Ask anyone to name three blockbuster movies filmed on Tenerife and the chances are that they’ll reel off Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and Clash of the Titans.
It’s a pretty impressive pedigree apart from one little fact”¦only one of them was actually filmed on Tenerife.
Who knows which creative tour guide started the story about Star Wars and Planet of the Apes? Clearly it was Tenerife’s equivalent of Slumdog Millionaire’s Jamal showing tourists around the Taj Mahal.
No doubt he, or she, also told visitors that Las Américas was named after Richard Burton and Liz Taylor and that the first astronauts to stand on the moon trained on Mount Teide ““ other popular Tenerife myths.
The fact that Star Wars and Planet of the Apes weren’t filmed on Tenerife might come as a bit of a surprise, but what’s a bigger shock is that no major mainstream movies have been filmed on Tenerife since Raquel Welch slipped into a goatskin bikini (a nice authentic Guanche touch) and strutted her stuff in front of some decidedly rubbery looking dinosaurs in One Million Years B.C. (maybe that should now be B.C.G.I.) back in 1967.
Since then there have been other movies filmed here that most of us of a certain age will have heard of, such as The Land That Time Forgot and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (the 1976 Doug McClure version, not the Brendan Fraser 3D version from a couple of years ago), but there’s been nothing to set the box office alight.
Parts of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy were filmed on Tenerife in 2005 at Loro Parque, but despite that film being an adaptation of the cult novel which, when I was a teen, every geek at school could quote to death, it still wasn’t in the same league as Star Wars.
European filmmakers have long since cottoned on to the wonderful cinematic qualities of Tenerife’s epic landscape ever since the silent movie El CaÃd was shot here in 1926. “˜C’ list actors such as The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’s Lee Van Cleef and Reservoir Dogs‘ sadistic Mr Blonde, Michael Madsen have starred in instantly forgettable Euro-Anglo productions shot on Tenerife. But the Hollywood big boys pretty much shunned this filmmakers’ paradise until a local boy, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (director of 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later) made a truly original movie which made them sit up and take notice of Tenerife.
Intacto earned rave critical worldwide acclaim when it was released in 2003. Its tale of four people who can absorb the good luck of those around them, taking part in a life or death competition to discover who’s the luckiest of them used Tenerife’s gorgeous scenery to stunning effect. One classic scene involved blindfolded competitors running helter skelter through the pine forests. With scenes also shot at Taganana, Masca and Las Cañadas del Teide, filmmakers were exposed to a Tenerife many didn’t know existed.
And now, thanks to Intacto’s impact, we have a true Hollywood blockbuster about to launch Tenerife onto a more mainstream world stage on Friday 2nd April when Clash of the Titans in 3D is released in the UK and USA.
We don’t know yet whether the mythological tale of men clashing swords with gods and monsters will actually be any good, but with Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and rising star Sam Worthington as hero Perseus, it’s got a quality cast; the latest trailer is pretty damn exciting and last, but not least it’s got a secret weapon that most other movies don’t have”¦Tenerife’s unique scenery.
Get ready people, it’s almost time for the titans to clash.