scottish Borders
  • Prometheus – filmed on Isle of Skye
  • Stardust – filmed on Isle of Skye

Remember that Edinburgh Cab Tours include most of the locations above in their range of tours. So, if film locations are “your bag” then let us take you to them.