Pat Coston Movie Reviews

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Beach

Reality vs Hollywood

I just got back from Phuket Thailand, one of the many shooting location for the movie The Beach. We took a speedboat out to Phi Phi island which is the main shooting location and went to the actual beach but it was low tide and our boat could not reach the shore because of the coral. I tried to swim to the beach but it got too shallow and too dangerous. The coral is like sharp rocks. It can easily shred your skin as I discovered first hand.

I saw this movie at a time when I was looking for adventure so it inspired me. It also instilled me with the desire to visit Thailand. So far I visited Bangkok, Koh Samui island, Phuket island, Phi Phi island and Hatyai. There's a magic that Thailand has that Malaysia seems to lack.

I wanted to discuss the difference between the movie and reality for example at the end where he logs into to check his email. His username is Richard. The chances of getting your own name for a username on a popular site like Excite is highly unlikely.

The movie does a good job at capturing the magic of Thailand.

These screen captures came off a VCD I bought in Malaysia so they have Chinese and Malay sub-titles.

I screen captured the map shown below from the movie. I pieced together 3 screen captures as they scrolled. Compare this map to the screen capture I took from Google Earth. The map is actually based on reality. There is an island west of Koh Phangan that has an enclosed lagoon or lake.

The fictional island on the map is actually on the other side of Thailand from Phuket and Phi Phi island.

Comparing that island to the island drawn on the map, my best guess is the fictional island is this one in that collection of island on the left.

When I zoomed in closer to the cluster of islands I found an island with a lake resembling the enclosed lagoon in the movie.

Here is a screen capture of the CGI island from the movie.

In reality this is island they filmed on. It's called Phi Phi island and its 45 minutes by speedboat from Phuket island and it is on the opposite side of Thailand off the west coast. The aqua colored area around the island is the coral.

Below is the scene where they are about to swim to the island giving you another view of it. That could be Phi Phi island. I'm not sure. Most of the island is surrounded by steep cliffs. In fact they are inverted where the water has carved them out so you would have to climb up and slightly up-side down. From this point of view it appears they are swimming toward an area with no beach.

Here is in another view of the island in the movie. They mention that the island is a national park which is why their boat could not take them there. The island on the map is actually a national park so that part is correct.

Here is a shot of the island from the end of the movie.

In the movie they give the impression that the lagoon is closed on all sides and they do a pan which gives the impression it is. Below I used AutoStitch to stitch together 3 screen captures from the movie as they panned left to right showing the entire lagoon.

But if you look on the left you can see the cliff edge which leads to the exit of the lagoon. This is just a clever camera angle giving you the impression it is a closed lagoon.

Here is a scene from the movie where they are entering Maya bay.

Look again on this map. You see those two bays that almost meet? Just above that is Maya Bay where this lagoon exists.

Here is the picture I took of the beach from the boat. Compare that to the scene from the movie below.

Our guide told me that there are no sharks in that area so the movie lied about that.

This screen shot from the movie shows that there is less coral on the right side. Too bad I swam in from the left side. I probably would have hit sand before it got too shallow and have been able to walk in.

Here is another shot from the movie that shows the first 50 feet are sand.

In one scene they are kissing underwater but in order to reach the deep water you have to pass about 50 feet of shallow coral and that would be pretty impossible at night so that scene is fake.

In this scene they are hiding in the field of marajuana. There is no place on Phi Phi that this field could exist.

They also made the trip to the island for 400 Bahts. I'm assuming that was per person because 400 Bahts is about 1 US dollar. Things may be cheap in Thailand but I seriously doubt they made such a long trip by train, bus and boat for only $1.

Is Maya Bay that beautiful? Yes! That part is true. The water is crystal clear with beautiful fish swimming around and all kinds of amazing things to see.

If you want to read about my trip to Phuket check out this link.



Anonymous Phuket Scene said...

Ahh the joys of moveiland.... but in reality Phuket is still a visoin of a dream or reality versions

8:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home