Monday, November 30, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Central Government Offices, Central

Some of you may or may not be aware that the HK Govt moved to new premises some time back, away from all the 60's era office blocks scattered around Central and over to the new Central Government Offices built above (what used to be) the reclaimed HMS Tamar basin. Even though the buildings are nice and new, the Govt itself is still a bit crap.

The place gets a real thrashing on screen (as do various other iconic HK buildings and structures) although at some point the film makers do try to convince us that this area is right next to the West Kowloon Waterfront as the action flips between the two.

In the bottom two pictures you can see a green building under some green construction mesh. This is because the filming was done when the former HMS Tamar's Prince of Wales Building - now snappily known as the "Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building" - was undergoing a revamp. It emerged from its green cocoon some time later with a brand spanking new Communist Star to replace the previous cross.

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Stonecutters Bridge, Kowloon

Hong Kong's newest suspension bridge also gets some air time in this film. We last saw it (or at least the road that it carries) during our Largo Winch posts, but this time we see it from above as various cars/bots race over it.

A very typical hazy view for this time of year (winter).

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Bank of China Building, Central

One of Hong Kong's iconic buildings gets a thorough seeing to when one of the dino-robotic thingymajigs flys around it and takes a fall.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Quarry Bay Part 4 - King's Road, Quarry Bay

The final Quarry Bay location is along King's Road at the junction with Mount Parker Road. The pedestrian bridge you see in the screen caps below starts on the north side of King's Road and extends all the way over to the Quarry Municipal Services Centre mentioned in previous posts.

Here's a shot I took a couple of days ago. The building in the background is the focus of much of the action around Quarry Bay. Mount Parker Road (and slightly further in - Quarry Bay Street) starts it's slow climb uphill just past the walkway on the right hand side.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Quarry Bay Part 3 - Mount Parker Road, Quarry Bay

Just at the start of Mount Parker Road is a small road that leads up to some older flats named Parker Court and Parker Terrace. Some of the filming was also done up here but to start off here is a shot looking down from Oceanic Mansion's rooftop that shows the entrance to the side road.

The road is a dead end and the following shots were filmed near to the end.

This is also the same small road where the truck comes crashing down the hillside and where one of the dinosaur robots runs down to join the fray.

Unfortunately Streetview hasn't ventured into this small road yet, so I actually got off my fat lazy arse for a change and went to get some snaps.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2104) - To Kwa Wan Part 4 - Lok Shan Road, To Kwa Wan

Here's one I only just identified, otherwise I would have included it in the previous Lok Shan Road post. It is a brief moment when we see one of HK's famous ferries being twirled around in the air as the enemy spaceship is sucking up everything on the ground.

Here are the original screen captures.

Now, the more eagle-eyed of you should have spotted something a bit awry. It's not obvious unless you are familiar with the way Chinese characters are written - you don't even have to know what the characters say, just be familiar with writing convention - but you should know that the Chinese shop sign in the upper cap is actually reversed. Here's what the location should actually look like.

I have no idea why the film was reversed. Now, if this was the 1970's then i could expect some inadvertent flipping due to the way the film is processed, like we saw in That Man Bolt. I have no idea what recording format was used for this film but I would say that digital movie would make this kind of error less likely. Anyway, the sign - when read the correct way - give us a shop name: 寶泰珠寶金行 - a jewellery shop on Lok Shan Road next to where the earlier filming around Mei King Street. Here's the Streetview that shows the corner building in the shot was actually once painted blue. The junction with the blue building is the junction with To Kwa Wan Road.

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Quarry Bay Part 2 - Quarry Bay Street, Quarry Bay

The film makers made good use of Quarry Bay and there are several distinct locations we will see over the next few posts. Here is a brief look down a side alleyway off Quarry Bay Street, in fact immediately behind the central rear section of the main building.

The interesting thing to note here is that this small alley has a staircase immediately behind where the camera is sited. This means the stunt rider either had to slam on the brakes quite hard or they constructed a ramp for then to drive up so they could film them travelling past at speed.

Either way, the Google car couldn't drive down here and so I had to go myself and the result can be seen below.

Interestingly, the building seen behind the bike is the Quarry Bay Market and Cooked Food Centre which is part of the Quarry Bay Municipal Services building. We've seen it before on this blog many moons ago from an episode of Yellowthread Street called Angel Eyes. At that time though it was still under the auspices of the now defunct Urban Council and was called the 'Quarry Bay Complex'.

Quarry Bay Market and Cooked Food Centre

Monday, November 23, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Quarry Bay Part 1 - Oceanic Mansion, Quarry Bay

In the first of quite a few posts concerning the Quarry Bay area, we are looking at the residential building that was used as the initial location for all the subsequent To Kwa Wan rooftop shots. In the Quarry Bay case the building in question - although very similar in shape to I-Feng Mansion, with a large front section with 3 rear sections perpendicular to the front (a bit like a digital "3" shape) - is actually made up of several separately named blocks: Oceanic Mansion and the Fook Cheong Building front King's Road, whilst Montane Mansion, the Yick Cheong Building and the Yick Fat Building make up the three rear prongs.

This location was actually the place where the film crew, and Michael Bay in particular, ran into a spot of trouble with a couple of local businesses who felt they were owed some money for the inconvenience of the filming and attacked the crew with aircon units!! The culprits were arrested and, in fact, given prison sentences.

You can see the entirety of the building in the following screencaps that show it from the north looking south. The new building left of screen is One Island East.

Another view from the south looking north (i.e. rear to front of the building) as the spaceship is about to crash (and in a bizarre twist of geography ends of in a scenic country park in rural China - I don't recall seeing it when I went hiking over there not so long ago...)

We also get some close up views of one of the podium levels at the back of the building.

As well as some shots of the roof top, where you can see all the clutter and why the other roof in To Kwa Wan had to double for this location's chase scenes.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2014) - Gough Street, Central

There's a very brief moment when we get a quick view down Gough Street during all the fighting. In this case the location is given away by the presence of a branch of Kisses Cupcakes on the corner with Mee Lun Street. As far as I can tell the branch has since disappeared but they do have other locations should you be cupcake inclined.

The small red signpost is still around though.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Mark Wahlberg (2104) - To Kwa Wan Part 3 - I Feng Mansions, To Kwa Wan

Here's where the film makers did something a bit sneaky. They took a roof top (actually in Quarry Bay as you'll see in later posts) and set much of the action in HK on there. But rather than stay at the one location they also included footage from another (less cluttered) rooftop and sort of chopped and changed between the two. To the untrained eye it all looks to be the same place but what we end up with is two very different background skylines made more confusing by the amount of CGI obscuring many places. It's a bit of a mish-mash but cleverly done to disguise the different locations.

Anyway, one of the rooftops - the more open/less cluttered one - is on top of I-Feng Mansion at the end of the previously posted Mei King Street in To Kwa Wan. All of the following shots are actually on I-Feng Mansion's rooftop.

Looking south

The grabs above show the view to the southwest. When I first saw this I thought the arched building at the back was perhaps computer generated, but it turns out it actually exists! It's called 'Chatham Gate' and is new (only opened in 2012). That's probably why I didn't recognise it immediately.
View to the northwest

The box like structure (with ladder) top left of the upper picture here seems to have been a prop because I can't see it on GoogleEarth, although the other detail can be clearly seen. I suspect it was the bit that was shot up later in the scene, but I can't remember...

The above pictures are looking north(ish) moving NW to NE. The high rise at the back (right) are 'Grand Waterfront' near to the Ma Tau Kok piers.

Finally a view looking pretty much westward towards to green of Ho Man Tin at the back. I think the problem was perhaps logistical - the original rooftop over in Quarry Bay is completely cluttered with illegal tin huts and to remove them all would mean compensating lots of people for the (temporary) loss of their homes/shacks. Moving the actual action over to a more open rooftop probably saved a fair amount of money and hassle.